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Windows Live OneCare

Windows Live OneCare doesn't provide as many unique features and often repackages tools already available for free within the Windows operating system. For $30 more, it's well worth investing in the solutions from McAfee or Symantec, and we give the final nod to Norton 360 which ensures the best protection and performance tools for your money.

Norton 360

For home and student use, we think Norton 360 represents the best value for ease of use, tools offered, and overall system performance. We recommend it over McAfee Total Protection and Microsoft Windows Live OneCare.

H&R Block TaxCut Premium 2006

For do-it-yourself tax preparers, H&R Block TaxCut Premium 2006 is a solid buy. TaxCut is a breeze to learn and notably less expensive than archrival TurboTax Premier.

Editors' Choice
$299.00 MSRP

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 PC/Mac

For downloading, retouching, and exporting raw-format photos, Adobe Lightroom is the cat's pajamas.

Roxio Toast Titanium 8 for Mac

Roxio continues to improve a strong suite and keep Toast current with the release of version 8. If the Mac OS and Apple's bundled apps don't meet your disc-creation needs, pick up Toast at once.

Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

If you work with Microsoft Outlook on a daily basis, this upgrade can make scheduling simpler and e-mailing more interesting. Still, we wish Instant Search and e-mail rendering were better.

Microsoft Word 2007

If you're ready to let go of old habits from previous versions of Word and want to make sleeker-looking documents, Microsoft Word 2007 is worth the upgrade. However, less-expensive alternatives handle its core features without the clutter.

Microsoft Office 2007

Overall, Microsoft Office Standard 2007 is a worthy upgrade if you need to make sleeker-looking documents and presentations to share with others, and Outlook is better than ever, but you can stick to your current software if you don't feel that it lacks anything.

Norton Security 2007

Norton Internet Security 2007 makes significant gains over last year, including cutting-edge rootkit and behavioral monitoring features found nowhere else, but the overall package could be serious overkill for the average desktop owner.

Skype 3

The changes to Skype 3 are mostly entertainment-oriented and there are no major upgrades to performance, but we still like Skype for its ease of use, low cost, and sound quality.

Zune Marketplace

The intuitive and aesthetically pleasing Zune Marketplace works well as an audio jukebox and Zune companion, but it's missing some key ingredients that would make it a one-stop shop.

Acrobat 8

For composing long PDF packages at an office that requires security and wants to use the new digital forms, Acrobat's got the goods, but it's overkill if you only seek to make short PDF files.

Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Google Docs & Spreadsheets beta gracefully merges word processing, spreadsheets and basic presentations within an online service that lets you collaborate with other users.

Vmoblogger

While Vmoblogger may seem like a pretty good service for audio blogging, we've encountered better options elsewhere.

Microsoft Streets & Trips 2007

Microsoft Streets & Trips 2007 is a fine mapping program for charting family vacations and business road trips, but it's not easy to use while driving.

Google Home 2006

Google Home is a breezy service that lets you create a custom sign-in page chock-full of news and widgets.

Netvibes

If you want to fill a personal home page with dozens of individualized newsfeeds and tools, Netvibes does a cleaner job than rival services from bigger brand names.

Editors' Choice
$49.95 MSRP

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 is light and fast and consistently wins detection awards against the competition; it's worthy of our Editors' Choice designation.

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