Glenn's Free Internet Utilities

Mozilla Firefox browser and Thunderbird email

Avoid all of the viruses that exploit bugs in MS IE and MS OE

There are a variety of AddOns for Firefox and Thunderbird to extend their function if you need something not provided in the default packages.
Mozilla home page
Skype (telephony, instant messaging, file transfer)

Needs headset (or microphone and speakers) to use telephony functions. Call other Skype users worldwide free. Works over dialup internet connections (some delay, not as bad as satellite). Works even better over broadband. IM and file transfer work fine

With SkypeOut account containing prepaid minutes, can call any POTS telephone number. You can get a SkypeIn account with your own Skype telephone number, so POTS people can call you. Numbers are not available in all areas, though availability has been improving.

A subscription can provide unlimited calls to US and Canadian numbers for a few dollars a month.

Chat history, if turned on, can be exported to HTML format by typing
into the chat window text entry area. The other person doesn't see the command, nor do they need to be on-line at the time you do this.

The one deficiency of Skype is that a friend can only send you a file if you are there to receive it. This limits the usefulness of that feature, although once you approve the file transfer, Skype will diligently work on transferring it securely and reliably (even if the connection is interrupted, it will retry until it succeeds, when both computers are online, as long as you don't explicitly exit Skype (rebooting or crashing are recovered from)).

direct download
Trillian IM (instant messaging) software
(one client for all the following IM systems: AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, and IRC)

I suggest using AIM primarily, with MSN and/or Yahoo as backups for when AIM is down for maintenance.

Sadly, Windows 7 crashes a lot, and the version of Trillian available when I started using Windows 7 was not robust enough to handle the crashes. Since most of my friends moved to Skype, I've sort of abandonded Trillian. Maybe they've made it more immune to Windows crashes now, but I may never invest the time to find out. With its noise-making emoticons, Trillian was quite fun to use.
Main Download Trillian! web site

Software download page: the free version is Trillian Basic is a Perl script to do recursive FTP updates.

Use the -h option to get a description of its parameters. This can be extremely useful in updating only the modified files to a web site, for example. Or it can be used to clone a web site locally, if you have FTP access to the site. Naturally it is also useful for maintaining FTP sites as well as web sites, and for maintaining any type of remote data that can be accessed via the FTP protocol.
FileZilla: a window oriented FTP client

A good enough, and free FTP client, for transferring data to/from FTP servers.
Of course, the command line FTP client, ftp, is already installed with Windows, so for one file, this isn't worth the install. But if you use FTP regularly, it is.

If you want to run your own FTP server, you can also consider FileZilla Server, available at the same web site.
Main FileZilla web site

Choose the "FileZilla" package from the "Latest File Releases" section of this page; then choose the "setup.exe" version of the highlighted files on the next page.
VNC Remote Control Software

VNC allows remote access to your machine for technical support from friendly computer gurus.
free VNC web site

Pricelessware is another list of free software, if you are looking for some goodies not listed here.