Roy Osherove suggested that I post a list of the contents of my C:/UTILS folder. Everyone collects utilities, and most folks have a list of a few that they feel are indispensable. Here's mine. Each has a distinct purpose, and I probably touch each at least a few times a week. For me, util means utilitarian and it means don't clutter my tray. If it saves me time, and seamlessly integrates with my life, it's the bomb.
Here are most of the contents of my C:/UTILS folder. These are all well loved and used. I wouldn't recommend them if I didn't use them constantly. Perhaps Roy didn't realize what he was asking for.
- SlickRun - What a wonderful thing. Check out SlickRun. It's fast and small. t's a resizable, floating text box. It does autocomplete for commands and for directories. You can type C:\doc and you're in documents and settings. Awesome. Faster than Dave's Search, and easier than ActiveWords. I shall delete my half-assed attempt at the ZenBar immediately and bow to Bayden Systems.
- Jeff Key's Screen Ruler - Transparent and written in .NET. A great pixel ruler for you pixel pushers.
- APIViewer 2003 - A database and browser of the Win32API, similar to the old win32api.txt file that was distributed with VB6. Includes 6500 function declarations and 55000 constants.
- Application Profiler - A great GotDotNet sample, a tool for visualizing and analyzing allocations on the GC heap. Has a GREAT graphical view
- Anakrino - The original .NET decompiler.
- Denis Bauer's ASP.NET Version Switcher - The ASP.NET Version Switcher is a little utility that can be used to quickly switch the .NET Framework version that the ASPX pages are compiled against. This is helpful for developers who often have to test their web applications for compatibility with different version of the .NET Framework.
- BootDisks.com - I've downloaded and saved everything from BootDisks.com, including Win95 and Win98 boot disks and a DOS 6.22 disk.
- DllFiles - You never know when you might need an old-ass dll.
- Adam Nathan's CLRSPY - A diagnostic that looks at .NET 1.1 Customer Debug Probes, in-freaking-valuable.
- Stoyan Damov's KBView - A Microsoft Knowledge Base Viewer Applet
- Dave's Quick Search Bar - The best thing to happen to the Windows interface since the Command Prompt. Totally configurable, and less invasive than the Google Search Bar.
PowerMenu - Great little hook that adds item to the System Menu that let you change the Transparency or Priority of the current window.
ProxyChanger (ja-JP) - A convenient little util if you need to change between proxies at various locations.
Lutz's Reflector (and all his other tools) - Now the easiest .NET object browser, decompiler (to C# as well!), and includes a great member search feature.
RoboCopy - When COPY and XCOPY just won't cut it, try the "Robust Copy"
Aaron Skonnard's Xml Utilities - Includes command line .NET utils to check for wellformedness, validity, and perform xslt transforms. These belong in your PATH!
Eric J Smith's CodeSmith - Oh, yes, it's much more than just a Strongly Typed Collection Generator. It's a complete code-generation engine with an ASP.NET-like syntax. Very extendable, very powerful, very free. And, only $199 for the source. And all is right with the world. I've used it to generate THOUSANDS of lines of code. There's a learning curve, but the benefits are immense. It's worth the download just for the Strongly Typed Collection code from Chris Nahr.
Jeff Key's Snippet Compiler - Sits quietly waiting for you to test a quick snippet of code or algorithm. No need to even start VS.NET!
NUnitAddIn - Makes integrating NUnit into your life easy by integrating NUnit into VS.NET! Right Click | Test. Glorious.
Virtual TI-89 [Emulator] - Sometimes CALC.EXE doesn't cut it, and I want a REAL scientific calculator for Windows, so I emulate the one I used in college.
Virtual CD ISO Image Mounter - This is the utility that is up on BetaPlace and is usually released to MSDN Subscribers. It lets you mount an ISO image as a Drive Letter...nice to keep a library of CDs around on a Firewire drive. It's not something I can distribute, but you can always use...
Nero 6 and ImageDrive - Nero 6 is a fantastic value and the greatest burning suite out there. It also include ImageDrive that let's you make and mount ISO images.
VisualXPath - A nice GotDotNet project that runs XPath Queries interactively and displays the results. Also useful for quick coarse timing of query speed.
Web Services Studio 2.0 - .NET Webservice Studio is a tool to invoke Web Services interactively. The user can provide a WSDL endpoint and it generates the .NET Proxy immediately.
SoapScope 2.0 - Your one stop shopping center for SOAP Debugging, WSDL Analysis and SOAP Traffic Tracing.
