6 Windows desktop utilities every software developer needs

Most application developers operating on Home windows have a very normal roster of tools: a code editor or IDE Git or yet another model regulate method a messaging customer (whether or not Slack or a person of its clones), and so on. And with most developer workflows becoming on line, the world-wide-web browser has obviated a lot of other tools we could possibly usually install on the desktop.

But there are nonetheless a variety of desktop applications that programmers can profit from, whether or not for controlling one’s working day-to-working day workflow or for creating written content that is adjacent to the work of building application (like video walkthroughs or screencasts). Right here are 6 these types of tools that should have a place on any developer’s desktop.

OBS Studio

OBS Studio is as shut to an all-in-a person option for stay video capture and streaming as you are probably to get without the need of owning to shell out for a person. This open source software rivals a lot of of its business counterparts in both of those polish and flexibility. It supports capture from single windows, full desktops, or fastened locations of the display, on-the-fly switching amongst sights, and overlays from different sources (nonetheless visuals, precaptured videos, stay video, and so forth.). And it delivers similarly versatile assistance for audio capture.

Each individual function in OBS Studio can be hooked to a tailor made hotkey, so you can fire up the plan, lessen it, and regulate your recording without the need of owning to pop the plan back again open (though this does take some practice). Just one slight omission: There’s no way to do interactive zooms on a field of the display as you capture, these types of as by applying some important mix and the mousewheel. But supplied how a great deal OBS Studio gives you for the price tag, it is all but unbeatable.

obs studio IDG

Setting up a video capture session with OBS Studio. Several capture eventualities can be described and switched amongst on the fly, so that you can transfer from a photo-in-photo with a webcam (as proven listed here) to a zoomed view of a certain window, for illustration.


The clipboard in Microsoft Home windows has in no way been extremely versatile, in big part because it only stored a person clipping at a time. Home windows 10 not long ago included a “history” function to the clipboard, but it nonetheless is not as effective as some of us would like (though the “sync clippings across devices” characteristic is nifty).

Ditto provides a massive quantity of extra performance to the Home windows clipboard. Aside from storing as a lot of clips as you want, you can type to lookup, help save popular clips for re-use, enable clips to expire after x times, and perform exclusive paste functions like pasting only the plaintext model of a clip. My favored characteristic: If you copy an picture, you can open Ditto, drag the picture out of the clip record, drop it to a folder, and it’ll be saved there as a PNG file. Screenshots never get a great deal much easier than that.

ditto IDG

Deciding on a paste from the Ditto clipboard. You can type to lookup from all the out there clips stored in Ditto. The tooltip proven listed here displays the total text of the clip in context. 


Another longtime Home windows pain position is typing exclusive characters—accents, math symbols, and so forth.—without applying a exclusive keyboard or some other contrivance. Unichars employs a effective metaphor for typing exclusive figures: the compose important (some thing Unix folks ought to be acquainted with). Strike the compose key—it’s normally a person of the Alt keys, but you can reassign it—and you can merge a person or far more keystrokes in a single character.

For occasion, if you compose “O” and a double quote (“), you get an O with an umlaut (Ö). You get stay responses from every single keypress so you can figure out reasonably speedily how to get figures, and some full alphabets have straightforward prefixes: for illustration, use G and g for higher-situation and lessen-situation Greek, respectively. And lastly, Unichars is fully customizable, so you can use important compositions possibly for your personal figures or for complete boilerplate texts. The plan itself has not been current in some time, but it nonetheless operates reliably very well on Home windows 10.

unichars IDG

Typing exclusive figures with Unichars. Tooltips pop up as you type to indicate what keystrokes will create what figures. The compose important (utilized to induce a exclusive character sequence) can be custom made, as proven in the program’s primary window at remaining.


Word has it that passwords are gradually becoming phased out and replaced with far more stylish means to authenticate oneself, but we’re nonetheless a means from the passwordless entire world. Right up until then, a password manager will continue on to make on line existence a great deal, a great deal much easier, so why not select a cost-free a person? Soon after all, the open source challenge KeePass remains a person of the most preferred, greatly supported, and broadly configurable password managers out there.

KeePass operates as a general encrypted repository for user secrets and techniques, not just passwords. Entries are versioned, so if you want to dig out an older model of a password, you can locate it in your KeePass database heritage. As well as, third-bash developers have designed a slew of handy add-ons—like a pronounceable password generator, or Home windows Hi integration. But with or without the need of add-ons, KeePass is enormously handy. For occasion, entries can be configured to car-type into a window with a supplied caption when a hotkey is pressed.

Several incarnations of KeePass exist. Some are for other running techniques, like KeePassX for Linux and MacOS other people are reincarnations, like KeePassXC, penned in C++ rather of C#, or KeeWeb, an Electron app model. But the initial KeePass remains a good attract for Home windows buyers.

keepass IDG

A KeePass password entry. KeePass gives you a lot of methods of producing passwords to decide on from, and reveals you the toughness of the password graphically. 


If you do any perform at all with visuals, you want at minimum a person general-purpose picture management and viewing tool—something far more than a file explorer, but a full large amount less than Adobe Photoshop. Irfanview strikes a fantastic harmony. It hundreds speedy adequate to serve as an on-the-location picture previewer, but also packs in a lot of other handy features without the need of letting them get in the way.

Thumbnail searching, mass picture conversion, and brief-and-dirty modifying are all listed here. There’s even assistance for some certainly exotic picture formats and extensions, like multi-web page TIFFs, and a plug-in architecture for everything not incorporated by default. Though Irfanview is not open source, it is cost-free to use, supported by the donations of thousands of buyers all over the world.

irfanview IDG

Viewing visuals with Irfanview. The thumbnail view at appropriate can be opened from any picture, allowing for you to easily search other visuals in the similar folder. 


“Where did all my disk room go?” is the next most popular concern developers check with by themselves (appropriate after “Is there any far more coffee?”). Subdirectories, and sub-sub-directories, can fill up with all types of digital litter—log files, short term files, abandoned downloads, application in no way adequately uninstalled, stale backups, you identify it.

WinDirStat analyzes storage room on a Microsoft Home windows method and provides you with a hassle-free graphical overview of what’s getting up how a great deal room. The natural beauty of WinDirStat’s presentation is how you can see at a look where the most important and most outlying employs of room are, the improved to single them out and reclaim them faster. Its personal drawback is it can take minutes on stop to scan a travel, but the wealth of perception you get back again from the scan system is far more than value the wait around.

windirstat IDG

WinDirStat evaluation of a method travel. Every single rectangular region signifies a directory, giving you a speedy at-a-look view of which directories take up the most room. The highlighted region suggests the contents of the Recycle Bin, which hasn’t been emptied in some time.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.