20070520 firefox logo Essential Internet/Communication Free Windows Downloads Firefox – All debates about , memory use, or compatibility amongst the web browsers aside, Firefox can adapt to nearly anyone’s browsing habits through a range of adaptations. Whether that’s an extension/add-on, a Greasemonkey script, or some deep-down about:config tweaks, Firefox can probably be what you want it to be. Put down the Internet Explorer and slowly back away into a better web life.

pidgin2 Essential Internet/Communication Free Windows Downloads Pidgin – Do you ever use AOL/AIM, Talk, MSN, , ICQ, Jabber, or even old-school IRC to chat online? Pidgin has you covered, and it’s got plenty of recommendable plug-ins. It can tab your chats in a single window, update you on new emails, and work inside most any smiley system out there (which has, oddly enough, become a notable issue). And while the up-and-coming IM app and-then-some Digsby has garnered a lot of users, its large footprint and questionable installation choices (it’s got a really unfriendly installer that tries installing a lot of adware) keep us firmly in the Pidgin camp for now.

20090223 postbox icon 256 Essential Internet/Communication Free Windows Downloads Postbox – If you’re not using your email’s web interface, use this. It’s basically Thunderbird, the open-source email client, but remixed with stronger, almost -like powers. It finds and indexes all the attachments in your email account, groups together conversations with similar subject chains with the “Gather” command (like ’s conversations), offers tabbed inbox and message views, and lets you organize emails under your own chosen “Topics.” It’s also got built-in easy setup steps for and other webmail systems—in other words, everything we’re waiting to see Thunderbird implement.