WhoAmI Administration Wallpaper Tool - If you log into a lot of boxes remotely and always wonder, where the hell is this? The WhoAmI wallpaper tool creates custom wallpapers with all the information you'd need, like IP Address, Box Name, Disk Space, and it's totally configurable.
Xenu's Link Sleuth - Xenu's Link Sleuth (TM) checks Web sites for broken links. Link verification is done on "normal" links, images, frames, plug-ins, backgrounds, local image maps, style sheets, scripts and java applets. It displays a continuously updated list of URLs which you can sort by different criteria.
DeveloperPlayground - Jonas Blunck and Kim Gräsman's great DLL dependency tool, also hooks any process and traces calls to externals DLL
Alintex .NET Scripting Host - Allows you to create scripts (like like VBS files, etc) except with .NET. Also a great prototyping tool.
AutoRuns - I always am suspicious that someone is running something automatically on my system. AutoRuns (from SysInternals) checks EVERYWHERE that could be running something, the registry, win.ini (remember those?), the Startup Group, etc...
ActiveXplorer v4 - A file manager and analyzer for COM objects...a little higher level than OleView and easier to understand.
BinType2.exe - Ever want to check a VB6 COM dll to see if it's been appropriately compiled with "Retain in Memory" and "Unattended Execution" set to true for correct execution under MTS?
Clemen's BuildDay.exe - Great commandline util that you should put in your path. Returns the last digit of the year and the number of the day. Great for batch files that create daily builds, log files, etc.
Microsoft MDAC Component Checker - Utility to diagnose and deal with MDAC compatibility and versioning problems.
Billy Hollis' ChalkTalk - Great for Presentations, let's you write directly to the screen like John Madden.
CommandBar for Explorer - This tool extends explorer with functionality of a command prompt. Implemented as a band object completely in C#. Demonstrates COM Interop and P/Invoke, windows hooking and API interception. Finally you can run all these .Net SDK tools and ‘Hello World!’ programs without leaving explorer shell. Definitely turns heads if you use it in a presentation.
- Aurigma COM to .NET - Great tool that simplifies moving from COM to .NET. Analyzes COM objects and shows how to implement that interface with .NET Interop Attributes, etc. Also allows deployment of wrapped COM objects for use with .NET applications, without requiring COM registration!
- Kenny Kerr's DisplayLogonServer - Small app that tells you what Logon Server serviced your domain login. He also has a nice tool that cleans VSS files out of your project folders.
- DxRuler - Great transparent ruler application that overlays a grid of lines over whatever you drag the window over. Good for any kind of interface design, and a great demo of useful transparancy.
- Marc Merrit's Event Log Monitor (EventReader) - Sits in the tray and pops up a nice XP-style baloon whenever the event log is written to. I hate tray icons but I love balloon tooltip info, so it's a good tradeoff.
- FeedReader - The first RSS reader I used. I don't think it's being worked on anymore, but I keep it around because it's lightweight and I'm nostalgic.
- Fesersoft's VS.NET XSLT 1.0 Schema - Enables Intellisense for XSLT 1.0 documents in Visual Studio.NET
- FileMon and just about everything SysInternals has ever produced - Displays file system activity in REAL TIME. Just who is that writing to the disk right now?
- Filter Files with Unknown Extensions for XP - Chris Sell's provides a .REG file that let's explorer's find files with file extensions that are not known. A real irritant with XP, fixed.
- FindUser by Rich MacDonald - Given a Domain name and User name, tells you what systems that user is currently logged in to. (Not sure where to find this, Rich's site is now bare)
- fLogViewer - Great freeware highlighting log viewer for large log files.
- XmlSpy - Just buy it.
- GhostIt - Little tray app that lets you ghost (make transparent) any window by clicking on it.
- HightLight for Windows - Highlight is a universal sourcecode converter for Linux and Windows, which transforms code to HTML, XHTML, RTF, LaTeX or TeX - files with syntax highlighting. (X)HTML output is formatted by CSS.
- IECookiesView 1.5 from NirSoft - Nice clean interface to snoop contents of the cookies on your box in IE.
- ieHttpHeaders - Internet Explorer "Explorer Bar" that shows the HTTP Headers as you browse. Invaluable for quickie debugging. More great stuff from Jonas Blunck.
COMTrace - Hooks and lets you see COM "traffic" on processes on your system. Intercepts COM calls on any interface. Has saved my ass 3 times.
JR Screen Ruler - Alternative Screen Ruler. Literally, it's a ruler you can 'virtually' measure things with. Nice when you have to get down to the pixel.
Zoomin - The original, now with Source from Brian Friesen. If you've seen me talk, you've seen ZoomIn, and hopefully it saved your eyes.
