25 Oct 2017

Essential Laptop Software Guide - Skyrocket Your Productivity

So your operating system is installed on your new machine and you are ready to load your laptop software on it.

With tons of both free and paid software apps out there, you might be tempted to load your laptop with lots of them. Don't!

Why slow down your machine with lots of applications you are unlikely to use.

Neither should you just copy all the applications from your old computer onto your new laptop. No - this is an opportunity to start anew.

Essential Laptop Software

To that end here is a list of essential laptop software that you should strongly consider:

1. First, safeguard your laptop. For this, you'll need a good antivirus software to protect you against the ever-present threat of viruses. Read our guide on laptop security suites to get an idea of what to look for in a good anti-virus software.

That said, if money is tight, you can go to a website like CNET Download and get free antivirus software. Though paid versions offer greater protection, AVG Free Antivirus edition has gotten rave reviews.

If you go the free AVG route, just remember to remove the preloaded free trial antivirus software on your notebook computer. Yeah, it is probably that same software that is always nagging you to upgrade to a paying customer.

2. Get even more protection by getting a good spyware removal software. Adware, Trojans, worms and other spyware surreptitiously track your online behavior, invade your privacy and slow down your system.

Safeguard yourself and your system by installing one of the following antispyware software: Lavasoft Ad-Aware, Hikack This, Spybot Search or Webroot.

Now that your system is protected, you can feel a little more at peace browsing the net. There are many web browsers out there to choose from, Internet Explorer (IE), Google Chrome, Firefox (Mozilla), Opera, Safari etc.

Internet Explorer would be the default on Windows laptops. If this is what you choose to go with, make sure you install the latest version as this browser is often plagued by security problems.

Google Chrome is very fast and Firefox has many advantages such as its speed, its customization options and a huge user developed plug-in database.

But you know what, we are not gonna go with either of those browsers but rather recommend Sea Monkey. This browser contains the Mozilla Firefox browser, an IRC client, web page editor and also bundles email.

3. If you have ever read e-books or bought digital products online, you might have noticed that often times those products are packaged in ZIP format. To access such files, get 7-Zip. This free laptop software can create and open GZ, TAR, ZIP and other compressed data formats.

4. Tell your family and friends about your shiny new laptop with Skype - an application that offers free voice, video calls and chat over the internet. Just about everyone that has a computer has Skype installed.

Want to have a video chat with an overseas client or talk with a friend in another country for free? Then Skype is a must-have application.

5. As popular as Skype is, many within your close family and social circles may still use instant messenger software (IM). Your spouse may be accustomed to using Google Chat while your kids are big users of AOL Instant Messenger.

Rather than having both these clients (and possibly others) on your computer, simplify your life by using an application that allows multiple access to IM networks from one window.

Two such applications are Pidgin (formerly known as GAIM) for Windows and Adium for Mac. They are both open source (free) and work great.

6. For doing presentations, spreadsheet, writing letters and so forth, Microsoft Office (MS) is immensely popular. But if you want to save about $140 on Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 edition, then you should go for Open Office free suite of productivity applications.

Open Office writes and reads all major Microsoft Office files formats and has a one-click function to convert document files to PDF. Open Office is lighter too whereas MS Office can be somewhat bloated.

If you are a netbook user with limited space on your system, you would appreciate having the lighter Open Office on your system.

7. Many e-books and other reading materials come in PDF format. You could downloaded the latest free Adobe Acrobat Reader to open such files but unfortunately Adobe has become increasingly bloated and slow.

There is a much faster, lightweight alternative to opening and displaying PDF files. It is called Foxit Reader - and it is also free to download.

8. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. You need a media player to listen to your favorite songs and watch movies. There are various players out there such as Real Player and Winamp but the most popular one is VLC.

This player can support all media formats. Got a video or DVD that won't play in another media player - VLC will handle it. This is one piece of laptop software you shouldn't be without.

Now understand that this list of essential laptop software is by no means exhaustive. There are so many other applications out there that are useful such as download managers, registry cleaners, FTP clients etc.

If for example you wanted to indulge a bit and are into graphics, you could even download a graphics editor such as Paint.NET for Windows or Seashore for Mac.

The point to bear in mind is that what is viewed as essential laptop software is often subjective and based on the needs of individual users. However, we believe that the 8 applications on the list above is essential to any computer user. I hope this article will help you to skyrocket your productivity. If you like this article, check out my another article “
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