These tools aid the reporting and monitoring of the current environment.
A diagnostics, reporting tool. Very simple, and very thorough. Produces good and easy to understand reports.
A diagnostics, reporting tool. The reports are slightly less user friendly.
SysInternals is a great site for utilities. These are mainly aimed at the developer but are of enormous use for the tester that wants to increase the level of detail that they are able to report to the developer.
These tools are incredibly useful during the install of a system to take a snapshot before install and compare it with a snapshot after.
This tool is completely free and very simple to use.
This is a non-free install watcher which is used by PC Magazine when testing software.
Incredibly useful tools which I use during every beta test. Either to store test data in the clipboard for reuse, to track notes about the testing, or just to view the clipboard contents.
Data file compares are a common requirement when testing.
This is may favourite compare tool which can be extended with plugs ins.
This is a free equivalent which is often used in conjunction with CVS to compare different versions of files.
This is the single most useful tool category in here. Which is surprising given the simplicity of the tool and the fact that windows already has most of the functionality you need to do this, but these tools save me time when recording screenshots and allow me to focus in on the areas that are important and that is one of the key elements of a successful defect report.
This is my favourite screenshot program with more options than are actually required but I have it running constantly.
Free and requires no install or dll"s which makes it perfect for paranoid testers.
My favourite remote machine controller which I use when testing software on a different machine on the network. It comes in a number of free variants which add extra security or optimised display refreshing.
Version control and backup is essential.
Difference backup of various files - cheap version control and very handy for test data files.
SmartSync is a handy little utility that copies files from one directory to another, it can make incremental backups so that you can restore to various points in time. One particularly handy feature is that it can copy files as soon as they have been changed.
A free alternative to winzip.
This is the archiver that I use because I like the ability to create backup sets which are easy to control.
CVS is a version control system which can be complicated to setup but if you really want to get control over the versioning of files on your system then this is a cheap place to start.
Now bought by Microsoft, this is the PC emulator that I use. VMWare is a close competitor and you should try both on the evaluation license to see which one you prefer.
Another excellent commercial PC Emulator.
This is the free PC emulator. It is a little harder to setup than Virtual PC or VMWare but if you are looking to try this on a low budget then you have nothing to lose.