Faster, easier to use, and more powerful than the previous version, Dreamweaver 8 is a worthy upgrade for professionals, but amateurs should stick with a less complicated app, such as HomeSite.
While there are a handful of new capabilities in the update to Adobe's entry-level image editor, the most noticeable is a more readable interface intended for middle-aged eyes.
If you're a professional or ambitious amateur digital artist, we highly recommend Adobe Photoshop CS2.
With VirusScan 2006, McAfee greatly enhances user protection against spyware and adware threats but slows your system down in the process.
McAfee VirusScan Professional 7.0 is a top-notch virus slayer for first-time users, but unless you use Outlook Express or Eudora, VirusScan Professional 6.0 users won't need to upgrade.
Norton CleanSweep 2002 is our top pick in the uninstaller category. Its powerful set of cleanup tools, simple interface, and quality support are the best around.
Audition is a powerful end-to-end environment most suited for audio pros, but it's also handy for quick mixing or restoration of specific clips.
McAfee Total Protection 2010 hits many of the right notes. It's easy to use and it's effective, but years of below-average releases will likely leave many users unwilling to give it a try.
Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5
Premiere 6.0 is easily the best, all-around midrange editing program for Windows. For complex Mac projects, however, choose Apple Final Cut Pro 2.0 instead.
McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006 packs a powerful protection arsenal--but it's far too slow. Loyal McAfee users should upgrade for the automatic spyware and phishing blockers, but the rest of us should seek security elsewhere, such as ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 6.
This update should be worthwhile for security-minded businesses and creative firms. With Acrobat 9, Adobe brings new Web relevance to print-ready PDFs by enabling embedded video and animation. Forms, security, and overall ease of use are also enhanced.
Flash becomes friendlier and more fun to explore as CS4 introduces a faster approach to animation, making this a worthwhile upgrade for both beginners and seasoned programmers.
Nero 8 shows off a new interface for getting started that makes the many tools easier to find from the get-go. Some welcome new features include HD support, although this rich suite can still confuse.
Ulead's MovieFactory 3.0 Disc Creator joins the ranks of solid, multipurpose disc-burning programs, but Nero 6.0 remains our Editors' Choice.
This is a great tool for experimentalists who want to tweak under the hood for more power and better performance.
Norton AntiVirus 2006 improves its detection and removal of spyware and adware but lags behind the more proactive McAfee VirusScan 2006.
If you're an advanced photographer and don't have Photoshop yet or if you need natural paint tools, version 7.0 is a must-have; otherwise, version 6.0 will do the trick.