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Home Computer Setup Checklist

2017-02-09 Update

As has been widely reported—and a good netizen recently pointed out to me—TrueCrypt is no longer being maintained. I’ve been using Bitlocker To Go (built into Pro versions of Windows) instead. This is only possible on Pro versions of Windows. But, I have Pro where I need it.
There are alternatives. This article has a list.

2015-08-13 Update

Add to the list: Acronis True Image HD, which would basically obviate the need for this list if I made backups often enough—it’s also the only software I’ve successfully used to move data from a hard disk to an SSD (or transfer from disk to disk in general).
Also, add Zint Barcode Studio—I’ve found this quite useful for transferring passwords from computer to phone.
Also, for $25, PDF Creator is now ad-free. Yay!

2014-12-30 Update

Microsoft Security Essentials is a massive fail. Also, I found out that keys between ESET NOD32 Security Suite and NOD32 AV are interchangeable. So, you can buy the security suite and just install it as NOD32 AV (which is much more lightweight).

Original Post

Here’s stuff I install on computers for personal use:

Antivirus: NOD32 AV or Microsoft Windows Security Essentials (MSE).
I got a deal on ESET’s security suite (NOD32 Family Security?), but I found it a bit bulky, and I’d probably pay more NOD32 antivirus, which doesn’t include a lot of the extra functions (such as parental controls, etc.). Usually NewEgg or someone has a good deal on NOD32. I can wait until a good deal on NOD32, and run MSE in the interim (and possibly indefinitely).

I try to install the antivirus before I connect to a network. I download it on another computer–presumably a trusted, known-good, uninfected computer–and transfer it via USB to install it on the new computer.

Web Browser: Firefox
I try to backup my profile directory, so I don’t have to start from scratch each time.

E-Mail: Thunderbird
With Lightning plugin and Provider for Google Calendar.
I try to backup my profile directory, so I don’t have to start from scratch each time.

PDF Reader: Sumatra PDF
Very light-weight, full-feature (at least all the features I want to use) PDF reader.

Disk Encryption: Truecrypt
Although, to be compatible with my (locked-down) computer at work, I’ve been migrating to the built-in encryption of Windows 7 Enterprise/Ultimate.

Office Suite: Microsoft Office (latest edition)
This has gotten a lot more affordable with the home editions.

Password Utility: KeePass2 (AKA KeePass Professional Edition)
with KeePassSync utility (to Amazon S3 storage).

This is only on one computer, as I only have 1 license. But that computer is right next to the scanner, so it’s really the only computer than needs it. This was an expensive license (relatively speaking), but it has been well-worth it to be able to search my scanned PDF’s.

Music Management: Media Monkey
I have a license for this, and once again, it’s only installed on one computer. I generally use Subsonic to play music (stream it to Android, iPhone, Firefox, etc). However, Media Monkey allows me to rename my eMusic audibooks with the audiobook name & file number (Part X/Y) in the title. So, rather than each track of “How Music Works” by David Byrne appearing as “Part 1”, “Part 2”, etc., it appears as “How Music Works – Part 1/6”, etc.

Electronic Fax: PamFax
Very reliable, affordable electronic (PDF files etc) to Fax service.

I run a fewf UNIX/Linux machines, and I used PuTTY to remote login to them.

PDF Writer: PDF Creator or the one that comes with H&R Block (PDF995)?
I dislike the adware bombs that you have to navigate around when you install PDF Creator. This open-source software is good, but the added hassle (and feeling that they are tricking me) has caused me to use the PDF writer that comes with my tax software instead. I’m actually looking for a recommendation here. I don’t mind paying for something, if it is good. In fact, I might pay for PDF creator if they had a premium option that didn’t ask to install some random crapware.—PDF Creator now has an ad-free premium option. Yay!

Version Control (general-purpose): MsysGit & (Optionally) TortoiseGit
TortoiseGit is optional, as sometimes, the command-line is sufficient. In some cases, it’s useful to have a GUI (in the case of TortoiseGit that GUI is integrated into the Windows UI).

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