What I install on a fresh Windows development PC
A short overview of the software that I always install on a fresh Windows PC to get up-and-running for .NET development.

Every so often I need to flatten and reinstall my PC, or move to a new development PC. This list covers the "must have" software that I will ALWAYS install to get me up-and-running for .NET development on Windows.

Visual Studio

Visual Studio is the flagship Windows IDE, and is pretty much a given for most .NET developers. Not much more needs to be said.

Download at https://www.visualstudio.com

Notable addons for VS2017:

Project File Tools - This addon brings package intellisense to CSPROJ project files. Great for those of us who were used to the old-style project.json intellisense.

Razor Language Services - This addon adds support for the Razor intellisense and syntax highlighting features that didn't make it into the initial VS2017 release.

Visual Studio Code

Sometimes I just need a lightweight editor, and VS Code really shines in this role. It's quick and responsive (especially for an Electron app), there are tons of plugins for every occasion, and the team is constantly pushing out new features. VSCode is gaining a lot of momentum in the industry, and Microsoft are doing a great job pushing out features regularly.

Download at https://code.visualstudio.com


This is pretty self-explanatory. Git has won the version control wars.

Download at https://git-scm.com


SourceTree is my favorite Git GUI. I find the GUI is more productive for simple tasks, while the CLI is preferable for more complex tasks.

Download at https://www.sourcetreeapp.com

NuGet Package Explorer

NuGet Package Explorer is a simple GUI for browsing NuGet package feeds, and peeking inside packages.

Download from the Windows Store, or from https://github.com/NuGetPackageExplorer/NuGetPackageExplorer


Postman is a GUI tool used to assist in API use and development. It's great for manually executing/testing APIs, and is very easy to use.

Download at https://www.getpostman.com


LinqPad is a super-lightweight .NET scratchpad. It is incredibly useful for writing/testing C# snippets without having to bother with all the ceremony of project files, solutions, etc. In addition, it works well as a lightweight SQL GUI for running ad-hoc queries.

Download at https://www.linqpad.net/


A really well designed and easy to use file archiver.

Download at http://www.7-zip.org

WiX Toolset

WiX (Windows Installer XML Toolset) is a set of tools used to build Windows Installer packages. WiX uses XML documents to declaratively describe the structure of the installer, and then a suite of command line tools to build the various components. WiX is a great system because the XML documents are easily manipulated and stored in source control, and because the command line tools are simple to integrate into any build process.

Download at http://wixtoolset.org


Fiddler is a web debugging proxy. It allows you to view web traffic coming in to and out of your PC.

Download at http://www.telerik.com/fiddler


Paint.NET is a lightweight image and photo editor tool that sits somewhere between MSPaint and Photoshop in terms of features and ease of use. As a developer who doesn't do a heap of design work, but occasionally has to put together a neat GUI, Paint.NET offers the right amount of functionality without being too overwhelming.

Download at https://getpaint.net

Posted by Matthew King on 12 March 2017
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