FREE software... even FREE music?! It may not be quite as polished or full-featured as commercial products, but if your budget is tight, you can find a lot for free that is totally legal. However, beware the hidden cost -- poor or non-existent documentation, and sometimes limited features, may make free software not seem like such a good deal. However, if you're willing to spend a bit of extra time or live within some limitations, it may be hard to argue with free.
Disclaimer: virtually all software mentioned here is not mine, so refer to the owners' websites for more information. Also, I am not promising that the software is problem-free or even that it suits a particular purpose. So, don't blame me if something installs a ton of spyware or occasionally crashes your machine.
In many cases, I use commercial software over many of the below packages, but even so, sometimes you can find an obscure feature that a free program will do that your commercial software will not. That, and since not everyone needs all of the features in some of the commercial packages, there are good reasons to check out free software.
|http://www.grisoft.com/||Virus Checker (only the US version is free)|
|http://www.gimp.org/windows/||Photo editor, similar to Photoshop (don't forget to also download and install GTK+ too)|
|http://www.optikvervelabs.com/||Plug-ins for Photoshop. Simulate various film techniques.|
|http://picasa.google.com/||The best photo organizer. (Also, performs minor edits.)|
|http://www.autostitch.net/||Experimental panoramic software (free demo, for now)|
|http://www.richardrosenman.com/software/downloads/||(Mostly) free plug-ins for Photoshop (plus recommended free substitutes for Photoshop).|
|Various utilities, including TreeFree, which shows how much space is taken up by the files on your hard drive.|
|And you thought Google Maps was neat....|