Ironing code, geek t-shirts and even presentations!


A List of Essential Tools for a new Computer

This week I got my new laptop and it’s AWESOME!

It is a 64-bit Dell Studio XPS 16 with the following specification (the main features):

  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-720QM Quad Core Processor 1.6GHz (2.8GHz Turbo Mode, 6MB Cache)
  • Screen: 16' inch RGBLED Full HD 1080p
  • RAM: 8Gb 1333Mhz DDR3 Dual channel
  • HD: 500Gb 7200RPM
  • Graphics: 1GB ATI Radeon  HD 4670

And this is how it looks like:

My new Dell Studio XPS 16 My new Dell Studio XPS 16

It’s so much fun to work like that! everything just works and you don’t need to wait for operations to get done. They just do.

So after praising my new laptop, let’s move on to the main subject of this post – the tools I take with me to every computer I work on:

  • Reflector – in my opinion, every .NET developer must have Reflector installed on his or her computer. There is no way you can understand the internals of the technologies you work with without going through their code, at least flutter through it. And if you don’t want to understand the internals, go to a shrink and figure out why do you settle for mediocrity.
  • IronRuby – I use IronRuby’s REPL console as my main method of doing quick POCs, check what methods return and how to use them, etc. I used to use Snippet Compiler but IronRuby is so much faster and much more fun so I moved to it.
  • GacView – I use it as a replacement to the “assembly” folder viewer that is provided by Windows Explorer. GacView shows you the assemblies in the Global Assembly Cache (GAC), provides information about them and most important – lets you copy them to a different location and to delete them.
  • ViewStateDecoder – let you view what your page stores inside its view state hidden fields.
  • Fiddler – A very simple to use and powerful network sniffer.
  • SciTE – A light-weight editor with syntax highlighting and a simple code completion mechanism. I use it to change C# code quickly instead of opening the heavy Visual Studio, to write IronRuby code and to edit XML files.
  • Process Explorer – I use it as a replacement to Windows Task Manager. I like the UI more and the ability to find handles and remove them becomes very helpful every now and then.
  • ZoomIt – An awesome tool for presentations. If you speak occasionally and use a projector or a big screen, this tool is a must for you.
  • PicPick – a light-weight tool to capture screenshots. Very easy to use and comes with some more handy features like a color picker.
  • foobar2000 – A very light-weight music player which does exactly what it needs – play music. It comes with an easy to use music library viewer and can even show a balloon tip with the current playing song.

I highly recommend each of these tools because of my great experience with them. They make irritating tasks simpler and faster and eventually make me happier.

I hope they’ll make you happier too!

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Comments (12) -

I can recommend you some more:

-Launchy (forget about start menu, desktop etc.)
-Notepad++ - built using SciTE is a must
-Everything - search for files (even using regular expressions) in no time.


Unlocker - find what process locks this file and unlock it or abort process
Resharper - Every .net developer who use VS should use this addon
Total Commander


I got the 16 XPS but with the i5....and i can only agree with you. these machines are awesome. congrats on a good purchase!


Spain iConstantinus

I can recommend you Paint.NET - open source image and photo editing software


Nice list, but I wouldn't really call these "Essential". They may be essential for you personally, but not for just anyone (or even just developers) with a new computer.

A more generic list would include things like:
- Process Explorer (Task Manager replacement)
- Rocket Dock (For quick launching common applications - Mac style)
- TweakXP or Little Tweaker (For boosting speed and productivity of Windows XP and Windows 7 respectively... If your using Vista - downgrade or upgrade now!)
- DropBox (For free online data storage that can sync between multiple machines)

Those are just a few off the top of my head.


thanks for this post, really helped me, as i have also planning to buy a laptop in few day, so this list will really helped me...
thank angain dude..


United States Angry Buzzy

Nice post but I can't get with this trend of 16x9 aspect ratios for screens. My Macbook Pro thankfully still has 16x10. Hopefully when it's time to replace it I can find another laptop with a 16x10 screen.


Hi Shay. I just want to know, is 1GB ATI Radeon  HD 4670 card good? What do you think?


@Naz, I think that the card is OK. Not the best.
The only place you'll notice performance problems will be with games, otherwise everything works smoothly.
It can run the latests games but you can't use the highest resolution/texture/etc.
So if you want a card to play games with, I guess this one is not the best pick. I'd have gone with an AlienWare laptop if I'd wanted to play games intensively (it costs more though...).


8 gigs of ram, wow that laptop is a powerhorse.


Pretty good tools, thanks a lot. Well, I couldn't use them now, I got
more important things on my mind like my slow pc, which is annoying the h out of me. Can't even
load this page properly. I was searching for hours to find a good site with tips to speed up pc's
and finnally found one that had decent tips to <a href="">speed my computer</a>. It definitely made my pc faster now which I'm happy about. Anyway, cheers.


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