Top Utilities of 2012 for Windows

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Scott Hanselman, has a long list of utilities which is absolutely worth both reading and trying. Recently he asked for suggestions and while I was posting a few suggestions for his list, I though it is a good idea to share the list of tools I use with you. This list is much shorter and one might say more practical with no particular order. Here we go.

MediaMonkey (free + premium features)

MediaMonkey

Hands down, the best media player ever! Especially if you've got a large library of muslockhunter.comic. Believe me, I've tried all media players: Winamp, Foobar2000, Zune, iTunes, MediaPlayer, etc. This one does it all. Auto-Tagging, File Management, Skins, Global shortcuts, Party mode, anything. The screenshot you see is a skin I created in one day for this app. If enough people ask for it I’ll post how to make your MM look like this. Although I’ve posted this in MM’s forum, but there are little tricks for it.

NetLimiter (trial)

NetLimiter

This amazing utility lets you see which app is sucking up your bandwidth and more importantly, lets you limit the incoming/outgoing bandwidth for each app. It’s got 3 themes and they’re all beautiful.

LockHunter (free)

lockhunter

Lets you see which process is locking a file and preventing copying/moving/modifying/renaming it. It supports context menu feature for easy access. Beautiful!

FeedDemon (free + premium features)

FeedDemon

Best RSS Reader. It supports Google reader synchronization which is blazing fast. Instead of downloading all RSS feeds, it syncs new articles with Google reader which makes it incredibly fast. It’s got tons of features and keyboard shortcuts. No app can reach it. Never! I’d like the UI to be somehow more Metro (Modern) like Mishra Reader but there are a lot of features which no other app offers. Here’s what Mishra Reader looks like:

Mishra Reader

MetroTwit (free + plus features)

MetroTwit

Best Twitter app. Supports both dark and light themes. Fast, fluid, written in WPF and works with any DPI. AMAZING. I dare you to find an app better than this one for Twitter. In addition to all these, it is under active development and by active I mean really active. By the way, it’s got a Windows 8 Store app which is even more beautiful:

MetroTwit for Windows8

f.lux (free)

This little app automatically adjusts your monitor’s light based on the time of the day (which you provide easily using Google maps). Your eyes will thank you after 1 week of use. Trust me, you’ll feel the difference immediately. BTW, it supports mobile platforms as well.

Conemu (free)

ConEmu

This is the console we all wanted for a long time. It is not a shell, its just a wrapper around existing shells. It supports cmd.exe, PowerShell, DosBox… It’s got transparency (see screenshot above), tabbed support, scroll, free resize feature, etc. You can add admin tasks as well as normal tabs (for instance in the screenshot above, I’ve got both cmd.exe and PowerShell, both normal and as admin, see how easily you can distinguish them?) In addition to all this, when you run a task that shows the progress in percent, it captures and shows it in taskbar’s progressbar o.O The first couple of days you use it, it’ll make you want to kill yourself, but please don’t!

Notepad2 & Notepad++ (both free)

Notepad2

Notepad

Just install both. Replace the old notepad.exe with the Notepad2 and use it regularly. Handle more heavy-duty jobs with Notepad++. Both are handy and support syntax-highlighting. Notepad2 is faster and Notepad++ is more feature-rich. I use Notepad2 more often.

VLC (free)

VLC

Best video player. No discussion!! You can’t compare the features and the quality of this app with anything else. Yes, it’s THAT much better! I’m not a fan of the UI, but who needs UI when as soon as you double-click the file the video is playing?! They’re now working on a Windows 8 Store app which they need support for.

The list could go on as I use a lot of utilities, but the apps that I’ve posted here are the ones I use at least once a day. If you want to share a particular utility (free or not) with the readers and me, please don’t hesitate to post a comment below. Thanks for reading.