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Free Must-Have Netbook Apps
Expand your desktop space, secure your system, edit photos, and more with these powerful but lightweight programs.

Contents:  
by Joanna Stern on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Finding software for netbooks can present challenges due to limited hard drive space, processor power, RAM, and screen real-estate.  That doesn't mean you have to do without essential programs.  The apps below cover all the bases -- entertainment, productivity, security, and communication -- without compromising on performance or usability.  Best of all, they're free!

Free Must-Have Netbook Apps


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360 Desktop

Price: Free

This small piece of software widens your desktop and lets you scroll in 360 degrees.
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AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0

Price: Free

AVG Free 8.0 will protect your Windows system against adware, identity theft, spyware and, of course, viruses—all without disrupting performance.
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Digsby

Price: Free

Digsby lets you log in and chat via AOL Instant Messenger, Facebook Chat, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger in one centralized window.
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Dropbox

Price: Free

The answer to your netbook’s limited onboard storage, Dropbox also prevents the tedious task of transferring files from your primary computer to your mini-notebook.
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Gmail Offline

Price: Free

Now Gmail users can access their messages and attachments, even without a Wi-Fi connection, through Gmail Offline.
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Google Chrome

Price: Free

Google Chrome, the perfect modern-day browser for a netbook.
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Launchy

Price: Free

Forget digging through the Start menu to find programs with your netbook’s tiny touchpad.
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OpenOffice 3.0

Price: Free

When your 60-day trial of Microsoft Office expires, turn to this open-source productivity suite.
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Paint.Net

Price: Free

A high-end photo-editing program like Adobe Photoshop simply won’t run smoothly on today’s netbook. But Paint.Net can get the job done—for free.
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VLC Media Player

Price: Free

Skip Microsoft Media Player’s video codec problems. VLC Media Player is a one-stop shop for playing back videos on your netbook.
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