MSICleaner - This is a small cleaner for those irritating files that don't seem to be deleted from WINNTInstaller (should probably work on Win98, too). You may notice that loads of nonreferenced files from all your work on the installations are left behind, and this tool helps to keep your machine clean.
- NetPing - Jeff Key's multi-threaded pinger...it continues to include new features, like right-click and launch Remote Desktop. Great for administration of small networks. I use it all the time.
- Magical Jelly Bean KeyFinder - Misplace your Windows and Office Product Keys? Find them with this.
- NetworkDriveInfo - Helps you find free drive space on remote systems.
- UrlRun plugin for Outlook - From Tim Tabor based on Chris Sells' UrlRun. Lets you right-click on messed-up and wrapped URLs in Outlook and launch the browser without manually fixing the URL. Chris Sells says "It's pure sex."
- Speak-n-stop - Little timer util that you start when you begin a presentation and it warns you when your speaking time is running out.
- IE Booster 2 - A collection of extensions to Internet Explorer like HTML Detective, Copy Meister, and Page Analyzer.
- YATT by Simon Fell - Yet Another Trace Tool, requires WinPCAP, when you just need to sniff some packets.
- PPXML - Command-Line XML Pretty Printer
- ProxyTrace - Often better and less trouble than the Soap Toolkit's SOAPTrace.
- PSTools from SysInternals - All the command-line tools that Windows forgot...kill, loggedon, remote exec, shutdown, getsid, etc.
- QuickCode.NET - Lets you turn short phrases in Visual Studio.NET like "prop int test" into a complete property getter and setter with xml documentation, etc. Configurable and the snippets are shareable.
- Roy Osherove's Regulator - Roy enters the RegEx fray with a bang, and with syntax highlighting and web services integration with regexlib.com. The very definition of slick.
- Eric Gunnerson's Regular Expression Workbench - Nice .NET interactive Regular Expression builder.
- Expresso is a new free tool for working with regular expressions in .NET.
- RegexDesigner.NET from Chris Sells
- The Regular Expression builder inside of SharpDevelop (which is worth the download just to read the SharpDevelop code!)
- Reggie - Not a regular expression tool, not it's a BETTER RegSvr32.exe from Shawn Van Ness. It provides better error handling and messages. It doesn't suck.
- SCCSwitch - Harry Pierson's ruthlessly competent Source Control Provider switcher for VS.NET. Great if you are using Vault, VSS and CVS like me.
- Who's Locking? - WhosLocking.exe lets you know what application is locking that DLL you're trying to delete!
- TrueName - Right click a file in Explorer and find out it's TRUENAME (Remember the Truename.exe?) The 8.3 name of My Documents might be C:DOCUME~1SHANSELMMYDOCU~1.
- Sid2User - CommandLine Util to take a SID and get a Real Name to, for example, get the local name of the "Everyone" user.
- SummerProperties - a Shell Extension that adds a Tab to File Properties that calculates the file's checksum.
- TamperIE - Let's you intercept and tamper with Form Posts from within IE...
- Zoltan's TaskManagerEx - Extends the existing TaskManager with a new menu and CPU Alerts, colors Services, modules in use, etc.
- TextView 5.0 - Freeware Text Viewer that lets you run through many directories with many files, much like explorer, except everything is one click.
- VisiCalc (vc.exe) - Because I just like having a copy of VisiCalc in my utils folder. I use it occasionally.
- Fritz Onion's ViewStateDecoder - Simple util that gives you more insight into what's hidden inside of ASP.NET's ViewState (hidden form field)
- DevelopMentor's Tools Page - Everything here is golden.
- RealVNC - When RemoteDesktop is a hassle and PCAnywhere is lame...VNC stands for Virtual Network Computing. It is remote control software which allows you to view and interact with one computer (the "server") using a simple program (the "viewer") on another computer anywhere on the Internet.
- VS.NET Command Prompt Here - INF files to create Right-Click menus for "Visual Studio.NET 2003 Command Prompt here." I use this dozens of times a day. I should probably just keep the window open, eh?
- WHICH - It's which and it's back. Wondering WHICH copy of that .exe is being run first in the path? Run "which calc.exe"
- WhiteBoard Photo - Has to be seen to be believed. Takes a skewed low-contrast, bad photo of a Whiteboard and automatically corrects it and offers up a clean white sheet of paper with a color corrected and keystoned photo of your whiteboard. Check out the demo.
- URL Bandit - Monitors the clipboard and saves all URLs that go by in the click-stream. If you copy a 1 meg file to the clipboard, URL Bandit can find, for example, all 200 URLS within it. Yum.
Copyright 2004 Scott Hanselman
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