I am going into Grade 9 next year, and it is also the first year I am taking my netbook with me.
I made this so I can show you what software does what it needs to, and still loads quickly on my netbook. (Intel Atom 1.66GHz... kind of slow)
Step 1: Word Processing
Most Windows laptops come with a 60-Day Trial of Microsoft Office... 60-Day LIMITED Trial. And after that Trial is done... well most people don't want to pay for it, you have three options, Be a Pirate (not recommended), use WordPad, or download OpenOffice.org
I would suggest OpenOffice as you get Writer (Word Processing), Draw (Drawing), Base (Database Software), Calc (Spreadsheets) and Impress (Slideshows).
You can download OpenOffice from here (openoffice.org )
Step 2: Web Browsing
Internet Explorer that comes with All PCs.... well it works, but it is not as fast or as customizable as some others. Two I have tried on my netbook that run very fast are Opera 11.50 and Google Chrome.
Download Google Chrome here (google.com/chrome )
Download Opera here (opera.com )
And as you can see in the first photo, Google Chrome can be 'skinned' to fit your desktop or personality (chrome.google.com/webstore?category=theme )
Step 3: Email Client
Most people have web-based emails now, such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Rogers Yahoo!. But if you have many email addresses or simply want to check your email from your desktop you can use an application such as Mozilla Thunderbird. Thunderbird supports IMAP and POP3 email providers (most email providers) and can be used to check RSS feeds aswell.
Download Mozilla Thunderbird here (mozilla.org/thunderbird )
Step 4: Personalization
If you have Windows 7 Starter you know all about the limitations of it, and customizing it. Luckly, its winreview.ru and their Personalization Panel to the rescue. With Personalization Panel you can change the boring Windows default wallpaper, to your own. (It says you can change the theme in windows 7 starter... that feature does not work for me)
Download Personalization Panel here (winreview.ru/download.php?view.69 )
Some people would want to change the login screen on their systems, now you can! Tweaks.com Logon Changer does it for you, just select a jpg, bmp, png etc. and youre done!
Download Tweaks.com Logon Changer here (tweaks.com/software/tweakslogon )
Step 5: More Coming :)
I will add more software and tweaks as I test them, until then, bye :)