Developer and Power User Tools for Windows

This is a collection of the important tools for development and productivity I currently use (C#, ASP.NET, WPF, JavaScript).

.NET

  • Visual Studio 2017
  • LINQPad – Amazing power-tool. Instantly test .NET code snippets, query your database, create and analyse LINQ/Entity framework queries. Most used by me to create, analyse and run LINQ to entities queries. It will show the generated SQL and query you database for you. Great learning utility also. It has a ton of code examples from the book C# 3/4/5/6/7 in a Nutshell.
  • ReSharper – Helps you writing better code. Tons of hints for improvements. Great test-runner. Performance tip: Exclude the ..\AppData\Local\Jetbrains folder from the antivirus realtime-protection.

Web development

  • Chrome DevTools – Debug and analyse your frontend stuff. Some Tips and Tricks.
  • Charles Web debugging proxy – See all HTTP/HTTPS traffic of your app. Especially useful if you debug something that does not run in a browser (.NET app, …).
  • WinSCP – Free SFTP, SCP and FTP client for Windows.
  • Putty – Free SSH client
  • BrowserSelector – Windows tool to open different browsers based on the URL. Great if you are using different browsers for different things. I love it!

REST (Web API)

  • httpstat.us – Generate different HTTP status code. Simulate delays
  • Mockoon – Multi-Platform API Mock software. Great UI, simple to use and tons of features (dynamic responses, CORS, delays, …)

Editors, file comparison

  • VS Code – powerful, open-source multi-platform editor. Don’t use it too much, since I do most of my work in Visual Studio. But I like to use it for editing certain file types (XML).
  • Notepad++ – My workhorse for analysing log-files, search and anything not done in VS Code or Visual Studio.
  • HxD Hex Editor – Nice hex editor. Can calculate checksums like CRC-16.
  • Beyond compare – Compare files, folders, merge, synchronize. An evergreen in my tool belt for comparing stuff.

Automation

AutoHotKey – Very complex and powerfull tool to automate your windows applications

Database

System tools

  • WinDirStat – Visualize the occupied space on your disk. I use that for deleting crap when the disk is getting full.
  • MiniTool Partition Wizard – Manage partitions, move OS from harddrive to SSD and much more. Many features already available in the free version.
  • CPU-Z – Lightweight and fast tool to check you hardware-configuration and run some basic CPU benchmarks.

Graphics

  • Paint.NET – Free and powerful image editor. When Photoshop is too much (and too expensive).

Media

  • ActivePresenter – Records your screen and microphone. Used it for recording tutorials (screencast for YouTube). It also makes a great tool for helping you test your GUI, as you can record what you are doing and what is happening. When something breaks, you can replay and go back in time. Version 7 did not work for me, better try Version 6 of their program while it’s still available.

Health and productivity

  • OneNote – All my notes, bookmarks, screenshots and complete knowledge bases go into OneNote. Make screenshots, format your entries with simple keyboard-shortcuts without touching the mouse, collaborate on content with notebooks stored on MS SharePoint or OneDrive.
  • EyeLeo – Prevents eye strain. Gentle reminders now and then to get your eyes off the screen.
  • Tomighty Pomodoro timer – Get more done with more breaks. The Pomodoro technique works out great for development. Moving my body every half-hour amps up my creativity and helps me getting unstuck. I prefer to move my body, jog for a couple of minutes. Many times it’s off the screen when the aha-moments hit me.

For a much more extensive list of tools check out the resource from Scott Hanselman. Last time I checked it has been updated in 2014, but still of great value for discovering stuff:

Scott Hanselman’s Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows

Another list by Steve Smith (aka Ardalis), who I admire for his software design and coding skills:

Ardalis – Tools Used