Below is a list of tools I find useful or interesting.
Caveat: I use Windows XP on my current work machine. Some of the listed tools are available only for Windows, others are geared at bringing some of the functionality of Windows 7 and Mac OS to my XP machine.
Google Scholar (web)
Google’s academic search engine is a fantastic tool when you know bits and pieces about an article you’d like to get hold of, but don’t have a comprehensive reference. I use it in combination with Wash U’s excellent library site whenever I’m after a pdf I’ve seen referenced in a talk or at lab meeting.
Publish or Perish (desktop)
A handy application that allows you to quickly explore an academic’s publication metrics. I use it to keep track of citations, though it’s not the most reliable source of this information as it use Google Scholar’s liberal citation counts.
An application with a number of nifty functions related to power analyses. I can see this being very useful when it comes to grant application time.
Effect Size Calculator (web)
Online tool for quick and dirty effect size calculation.
Powerful image editing desktop application. I use this for everything from fine-tuning figures for manuscripts to adjusting the resolution of instruction slide images for Experiments. I’m not a image-editing power-user so I tend to create the images with in Powerpoint (or Statistica for graphs) before exporting them as high-resolution tiffs to touch up using Gimp.
General Windows Tools
Dropbox (web & desktop)
Dropbox has changed my whole approach to synching files across multiple computers. I don’t need to worry about CDRs or memory sticks anymore, I can just drag something into my Explorer-integrated dropbox and see it pop-up on all the other machines on which I have dropbox installed. I recently designed a new experiment on my desktop machine, and found that I could test each iteration of the development on the laptop machine on which it will be run as soon as I saved the desktop machine version. Even if your internet connection goes down, you still have access to your files as local copies always available and only updated from the cloud. You get 2GB for free with incremental additional space available for certain forms of software evangelism (i.e. converting your friends) and subscription access to more space. Wonderful!
Logmein (web & desktop)
A great alternative to remote desktop. I use this to tunnel into my work PC from home if I need to check anything or gain access to resources on the work network.
Google’s lightning-fast browser. I made the switch from Firefox when the Mozilla browser started getting very slow. Although Firefox still wins the addons/extensions war, Chrome is making vast strides here. Extensions I use include: Adblock, Google Mail Checker Plus and ForecastFox. (I’ve also tried the even faster Opera, though it’s still a little too prone to crashes for my liking.)
Microsoft Security Essentials (desktop)
Excellent background antivirus software from Microsoft.
Revo Uninstaller (desktop)
A comprehensive uninstaller that searches and removes traces of applications forgotten by built-in application uninstaller. I use the free version with no complaints at all.
A mac-style application launcher. It’s endlessly customisable and much more useful than the Windows XP taskbar. I’m not sure I’ll persist with it once I get onto a windows 7 machine though
Stalled Printer Repair (desktop)
Portable tool that allows you to quickly flush a printer queue following a stall. A vast improvement on the built-in printer queue manager’s efforts.
I got this free from Lifehacker a while ago and it’s proved so useful I will be buying it for my next machine. It allows you to create pdfs from anything you can print – pretty useful if you’re putting documents online.
A utility that emulates Windows 7’s Aerosnap functionality. Great if you have a large monitor and often have applications open side-by-side.
Taskbar Shuffle (desktop)
Drag and drop taskbar applications into new positions. Not essential, handy if you’re into organising things.
Another organisation utility, this time for the desktop itself. I tend to use my desktop as a holding pad for anything and everything – Fences allows me to fence sections of it off for certain types of files, e.g. pdfs, portable applications, data I’ve been sent that I need to look at etc. Also, if you double-click on the desktop, it all disappears, giving you the illusion of being ultra-organised.