What would your new laptop be without free software? Now would be a good time to start installing some programs that will help you get the most out of your laptop. These include:
Microsoft Live Essentials: Microsoft's free software pack features a great e-mail client, a competent video editor, an instant-messaging app, blogging software, and a photo editor.
Paint.NET: The best free alternative to Photoshop provides a simple yet powerful image editing interface.
Filezilla: If you need to upload or download files from an FTP server, this is your best bet.
TweetDeck: The leading Twitter client allows you to see feeds in a user-friendly column view.
OpenOffice.org: This free office suite has a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation application. It can even open and save Microsoft Office-compatible files. Some new PCs come with Microsoft Office 2010 Starter edition, which features stripped-down, ad-supported versions of Excel and Word, but OpenOffice.org has full presentation editing and no advertising.