10 Must-Have Applications on Windows 7 Launch Day

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10 Must-Have Applications on Windows 7 Launch Day

by Don Reisinger

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It might just be a music app to some, but Apple's free iTunes software is a digital hub providing a gateway to music, movies, television shows, mobile applications, podcasts, and more. It's a must-have for anyone (especially iPhone and iPod owners) deploying Windows 7 on launch day.

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Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft's free security package for home users is a must-have for any consumer or small business. According to the majority of security experts, the software does a fine job of detecting malware. It compares nicely to other free anti-malware programs from AVG and Avast. Anyone looking to secure their Windows 7 installations will want this software.

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Office 2007

Office 2007 might have a different design when compared to the old versions of the software, but if users want to get work done, Microsoft's productivity suite should be installed on day one. That said, most users won't need anything more than Word, Excel and PowerPoint, so they can save a few bucks and aim for just those packages.

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Photoshop Elements 8

Since snapping photos has become such a key part of the tech industry, it's probably useful to have photo-editing software ready to go on the first day Windows 7 is available. But instead of spending hundreds of dollars on PhotoShop, most users can get by with Adobe's PhotoShop Elements 8, which costs just $99.

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Premiere Elements 8

If users are looking to edit photos, they should also consider video-editing software. Although there are quite a few packages out there, Adobe's Premiere Elements 8 tends to provide the best bang for the buck. It combines many of the useful features found in Adobe's expensive Premiere program with the cost-effectiveness of competing software. It costs $99.

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AVG Anti-Virus

Since Microsoft's Security Essentials won't be enough to keep a Windows 7 installation safe, it's probably a good bet for users to also install AVG's Anti-Virus. It's not guaranteed to keep users safe, but combining forces with Security Essentials should make for a more reliable computing experience.

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For those users who aren't so happy with the way Windows 7 looks, Tweak-7 is a great software package to have. With the help of Tweak-7, Windows 7 owners will be able to optimize Windows 7 by increasing efficiency and cutting down on wasteful programs. It's not a bad deal for $38.82.

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Google Chrome

Google's free Chrome browser is one of the faster browsers on the Web. And thanks to some crafty design work, Chrome also sports more security than Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Whether or not Chrome is better than Firefox, another Internet Explorer alternative, is up for debate. But considering speed is so tough to come by, Chrome should probably top the list of browsers to download on Oct. 22.

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Google Desktop

Microsoft's Windows desktop search is notorious for providing a lackluster experience. And although the software giant has promised better things from Windows 7's search, it's doubtful that it will be able to beat Google's free Desktop search. That application is highly regarded in the desktop-search space. It does a much better job than Windows at finding files and folders on the user's hard drive.

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Security is important, but keeping data away from malicious hackers is just as important. That's where TrueCrypt comes in. The free software creates a virtual encrypted disk on a Windows installation and mounts that as an encrypted drive. It can encrypt an entire hard drive or a partition using several well-respected encryption algorithms, including AES-256, Serpent and TwoFish.