Essential softwares

Motherboard drivers (to play audios, videos & maintain LAN)

Motherboard drivers are one of the most important softwares for use in XP as well as in other operating systems. This is the reason why I have kept this as the first heading and you should also give this the top priority.

You need motherboard drivers for being able to play music and videos. Without motherboard drivers you would not be able to play music files (mp3, wav, etc.), video files (avi, 3gp, mpg, etc) & you may not be able to access the internet(In most cases, you may be able to access internet without LAN driver also).

In short, drivers are required to use your harwares. Without drivers, you cannot use your hardwares (speaker, display, LAN card, etc.).

Various motherboard drivers are present for windows XP and you may find them on the internet. Different motherboards have different audio, graphics, and LAN drivers.

Microsoft Office (to work with MS Word, PowerPoint, etc.)

Microsoft office is another important software that should be given the second preference after motherboard drivers. Microsoft office is essential because it does all the office work (or you can say a similar kind of work) easily.

Microsoft office basically consists of- Microsoft Word- which is a word processor, Microsoft PowerPoint- a presentation software, Microsoft Excel- a program to work with tables (spreadsheet software) and Microsoft Access (database software)

Note: another services may be also there in Microsoft office but I have only discussed the basic services. You get many other programs (including the three programs I discussed) in the newer version of microsoft office.
Download MS office professional 2010

Nero (to write CDs)

Nero is an important software for writing/burning CDs & DVDs. This software permits you to write data, audio songs, video songs, important document, etc on your CD or DVD.

Without this software, you won't be able to create your songs disk, video disks or any other disk containing any kind of data or digital memories. Every computer that has a disk drive reader must have this software. It is so important that it is generally provided free with a new computer or an optical disk reader.
Download Nero

Adobe reader (to open e-books)

Adobe reader is another important software for any version of windows including Windows XP. This software is used to read internet books, called e- books (books in *.pdf) format (note that * here denotes any filename and pdf denotes the file type or file extension).

This software is also useful for those who even do not download any e- book, because there may be important attachments in e-mail that are in pdf format. You need to install this software even if you are not connected to the internet because many software help books, documentations are in pdf format.

We generally encounter situations where we need this software.

Now let me outline a real situation- I installed Prince of Persia warrior within (one of my favourite games) on my PC. I got stuck in the game. I did not know how to perform different combos in the game that my friends performed very easily. Now I wanted to read the Prince of Persia help documentation.

This is where adobe reader plays an important role. This help documentation was in pdf format. To open this file, I need adobe reader. So, generally many a times you need this software. So it is a must install.
Download adobe reader

Antivirus software (to remove viruses & maintain security)

BitDefender antivirus is an antivirus that protects your computer from all threats. Recently BitDefender is awarded No.1 antivirus by top 10 reviews website. BitDefender is awarded the gold award.

Antivirus software is necessary for your computer as this software protects your computer from the latest threats, viruses, trojans, and even protects you from hackers and other online threats. It ensures all time security for your computer.

Note: According to antivirus reports, today’s latest viruses can block security & antivirus updates. These viruses even have the capability to disable antivirus. So be aware!!!. Do not fall prey to these dangerous viruses, make selection of antivirus on your own & choose the right antivirus for your PC.
Download BitDefender total security 2011

Other popular antiviruses today are-

  • Norton antivirus
  • Panda antivirus
  • Trend micro antivirus
  • Kaspersky antivirus
  • Avira antivir
  • Avast antivirus
  • Windows protector plus
  • Mcafee antivirus
  • ESET NOD32 antivirus
  • Quick heal antivirus
  • PC Tools antivirus

Winamp media player (to play mp3 music)

Winamp media player is a very important software for your windows. Winamp is a very well known software to play audio files. It is the most popular software to play your mp3s. So, it's a must install.
Download Winamp media player

VLC media player (To play videos)

VLC media player is another important media player. Accoirding to me, it is one of the best media players. VLC media player can play audio as well as videos files. So, you can enjoy music and videos on the same platform.

