1. Browser – IE 8.0 and/or Google Chrome
2. Anti-Virus – One of the lightweight software is AVG. Check it out @ http://free.grisoft.com/
3. Offline thesaurus and dictionary - http://wordweb.info/free/
This is a cool app which sits on your task bar. For finding meaning of a word just block the word and press CTRL + Right click on it.
4. Photo Organizer – I love Picasa and am using it for quite sometime now without any issues. http://picasa.google.com/download/
5. Creating / Editing blogposts - http://writer.live.com/
7. Instant Messaging – I was using MSN and Yahoo. But offlate I am using only Gtalk or the Chat feature which comes embedded within Gmail. May be you might want to try out Skype if you love talking more than typing :)
8. Download Manager – I use Free download Manager for quite sometime now. http://www.freedownloadmanager.org/download.htm but one of my friend told me about http://www.orbitdownloader.com/ (which I haven’t tried yet)
9. WinPatrol – I use this to manage my startup programs, services etc., kind of it sits on the system tray alert you to hijackings, malware attacks and critical changes made to your computer without your permission. http://www.winpatrol.com/
10. I do have Microsoft Windows Defender as well.
11. CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it's fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware! :)
12. Automated Password Manager and Form filler - RoboForm http://www.roboform.com/php/land.php?affid=dnf01&frm=frame10
Along with it I have Microsoft Private Folder also installed in my laptop. I guess Microsoft is not giving it out anymore. Since I have downloaded it sometime in 2006 i still have it working and it helps me have few of movie collections securely :)
Let me know what you guys use or if I miss anything important which one should have in their box.