New PC survival kit: Essential free apps for day 1

As someone who moves into a new laptop a couple of times per week on average, I'd like to think I know a thing or two about getting a PC optimally set up.

Dan Ackerman

As someone who moves into a new laptop a couple of times per week on average, I'd like to think I know a thing or two about getting a PC optimally set up. For more than a year now, I've carried a USB key on my keychain (most recently the excellent LaCie Iamakey), containing a folder of install files for apps I know I'm going to want to have on whatever laptop I'm reviewing at the moment.

While you're probably setting up only one new desktop or laptop this holiday season (or maybe more if you're the unofficial family IT guy), it makes sense to have a checklist of apps, especially free ones, that should be installed on any new PC.

Check out the slideshow below to see my personal list of apps I keep on my USB key, or give us your suggestions in the comments section below.

> Need more? Follow me at twitter.com/danackerman.
> See our Holiday laptop picks in the CNET Holiday Tech Guide.
> Everything you need to know about buying a laptop .

 

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