In this free app guide, you'll see what we regularly use on our public computers. This application suite is almost guaranteed to work flawlessly on any netbook out there, and even if you have a monster rig.
1. K-Lite Mega Codec Pack - This is the best codec pack in the world [for now, Ed.]
This is a must-have codec pack that contains codecs for playing almost everything that you can find online and get off-line. This pack should be essential part of any setup that will play audio/video files. With this, you can forget about Microsoft's Media Player ever stating "Error downloading codec". Codecs are good not just for consumer, but for professional use too - we found some of these codecs better optimized than the ones shipped with audio editing software worth hundreds of dollars [sic!].
2. Media Player Classic-Home Cinema - A light-weight media player for Windows.
This is nothing short of a brilliant player for almost all video formats; small, fast with minimal memory consumption. It has subtitle support, and with added codecs can replace Quick Time and RealVideo. It works as a DVD player too with real tine zoom; “hot keys” are completely changeable. Visual appearance is little old fashioned like from old versions of Windows Media Player. The best feature is the Anti-Tearing feature and support for DXVA, e.g. using your graphics card to accelerate video playback.
3. WinAMP -The ultimate media player, allows you to manage and play audio and video files, rip and burn CDs.
From the dawn of MP3 era [MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3] we knew of WinAMP, one of the most popular media players out there. It can play and import music from audio CDs, supporting CD-Text, and can even burn music to CDs. It also supports other formats like AAC, WAV, MPEG, MP2, MIDI... 5.1 Surround sound is supported where formats and decoders allow. At the time of writing, the latest version was 5.552 bringing several new features such as Online Services Gallery, OurStage Radio Online Services, Spinner MP3 of the Day Online Service, and Turkish, Romanian and Portuguese Language Packs. Also, communication with the iPod Sync and the iTunes Library Import has vastly improved.
Also you can customize the appearance with thousands of skins and plug-ins, which make Winamp even better.
4. Paint.Net -image and photo editing software.
This is a powerful yet simple image and photo editor tool, bringing a Photoshop-like interface to the world of Paint users. It possesses most of the functions that other expensive commercial photo editor applications have. It allows you to add layers, perform unlimited “undo” commands, carry out special effect enhancement such as blurring,noise, sharpening, artistic effects, red-eye removal, distortion, and for everything else you are missing you can easily add bunch of plug-ins.
Latest version for download is 3.36.
5. Mozilla Firefox - Alternative web browser other than Internet Explorer that you can use instead, or with Internet Explorer.
This is the most popular web browser based on open source code, currently in version 3.0.10, and it is full of interesting features. The new ones are: One - Click Bookmarking, Instant Web Site ID, Improved Performance, Full Zoom, Smart Location Bar, Password Manager… There are also more than 5000 ways of customization with built-in Add-on manager. On an interesting note, Firefox is translated to over 40 different languages.
6. Foxit Reader - A PDF file viewer and browser add-on better - IMHO [In My Humble Opinion] - than Adobe's Acrobat Reader.
This is the incredibly small, simple and fast application [only 1.5MB]. Of course, besides fast opening of PDF files it has some more useful features in it like Multimedia Design, Metric Unit Support, Auto-scrolling with Middle Mouse Button, Foxit OnDemand Content Management, Layout Panel, Firefox Support; it also allows you to draw graphics, highlight text, type text and make notes on a PDF document and then print out or save the annotated document. You may even convert the whole PDF document into a simple text file. Also, it highly respects the security and privacy of users and will never connect to the Internet without the user's permission. The latest version for download is 3.0.
7. 7 Zip - A Zip utility program.
7 Zip is an open source utility software used to open 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, RAR, CAB, ISO, ARJ, LZH, CHM, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB and NSIS archives. You can use it on any computer, even a computer in a commercial organization, without registering or paying for it. But if you want - you can make a donation to support the further development of 7-Zip. Some other features are: High compression ratio in new 7z format with LZMA compression, For ZIP and GZIP formats, 7-Zip provides a compression ratio that is 2-10 % better than the ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip Self-extracting capability for 7z format, Windows Shell Integration, Powerful File Manager, and including localization for 74 languages. Latest version for download is 4.65.
8. Skype - Instant Message and VOIP[Voice over Internet Protocol] program
This is a well known, simple-to-use application that allows you to make telephone calls over the Internet. With it you can make calls to other users of the service for free and even they are free the quality of sound is great, while calls to other landlines and (mobile) phones can be made for a fee, either via pre-paid or subscription. Additional features include instant messaging, file transfer, money transfer, video conferencing [you must have web camera for video calls] and many more. You can make group chats of up to 100 people. All unwanted contacts can be deleted. The latest version for download is 4.0 for Windows.
9. OpenOffice.org 3 -Open Source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases.
It is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more; available in many languages and works on any computer. Because of its possibilities and options it is often compared to MS Office. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write without any bigger difficulties MS-Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) files. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.
10. Thunderbird 2 - Email client program
Open source email application more powerful than ever; now it is even easier to organize, secure and customize your mail. Some of the main features are: Advanced Folder Views (different ways to organize and display your folders), Message Tagging (you can “tag” massages with descriptors “To Do” or you can create your own custom tags), Message History Navigation (quick navigation between messages), Automated Update, Outfit your Inbox (using add-ons for better functionality). The latest version of Thunderbird is 188.8.131.52.
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