Rebuild Your Mac with 20 Useful Downloads


Mac OS X only: So you erased your hard drive to install Leopard, and now you've got to load your Mac up with all your essential software. I kept a detailed inventory of the downloads I hunted down all over the internet to load on my Mac this weekend, so I thought I'd save you a few clicks. Here's a list of 21 mostly-free downloads with direct links to the download pages. All downloads are free except when otherwise noted. In alphabetical order:

  • adium.jpgAdium (download) (more info) Multi-protocol chat client when even iChat's improvements aren't enough

  • Caffeine (download) (more info)

    One-click sleep from the menubar, good for presentations and media servers

  • DiskInventoryX (download) (more info)

    See what files are taking up the most space on your Mac

  • Firefox (download)

    When Safari just doesn't cut it

  • GeekTool (download) (more info)

    Desktop text/image overlay

  • Google Earth (download)

    Mapping tools with a built-in flight simulator

  • Growl (download) (more info)

    Universal system notifier

  • Hazel (download) (more info)

    Not free: $22 license, free 14-day trial available

    Clean up your Stacks with automatic rules-based file and folder actions

  • InstantShot! (download) (more info)

    Screen capture utility with more features than Grab

  • isquint.jpgiSquint (download) (more info)

    Convert video files to iPod-friendly format

  • KeePassX (download) (more info)

    Secure password database. NOTE: KeePassX version 1.5 is not Leopard-compatible by default. Here's how to get KeePassX running on Leopard.

  • MagiCal (download) (more info)

    Menubar monthly calendar dropdown

  • Mozy (download) (more info)

    Online backup utility, 2GB space for free

  • Quicksilver (download) (more info)

    Application launcher and keyboard interface to your Mac. (Note: Qucksilver's main hosting site is unavailable at the moment, which means plugins are also unavailable. Use this mirror to get the initial install image.)

  • TextExpander (download) (more info)

    Not free: $30/license, free trial available

    Global text substitution utility expands user-defined text snippets to phrases and form letters

  • textwrangler.jpgTextWrangler (download) (more info)

    Full-featured text editor that beats the pants off of TextEdit

  • Thunderbird (download) ( more info)

    Ok, so it's debatable whether Thunderbird is better that OS X's built-in Mail, but I tend to think so—if only for its extensibility. Here's a free skin for T-bird if you want to give it that Apple Mail look.

  • Transmit (download) (more info)

    Not free: $30/license, free trial available

    The best FTP client you'll find on any platform

  • unarchiver.jpgThe Unarchiver (download) (more info)

    When StuffIt Expander doesn't know what that .TAR file is, the Unarchiver will.

  • VLC media player (download) (more info)

    The Swiss Army knife of media players, VLC will play all the movie files QuickTime chokes on. It can rip DVDs, too.

Note: The excellent SuperDuper! isn't yet fully Leopard-compatible, or else we would've included it here—and it's boot cloning capability is still very useful, even with Time Machine. We haven't yet tested Carbon Copy Cloner on Leopard.

For more great Mac downloads, see our Top 10 free Mac downloads and Top 10 Mac utilities. (Note: a few of the apps in these lists are now obsolete due to new Leopard features, but most are still useful.)

Other more expensive, specialised licensed downloads and box software I installed included Parallels Desktop, Quicken, DEVONthink Pro, Photoshop CS and Microsoft Office.

How about you? What were your must-have-right-now apps that you grabbed the moment you booted up Leopard? Let us know in the comments.


    Text Expander is good but wont expand across fields like Autohotkey for Win dows.

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