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What software should I buy when I get a new PC? - essential & useful computer software list to kit out your new machine

Updated on September 26, 2012

It's a great feeling when you switch on a shiny new PC or laptop for the first time.  And even after you've loaded on all your files and photos from your old hard drive, there's still always that feeling of something being missing.

So here's a few useful pieces of software and ideas about kitting out your new computer to get you started.

Remember to keep it pretty simple at first, you can always add more later on as you find you need more options or programs to work with, but getting the basics to kick start your new machine is important so there's no gap in productivity whilst you're switching to the new machine if you use the PC for work or school.  It's also just a good idea to have all the fundamental programs that you require on hand so there's no time wasting when you take the new setup out of the box and start to set it all up.

Great deals on Microsoft Office

Word processing / presentation building and spreadsheets

Everybody loves Microsoft Office. (well, almost everybody!) A great deal of Apple Mac users still rely heavily on Office (and particularly Microsoft Word) for their day-to-day word processing and work and school productivity.

It's pretty much a necessity on every computer or laptop. It really can't be matched for ease of use and variety of tools. Plus, the new version gives you the option of so many more templates and formats. To my mind, it really is the best all-round productivity suite. PowerPoint is pretty much required in the majority of schools and universities as students really do need to have the program on their own laptop or desktop because there's not always time to complete their Powerpoint presentations using the school computers. And of course Word is the standard required when it comes to producing professional looking documents and projects for classes. For some subjects Excel may be required, but it's mostly required for those who run their own small business or use it regularly in their finance/business tasks at work.

But that's the great thing about the MS Office suite, everything is included and when you break it down, the price is not too bad. It's really great value for money when you think about the years of use you get out of it, especially with the free upgrades to the next version etc. You won't really need to purchase anything else for all your work and study needs again, which makes it great value in the long run.

More and more computers these days are not coming with Office pre-loaded, which is a shame because I see it as a fundamental program for any machine, but there are some pretty good deals if your new computer or laptop doesn't come with a free copy of it already loaded on the computer. Amazon sells Microsoft Office software for a bit cheaper than if you purchase it directly from Microsoft, which is a great deal because it is rather an expensive piece of software, especially if you need to purchase the business version or more than one copy.

Microsoft Publisher

For those needing professional publishing software, Microsoft Publisher is the way to go. It comes with more templates and layout options than you'll ever need to communicate your message in any way you desire.

Whether it's producing top quality brochures or professional looking published layouts or just the monthly newsletter, Publisher has all the tools to get the job done quickly.

This new version makes it even easier formatting-wise as it has been updated with improved alignment technology and I really like the new image & text-box editing guides.

Norton anti virus and internet security software

One could argue that anti-virus software or net security is even more important than a good word processing suite, and I would tend to agree with them. I've had one computer crash on me in the past and that was back when I didn't have any form of anti virus on my computer.

You just don't want to risk it, particularly as we're storing more and more family photos and important documents on our hard drives these days.

And perhaps even more importantly because hackers and virus makers have the technology and more know-how than ever nowadays and often you don't even know that your computer has been 'hacked' into. Which I think is even worse than having your hard-drive crash...they can be logging your key-strokes and discovering everything about your computer & internet use without you even suspecting a thing because it can all be done without 'upsetting' any of your files etc. It may only become obvious later down the line when your computer may start to run slower or perform poorly as the hacker can be eating up your bandwidth or CPU and temporary memory resources.

It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting everything that is stored on your computer.

Norton is probably still the most popular anti virus on the market, but there are other options if you're on a budget and Amazon has a wide range of anti virus and internet security software packages at cheaper prices than if you bought from the companies themselves. The great thing about these pieces of software is that they often have multiple licenses or registration codes which is extremely handy if you own both a desktop and a notebook/laptop or you have a computer back at your parents house or college room etc.

For the graphically inclined

If you're a graphics lover, there's endless options out there and it's always fun trying out new programs. My personal favorites are Paint Shop Pro (PSP) and Photoshop (the industry standard and the best software available on the market)

But if you're just looking for something simple to edit your family snaps or vacation photos, there's some excellent basic photo editing software out there like PhotoPlus and PS Elements.

You really can't do without an image editing program if you want to get that professional look with your pictures. Personally I find Paint Shop Pro (PSP) the easiest to get the hang of for beginners, just because all the tools are easy to find and there aren't quite as many functions as with the full PhotoShop suite. But it's up to you, it all depends on what you intend to get out of your image editing and how professional you want the end results to look.

There are some fantastic and easy to follow tutorials online for both PSP and Photoshop as well as YouTube videos explaining exactly how to get the most out of the programs when you're first starting out on your image editing or manipulation quest...just search 'PSP tutorials' or 'Photoshop tutorials' and there's literally thousands of helpful guides out there to get you started and more advanced editing tips for once you move up to the more complicated coloring and manipulating processes etc.

The best selling video editing software

Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11 Production Suite [Old Version]
Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11 Production Suite [Old Version]
Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11 Production Suite

Fabulous video editing software

If you've grown tired of the basic Windows Movie Maker (WMM) or iMovie if you have a Mac and you want to step up to something with a bit more grunt to it, here's some of the top selling movie/video editing software out there that will take your home made videos to the next level.

Whether you're shooting footage for YouTube or just to archive and share with the family, the great thing about the more professional editing programs is their wider range of effects and editing tools. There's just an endless supply of titles, graphic choices, sound effects, special effects, coloring options and so much more with all the updated versions of these editing suites. You'll never run out of ideas. It's time to get creative and add some flair to that old family footage you've got lying around on tapes and hard-drives!

You can get amazing deals on all the top rated video editing software on Amazon. There's a list of all the bestselling packages over to the right.

Just for fun...

What type of computer do you have?

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