My Desktop PC

CommandI use my desktop PC for about 4 hours a day, it’s very important to me.  You can see a picture of it in this post, here are the details of how I have it setup.


  • Dual Core processor
  • 4 GB memory
  • 2 * 2500MB hard disks, one backs up to the other every night using a robocopy script, the scripts also does a backup of the SQL server databases.
  • 4 head Nvidia Quadro
  • 3 AG Neovo 19” TFT displays, DVI
  • Sennheiser USB headphones
  • 100Mb wired network connection to the hub

Core software:

  • Vista 64
  • Connected PC backup
  • Carbonite PC backup
  • Maxthon Browser (free), the best browser,  see my other posts
  • Skype (free)
  • PamelaPro for Skype – provides recording of Skype calls and voice mail
  • MSDE (free), ie free SQL server database
  • Synergy (free), allows me to use desktop keyboard and mouse to control my Tablet and my Laptop, useful when I don’t want to use RDP connections
  • X1 amazing desktop search products (free, in version from Yahoo), I have tried them all,  this is the best for serious searching,  I have 10,000 documents that I regularly search through
  • DAEMON tools virtual CD drive (free),  for mounting all of those MSDN ISO images!
  • Ultramon, to make best use of those 3 monitors
  • PowerShell (free), the new shell from Microsoft
  • WinDirStat (free) to keep an eye on my hard disk useage
  • VMWare Workstation v5.5
  • VMware Player (free)
  • VMware Console (free) , for accesing Virtual Machines running on my Server
  • Microsoft Virtual PC console (free) for accessing Virtual Machines running on my Server
  • MSDN (free) download manager
  • FoxIT PDF reader (free) , my pain PDF reader, very quick
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 7 (free), for when FoxIT PDF reader has a problem
  • RSIGuard, to make sure I don’t work too hard
  • Foldershare (free), for synching up copies of the kids files onto my PC’s F: drive before they are backed up
  • Nero Express (free), for DVD writing
  • Microsoft Intellimouse and keyboard software
  • MindManager viewer (free), for viewing maps embedded in web pages
  • MindManager Pro 7
  • Microsoft ActiveSync (free), synch to Windows Mobile/SmartPhone (not currently used)
  • Blackberry Desktop 
  • WinZip, compression and archive manager
  • SmartFTP (free), upload client to Streamload, my large file sharing service (lets me send DVD images etc by email)
  • Filezilla FTP client
  • Robocopy (free), command line utility that I use for all disk synchronisation and backup
  • Inctrl3 (free), utility that watches and records what happens when you install software
  • Regmon and Filemon (free), utilities to monitor registry and file activity
  • Process Explorer (free), task manager on steroids
  • Sun’s JVM (free), Java Virtual machine
  • Microsoft Reader (free), eBook reader
  • Citrix ICA client
  • Windows Live Meeting Client
  • Sametime web conferencing client
  • Interwise web conferencing client
  • WebEx web conferencing client
  • iShadow multi-window RDP and ICA client
  • K-Lite Video Codec pack
  • Dot Net Framework 2, 3, 3.5
  • Silverlight 1 and 2 runtimes
  • Flash runtime


  • Acronis – full system disk image backup
  • Allwaysync – bidirectional replication of data between laptop and desktop 
  • AVG AntiVirus
  • Microsoft Defender (free) – anti-spyware
  • Maxthon (free). Ad, popup and everything else blocking
  • Firefox (free), for comparison with IE and Maxthon

Telephone, Audio, Music and Video, TV

  • Audacity for general audio post processing, conversions etc 
  • Levalator – levels audio levels in WAV file recordings 
  • Windows media player
  • Winamp for music (free), because it is integrated with Skype
  • Media Player Classic
  • Cool MP3 Splitter for 2 click splitting of MP3 files into segments by size of time
  • Xilisoft WMA MP3 convertor
  • Skype (free), for calls to international land-lines and for recording conference calls. I use the phone for everything else
  • Pamela for Skype, records to WAV and MP3, records Skype calls and Skype Voice Mail
  • DTMF Dial (free), for when Skype DTMF fails me
  • DigiGuide UK TV guide
  • Quicktime (free) because my camera produces quicktime movies and I download some
  • Logitech video camera drivers
  • Canon printer drivers

Pictures, images, scanning etc:

  • Microsoft Flash (free) for screen captures and simple image editing, scale, crop, format conversion etc,  it shipped with HTML Help a long time ago
  • SnagIT screen capture
  • Paint.NET (free) for more complex image editing
  • PaperPort Pro for scanning of all of my paper, it really is a great product

Notes and research

  • eWallet for everything I need to remember, cards, licence keys, cars etc etc.  Syncs with my Tablet and my Treo 650
  • OneNote 2007 for all other types of Notes and records
  • Notepad 2 (free), instead of Notepad
  • NetSnippets, integrated with Maxthon my main browser for capturing and storing web pages


  • Work 2007
  • Powerpoint 2007
  • Excel 2007
  • Windows Live Writer for blog writing
  • Camtasia Studio for multi-media authoring, screencasts, videos etc
  • MindManager 7 for most of my idea generation and meeting notes
  • CmapTools (free) concept map drawing software
  • v2,  for comparison to Microsoft Office, and to get around issues with readonly fonts in PowerPoint

Collaboration, Email, RSS, IM and Organisation

  • Twhirl twitter client 
  • Lotus Notes 7.02,  my companies email system and my master contact database
  • Microsoft Outlook for personal email
  • FeedDemon for RSS reading
  • Doublelook, extracts my Notes contacts and copies them over to Outlook
  • Pidgin, for Sametime, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, AOL 
  • MSN Messenger (free) just in case there is an issue with Pidgin
  • Groove 2007
  • Polycom PVX, video conferencing client


  • C: system disk
  • D: secondary data disk
  • E: primary backup disk, also stores master copies of DVD’s copied to disk and MSDN downloads
  • F: Primary data disk
  • Backup, each night:
  • C:\documents and settings backed up to D:
  • All databases backed up by script
  • F: backed up to E:
  • F: backed up to Tablet PC and to Server
  • F: backed up off site using Connected PC backup from Iron Mountain and carbonite
  • D: (MSDN and DVDs) backed up to Server disk E:

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

3 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Steve,

    Bit of a cheek really, but I came across this blog when googling for some help with a problem I have and got a hit on

    “HP officejet d series Corporate Driver (free), Windows 2003 compatible driver for D125xi Printer/Scanner”

    I’m currently trying to install an hp oj d 155xi onto a 2003 standard server platform but without much success. I’ve located the corporate driver but havn’t located a w2k3 compatible driver – can you give any pointers?

    Apologies for the question via a comment but I couldnt find a mail link for you.




  2. Anonymous says:

    I have been using the corporate driver on my 2003 server for a few years and it seems to work fine. To install it though you need to right click on the installer and use Windows 200 compatibility mode. If that doesn’t work (it was a while ago) then use the compatibility mode on the installer that gets installed into the program files directory.

  3. Why says:

    WOW!!!….what a system.You must be a geek.

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