Scott Hanselman’s 2006 list of Ultimate Developer and Power User Tools

Wed, Aug 30, 2006 3-minute read

I’ve always loved Scott’s ultimate list of tools.  To make things even better, PowerShell now plays a big part in this year’s list :)

To add to the list, here are the first tools (not covered by Scott) I add to my systems:

Start | Control Panel | Regional Settings | … | Dvorak

Setting my system to the Dvorak keyboard layout is one of the first things I do on my non-work computers.  Typing feels much more efficient and effortless as compared to the QWERTY keyboard layout.


Aaron Margosis’ essential tool that lets you easily work with your system as a limited user.  Much more efficient than XP’s Fast User Switching.

Vim / Emacs

The venerable editors.  I seem to switch between them every few years – I’m currently using Vim because Emacs gives me grief over Unicode files.  Of course, syntax highlighting for PowerShell scripts is a must:


Strong “Password Safe” program that also has a Pocket PC port.  Allows me to use strong passwords on all of my accounts, without having to remember them all.


A helpful utility that caches the last ten entries in your clipboard.  I’m not gaga about this one, but it seems to do the best job of the free ones I’ve found.  Unfortunately, this app suffers (as most clipboard monitor software does) from Windows’ Remote Desktop messing around with the clipboard.

Tortoise Subversion

Checking all of your important documents into source control is a backup dream come true.  Especially when your source control server doubles as a cat feeder :)


The best free FTP program I’ve found.  SmartFTP used to fit that bill until it started nagging.

RealAlternative / QuicktimeAlternative/ K-Lite Codec Pack

A triumvirate that makes your media viewing life so much easier.  Provides alternatives to the evil RealPlayer and Quicktime bloatware, and also gives you the codecs required to play most popular file formats.

Windiff / ExamDiff

For file comparison tools, I use Windiff the most because people at work are used to it.  However, ExamDiff really is a slick application.


Nice little app to let you connect to a remote VNC session.


Although I prefer TerraTerm as an SSH client in general, Putty won its place in my tools directory because it requires only a single file.


A cool Windows UI automation program.  I especially like its COM interface, which can be easily scripted via PowerShell.


A little benchmarking application to help you compare the efficiency of C# code snippets.


A great network sniffer and protocol analyzer.

Items already in Scott’s list that deserve more attention:


A great HTTP inspector that just continues to get better.  I lived in this program when I worked for MSN Encarta, and heavily lean on it when playing with online hacking games


This program is much more than “AutoCorrect for Windows.”  It has powerful scripting abilities, and lets you automate tons of tasks in Windows.


An awesome image editor that definitely replaces the open source “GIMP”