Favourite Windows Software

This page serves as a living, in-progress dumping ground for direct links to the download pages of my favourite Windows software so I don't need to waste time finding them when I perform a new installation. You may find it useful too. If you have any suggestions please let me know.


This is a set of software I like to install on any new Windows installation, Virtual Machine or desktop.

On a Virtual Machine

Nothing here yet...

On a Server

Nothing here yet...

On a Workstation

Nothing here yet...

On an End User Terminal

Nothing here yet...

In a UNIX-like Environment

  • Cygwin NOTE: Cygwin can consume huge amounts of space. From Stack Overflow: What is the current full install size of Cygwin? by user Warren Young:

    A full Cygwin installation can range from 23 to 112 GiB, depending on how you define "full."


    I've come up with a simple set of package exclusion rules that results in a much smaller installation:

    1. Skip all of the -debuginfo packages. Few people need these, and they take up a lot of space. Savings: about 53 GiB in the installation tree alone; more in the download tree.

      It's easy to apply this rule. After selecting all packages for installation with the sneaky trick above but before you move on to the next screen, click the "Install" text next to the "Debug" category header until it switches back to "Default."

      If you've already installed the debug packages, click that text until it says "Uninstall" instead.

    2. Do not explicitly install any of the lib* packages. Let Cygwin's setup-*.exe automatically install libraries to satisfy package dependencies. Savings: about 5 GiB ⁵

      To apply this rule, switch the "Libs" category to "Default" or "Uninstall" as you did with the "Debug" category. The installer will figure out which libraries you actually need in a later step.

    3. Skip the cross-compilers and associated packages. Again, few people need these.⁶ Savings: About 4 GiB

      There are two major sets of cross-development tools in Cygwin: the set for creating Cygwin executables of the other word size (i.e. 64-bit tools and libraries for 32-bit Cygwin, or vice versa) and the set for building MinGW executables of the same word size as your Cygwin installation.

      To apply this rule for a 64-bit Cygwin installation, while still on the "Select Packages" screen, type cygwin32- in the package name search box at the top of that screen, then click the Default text next to each top-level category until it cycles to Default or Uninstall, as above.

      Repeat that for mingw64-.

      The idea is the same for 32-bit Cygwin, except that you search for and exclude packages with cygwin64- and mingw32- in their names instead.

    By following this rule set, I was able to install nearly everything, taking only about 23 GiB.


    We can get the installation to be even smaller by excluding several other notorious disk hogs:

    • X11, the desktop environments, and the GUI apps together require about 11 GiB.⁷
    • A Cygwin Base + Devel installation comes to about 10 GiB.
    • A Cygwin Base + TeX category installation takes about 5 GiB. If you install only your native language's support package, it comes to about 3.7 GiB instead.
    • All of the -doc packages combined chew up about 5 GiB of disk space.

    You really should read the original post if you intend to install Cygwin, it's extraordinarily detailed. Hats off to Mr. Young for the hands-down best answer I have ever seen posted to Stack Overflow.

Additional Links

Untested Software Recommended by Others


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