The Mark Pack – The Essentials On My Computer – Part Two
Yesterday I gave you a sneak peek into my Mark Pack which is my collection of indispensable software apps that I always have installed on the computer. But it was too much for one post so here is Part Two of “what Mark always has installed and what he recommends you install too”
So, tally ho! And on with the show!
The king of computer encryption programs. Extremely easy to set up and once you have your encrypted folder(s) set up on your computer, it is impossible for anyone to crack it open (unless you make your password blatantly obvious like P-A-S-S-W-O-R-D for example, in which case you have no business using an encryption program in the first place).
Everyone should have an encryption program on their computer for computer passwords, financial records, private correspondence and any other sensitive material that shouldn’t be readily accessible to prying eyes.
My first ever post for MakeUseOf was about TrueCrypt and you can also encrypt your USB stick with the app. So Truecrypt is very versatile and flexible. Sometimes it does pay to be paranoid and careful.
Have you ever tried to delete a file only to get this error message?
I get this message a lot and it irritates the hell out of me. So this is where Unlocker comes in to save the day (and my sanity).
Whenever you can’t delete a file, just right-click on it and choose “Unlocker” (the app integrates itself into the Explorer right-click menu). Unlocker will then kill all the Windows processes that are holding that app and stopping you from deleting it. You can then go ahead and nuke the file.
If for any reason it can’t kill the dastardly processes which are holding you back, Unlocker will blast away the file for you when you next boot up the computer.
Here’s my original MUO story on Unlocker.
There are two parts to this app that are insanely useful. The first is the ability to add shortcuts to certain Windows Explorer folders which you access on a regular basis :
This saves a lot of time if one of your most accessed folders in Windows Explorer is a sub-folder tucked away in lots of other sub-folders. Instead of tediously click-click-clicking with a mouse to get to that folder several times a day, you can use Filebox eXtender to create a one-click shortcut to that folder instead.
But the best part of Filebox eXtender are the “push-pins” which you can use to keep an app “on top” of all other windows. So say I want to keep Skype on top of all other Windows. I just need to use the push-pin to “pin” Skype to the top of all the other windows, as if I was pinning it to a notice board :
Here’s theoriginal MUO story.
10. CDex & Audioshell
Whenever I buy a CD, I immediately rip a MP3 copy for my iPod using CDex. CDex is most definately the best freeware CD ripping tool available. After putting the CD into your hard drive, CDex immediately detects the disk and after hitting a button, the disk is ripped to MP3 format in the space of a couple of minutes. Most of the time, it can even auto-name your files for you too.
When the files have not been auto-named by CD-ex, I then use the free Audioshell to edit the ID3 tags and add album art (see my original MUO story here ).
11. Quick Media Converter
When it comes to file conversion, Quick Media Converter is an absolute gem and it seems there is nothing it can’t do. I have yet to find a file it won’t convert. It seems totally unbeatable.
It converts audio files and video files from one format to another. It converts files to iPod format and iPod files back to normal format. It converts files to Flash and back again. DVD’s from PAL to NTSC and vice versa. Files to iPhone format and vice versa. Files to Playstation and Xbox format even.
There is also a webcam video recorder and a Camstudio screencast recorder but I haven’t ever used those so I can’t give an opinion on how good they are. But the file conversion tools are just far and away the best I’ve ever encountered.
So that’s the Mark Pack – 11 apps that appear on my computer ALL the time. But as I said in my last post, due to me testing and reviewing apps all the time, I might find a new favourite app tomorrow and number 12 might enter the Mark Pack any day. But when it does, I’ll be sure to let you know!
So what’s in your Pack? Please do let me know! And let me know what you think of my choices!