This is just a list of software I use and where I got it. I don't like supporting Microsoft or paying for software when there are free alternatives. Most of the listed programs are for windows; since that is the operating system I use most frequently.
Windows replacement: Ubuntu Linux is a good and a much more secure operating system than windows is. I use the live CD version sometimes but generally I use Windows since the computer came with it and I'm not the only one who uses the computer.
Many of the programs listed below I now tend to use the Portable app version keeping it on a usb stick for easy usage on multiple pcs.
Microsoft Office replacement: Open Office This program does basically every thing that Microsoft Office does but is free.
Internet browser - I have tried several internet browsers, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, and Firefox (only counting current ones and not counting non PC ones for example the Dreamcast browsers). The one that I like the most is Firefox with Opera being a close second. Opera has some things already installed which might be useful for some people but I personally don't need and could add via extensions to Firefox. I did not like Internet Explorer or Safari. I had used Internet Explorer for several years then switched to Netscape Navigator for awhile (before AOL bought it). At this point in time I find Firefox to be the best. I use Firefox because it is much safer than internet explorer and faster with many very good add-on for improved internet browsing.
recommended add-ons to Firefox:
-adblock plus This blocks banner ads and ads on the websites. This is good in that I don't like seeing ads, slightly speeds up internet browsing and makes your computer a little bit more secure. I use these filters added EasyElement+EasyList and APB Tracking Filter+Cédrics Liste. Filters can be downloaded from here: Filter List
-adblock plus element hiding helper: This adds additional function to adblock plus allowing you to hide particular elements. I find it to be useful.
-BugMeNot I dislike signing on to view websites for example New York Times with this add-on I can just click log me in with bug me not instead of filling out the form and giving an email address.
-chatzilla I used to use Mirc for Internet Relay Chat (IRC) now I use this.
-DownThemAll - This is a good little downloader that gives me the option to download stuff later, download all the images on a page at once (extremely useful), and resume downloads.
-FireFtp - A good little ftp program.
-Google Toolbar for firefox - I like the cached web page link, highlighter, and translate page options.
-Downloadhelper - I use this to download embedded things like Youtube videos that downloadthemall doesn't
-Customize Google - This add-on gives you more control over google; it blocks google ads, makes google cookie anonymous, removes chat box from gmail, etc.
-Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out (TACO) installs opt-out cookies in the browser to prevent many online advertising networks from behavioral advertising.
-Flagfox not really a required add-on but I like the little flag showing where the site originates from.
-FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) backups Firefox extensions.
Virus Scan software - AVG Antivirus Free Edition - auto updating, email scanner, best of all free. I have tried others like Norton, Mcafee, and others but really they aren't any better than this free one is. I also use ClamWin portable since I don't trust one program to catch everything.
Browser protection utility: Spyware blaster provides protection against ActiveX based exploits, block hostile sites and discards unwanted cookies as well. Though really I don't need this since I do not use internet explorer anymore.
Anonymous Surfing Service: Tor This is good for surfing the internet anonymously though it does slow your connection down. (Lots of reasons to do this paranoia, downloading mp3's, etc.)
Image editing software: The Gimp or if you prefer it to look more like photoshop than use GimpShop.
Bittorent client: I use Utorrent.
File Destroyer: Use the one that comes with Spybot Search and Destroy.
Registry cleaner: Toni Helenius' free EasyCleaner in conjuncture with CLeaner (portable version).
Disk Defrager: I used Auslogics Defrager for a bit and liked how fast it was but I think that JKDefrag does a better job optimizing and defraging though it does take significantly longer.
Digital Image Viewer: IrfanView and comic rack.
Spyware/ adware protection programs Spybot search and destroy.
PDF writer is PDF Creator This allows you to turn any document that you can print into a PDF by making a PDF printer.
Start Up manager: Currently use either MSconfig or the one within spybot search and destroy/cleaner.
Encryption Utility: Camouflage is very good for hiding files within other files, the container file looks and works like a normal file but can use the Camouflage program to open the file and extract the embedded password protected file.
PDF viewer: Used Foxit Reader for a while but now generally prefer to use Comic Rack which is also a comic book viewing program (.cbr and .cbz).
Audio Editing Software use Audicity.
Cd/DVD recovery: Cd's and DVD's can become unreadable do to scratches or other problems ISOBLaster allows you to extract any usable information from the cd to your hard drive.
Movie Playback: I have used an assortment of video players in the past like Zoom Player and Media Player Classic. Lately though my player of choice is VLC Media player. Part of the reason I prefer it is because it plays dvds region free and I occasionally watch DVDs that are not for my region (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc.).
Real Player Files: I find the windows versions of real player to be an annoying bloated program so I use real alternative player instead.
Video editing software: I used to use VirtualDub with additional filters more can be found at Videohelp.com. I currently use DVDfab the most often, it's just simpler, though the free version is very limited.
CD Ripper: Exact Audio.
Cd Burning software: CDBurnerXP does pretty much everything that Nero does.
Copying DVD's: DVDfab and then to make the DVDs fit onto the DVD-5 blank disks use DVDShrink
Removing copy protection and region codes on DVDs/CD's: I used to use slysoft anydvd though it is a pay for program. A free one is DVD43 but it sucks. VLC Player usually can work and dvdfab can remove pretty much all copy protections if your saving it to your computer (you can do that with VLC Player as well but it's not as simple).
Virtual drive: I have tried several of these including Daemon Tools and Virtual Clone Drive but the one I currently use is magic disc.
Offline Dictionary - Wordweb using the portable option