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Top 20 Software Picks for Windows Vista

written by: Arnold Zafra•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 5/10/2009

Still couldn't decide on what software to install on your Windows Vista-powered machine? Here are our top 20 best software picks for Vista. The list includes both paid and free software.

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    Top Paid Windows Vista Software

    Photoshop Elements - Most of us may be contented with Photoshop already. But Elements has tons of more features to offer over Photoshop. It’s a complete image manipulation software which features all of Photoshop’s capabilities plus more for around $80.99.

    Windows Live OneCare - A complete security package for Windows Vista that protects your PC pretty well. The software does not interfere with your other tasks while it performs its own tasks. OneCare costs $25.99.

    Microsoft OneNote - A good productivity tool that lets you take down notes, creates lists, and share them with your friends and family. ($73.99)

    Nero 9 - One of the most popular of the CD-burning software, Nero 8 lets you burn various types of discs including video, music and photo discs. It supports Blu-ray and HDD DVD and features multimedia streaming as well. ($74.32)

    2007 Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition - What can we say? Who can live without Microsoft Office Suite? Office’s Word, PowerPoint and Excel have become part of our daily lives. I could not imagine a PC without it. Sorry Open Office fans, Open Office is good, but MS Office is still better. ($85)

    Diskeeper 2009 - Not only does this software let you defrag your hard drive but it also tunes up your Windows Vista performance. ($44.99)

    Stardock's Objectdock Plus - Stardock’s Objectdock Plus is a quick-launch application that resides at the bottom of your screen which facilitates easy and fast start up of your PC’s applications. As simple as its function, this software will cost you $19.95.

    SnagIt - If you’re in need of an efficient screen-capture software, then SnagIt could probably be your best choice. It lets you capture screenshots as well as other stuff off-screen. ($62.17)

    TuneUp Utilities 2008 - You can use this utility for defragging your hard drive, cleaning your registry, enhancing your PC’s Internet performance, and recovering data. It’s a worthy software purchase if you want to enhance your PC’s processing speed. This software will set you back $43.

    Dreamweaver CS3 Student - This software is most useful for student website designers. Dreamweaver is a powerful web development tool and this student edition, although not as powerful as the full copy would be, is enough to let you create great looking and clean websites. And since it’s a toned down version of Dreamweaver, it will only cost you around $125.

    RoboForm - One of the best-selling pieces of Windows Vista software, RoboForm automatically fills out forms and password fields instead of you doing it manually. RoboForm will set you back $29.99

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    Top Free Windows Vista Software

    Windows Live Writer - I can personally attest to how great this Windows Live Writer is as a blogging tool. It supports major blogging platforms and lets you directly post to your blog after composing your post on offline. Best part is, it’s free.

    Windows Live Photo Gallery - Another useful tool that comes default with every Windows Vista installation. Windows Live Photo Gallery is an under-rated Windows tool which performs many tasks when it comes to photo viewing and editing as well.

    iPlayer - This software lets you stream BBC video, and download programs on your computer from the last seven days. iPlayer is free software from BBC for use in the UK.

    Windows Live Messenger - Microsoft’s Instant Messaging software is slowly developing into an entertainment portal. It allows you to do video calls, send shared folders, do voice and webcam chat, and watch on-demand TV. Did we mention it’s free?

    Internet Explorer 8 - One of Microsoft’s best free software, it was just updated and offers improved browsing security and faster page loading. IE8 also brings some nifty features including a slew of plug-ins that will help you to be more productive.

    Restoration - Restoration is free software, which lets you restore deleted files from the Recycle Bin even if these files were already formatted or corrupted.

    Adobe Reader - No one can argue the fact that Adobe Reader is the most widely used PDF document reader. It can now not only let you read PDF documents but also manipulate their content. It’s a free download as well.

    Start++ - This free software lets you transform your PC’s Start Menu into productivity apps. It now has a calculator function, a dictionary and Wikipedia viewer, and search engine integration.

    Audacity - Audacity is a great audio editing tools that lets you do many things. This free software lets you create ringtones, edit sound recordings, create podcasts and more.