I’m setting up a laptop for a relative. He hasn’t really used Windows computers that much before, and I’m trying to keep the costs down. It really is very impressive what you can get for free. I’ve used the following software, on top of XP Home:
Fast, easy to use and stored externally
Office software: OpenOffice.org 2.0 beta
99% compatible with MS Office, and complelely free.
Music player: iTunes
Very easy-to-use, and doubles as a ripper and burner.
Photo manager: Picasa 2
Google’s very nice photo viewer and editor
Virus protection: AVG Free
Fully functional virus scanner. Updates aren’t quite as background automated as I’d like, but no big deal.
Firewall: Kerio Personal Firewall 4
Free and fully functional. The ‘No pop-up mode’ is excellent if you don’t want to be warned about ports continuously, too.
Spyware protection: Microsoft Antispyware Beta
The only free always-on spyware scanner that I know of, and it works pretty well too. Apparently the scanning/removal process isn’t quite so good as SpyBot or Ad-Aware, but continual monitoring just can’t be beaten.
Remote Access: TightVNC
Great if problems arise.
Anything obvious that I’ve missed?