The purpose of a tool is to streamline or enable processes. For computing, most tools come in the form of automation or batch processing. We wrote about driver installation and uninstallation earlier, recommending Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU) for automated removal of all GPU driver contents. There are also tools which streamline installation, though, and one of those is “Ninite.”
Software configuration on a brand new machine is time consuming. By using Ninite, a batch installer can be generated to the user’s spec. Select all the core applications you might want, like Steam, Notepad++, Chrome/Firefox, codecs, VLC, and more, and then hit the “get installer” button. This will generate a custom installer, which then goes out and auto-downloads each of the tools. Once downloaded, Ninite automatically install all the software and navigate through the steps independently.
For some recommended tools, we like:
- Alternative web browsers (e.g. Opera, Chrome, FireFox)
- Notepad++ (excellent for .ini tweaking, basic scripting/batch file creation)
- Java (you’ll need it at some point – just get it now)
- Filezilla for FTP or WinSCP for SCP
- Classic Start for operating systems with Metro overlays
- Media Player Classic or VLC as an alternative media playback utility
That’s about as quick of an install as is possible.
But it’s also only half the battle. We’d suggest grabbing the new version of Java and other popular software kits as it’ll save time later when installing games.
If you’re planning to play games available through Origin, uPlay, GOG Galaxy, or other services, also consider fetching those installers. This will quickly bloat the on-boot application launches, so we’d next suggest navigating to Task Manager (right-click the taskbar, select Task Manager) and then choosing the “Startup” tab. From here, you will be able to toggle all undesired applications from launching on boot. Be sure to leave alone any key drivers.
Keep Your Downloads Organized
Particularly important for SSD users, installation management will ensure that the limited space available on an SSD is not unnecessarily consumed. If you’re using an SSD + HDD configuration, we would suggest navigating into Steam and configuring your Downloads folder to add a new Steam Library to the HDD. Then, when prompted where to install games, only place the most important game (or two) on your SSD. That’s assuming the load times are really that noticeable, anyway.
Additional Utilities You Should Consider Installing on Your PC
We’ve already talked about CAM’s usefulness for framerate logging, temperature monitoring, video card overclocking, and other utility within Windows. To augment this, we recommend you download some useful apps to enhance your gaming experience like Forge and Discord. – Steve Burke, GamersNexus