The following applications/resources have been found to be useful when working with the Windows operating system, and should make the job of any Windows administrator easier.
1. simplewall – An extension of Windows Firewall, this program allows for on demand blocking/allowing of inbound/outbound network connections.
2. ShutUp10 – An application which provides granular control over Windows behavior relating to Windows Updates, Privacy, Security, and more.
3. Ninite – A website/utility that allows for the download and installation of useful, commonly used applications and more.
4. Winaero – A utility to fine-tune many graphical and behavioral aspects of Windows.
5. IObit Uninstaller – This application has a clean interface and easily uninstalls multiple applications at once, although some ads are present.
6. Syslog Watcher/Inspector – Applications which can be used to configure centralized logging on Windows systems.
Hopefully these utilities will allow for a more manageable, straightforward Windows experience.