There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
Here are some of my favorite free programs:
1. Firefox. If you haven't tried this web browser, stop what you're doing and download it now. Far more secure and many more features than Internet Explorer.
2. AVG and AVAST. Both are excellent anti-virus programs. The free versions are meant for home use only.
3. PDF Speedup. If you're like me and open PDF's all day long, you know how long it typically takes for Acrobat Reader to open the file. This program reduces that from 10 seconds to closer to 1 second!
4. Picassa. Got a ton of digital images that you need to organize? This is a great free program, now owned by Google.
5. PowerToys for XP. A super collection of utilities that gives you far more control over Windows XP. Not officially supported by Microsoft, but trust me, they work.