VLC media player can play many video formats (allmost all according to me, except vob). VLC media player is specially designed to play *.avi format videos. And best part is that it is free!
Download VLC media player

Cyberlink PowerDVD (to play DVD videos)

As the name itself suggests, Cyberlink PowerDVD plays DVD videos. This software plays your DVD movies painlessly because it is specially designed to play *.vob format videos (*.vob is generally used in DVD movies).

In fact this software is the Best DVD playing software. So you need this software if want to enjoy DVD videos.
Download Cyberlink PowerDVD

DirectX (to play games & running multimedia rich applications)

DirectX is a necessary software for your windows XP. DirectX is required by many games. DirectX supports many games such as-
Halo, Prince of Persia, etc. Without DirectX you cannot play these popular games because these games contain multimedia elements which require DirectX.

You are able to play many popular games because they already have the DirectX software which comes with the game CD, so that you do not encounter any problem while installing the game. If DirectX does not come with the game CD, then you need to install it yourself in order to play these games.
Download Direct X

WinZip (to open .zip files)

WinZip is a compression software that is used to compress your data(in .zip format). It is the most popular compression software.

If you are a regular internet or even a light internet user, then u must be knowing about this software. When you download an important file or software, which is in *.zip format, then you need this software to open and extract that zip file.

Basically WinZip is a compression software which is also widely used over the internet to supply more than one file or a folder in a single zipped file. WinZip is used to open zip files, so if you are an internet user, you need this software to manage and workj with these zip files.
Download WinZip 15.5

WinRar (to compress, handle & maintain .zip or .rar files

WinRar is another important compression software for windowsXP. Apart from WinZip, this is the second most popular compression software. WinRar is used to compress a large amount of data into one small .rar file. WinRar can work with both *.rar & *.zip formats but, basically WinRar is used for working with rar file format.

Though, you can work with zip files using WinRar, still, I'll reccomend you to use WiZip to handle *.zip files because for handling zip files, WinZip is a better option, because WinZip is specialized to work with *.zip files. WinRar has another good capability over WinZip-
WinRar delivers a better compression ratio than WinZip & can compress a huge amount of data into smaller file.

WinZip- Linkin park- from the inside.mp3 4.50 MB to 5 KB

WinRar- Linkin park- from the inside.mp3 4.50 MB to 1 KB

The results clearly shpow that winRar has better compression capabilities than WinZip.
Download WinRar

Flash player (to play .swf files & view flash websites)

Flash player is another important software if you are a internet user. Many a times you may see a pop-up stating- "This site requires active X controls click here to install this" and when you select install you see flash player plugin listed there.

Actually sometimes some or the full content of the site has *.swf format for which, you may need to install flash. These sites are called flash sites. In order to open or view a flash site, you need flash player.

Flash player can also play any other swf file present on your computer. For example, you can play flash games if you have flash player installed.
Download flash player
Download flash player active x

Microsoft .net framework (supports various softwares)

Microsoft .net is a supporting software for other sotwares. Many softwares cannot run without Microsoft .net.

Some softwares need Microsoft .net framework 2.0 or higher to be pre installed before they can be installed.

In my case, I had to install Microsoft .net 3.0 to use the software- KGB archiever 2.0 beta version.
Download Microsoft .net framework 4

Microsoft windows installer 3.1 (supports many software setups)

Microsoft windows installer 3.1 is the latest windows installer for Windows XP. This software is required to run setup of many softwares.

Windows installer 3.1 lets you to install many of your favourite softwares. BitDefender antivirus also requires windows installer 3.1 so if you have already installed then you would be able to run BitDefender setup otherwise if you do not have windows installer installed in your system, BitDefender will first install windows installer 3.1 then it will continue the setup because BitDefender cannot run without windows installer.
Download windows installer 4.5
Download windows installer 3.1

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