Windows doesn't have a nice package manager with software repositories all over the world like some other operating systems...
So with the new laptop and Windows 7 it's an all-day/night manual install job to get it up to speed:
Lenovo T400s drivers: http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/MIGR-72858.html
Thunderbird 3.0 http://www.mozillamessaging.com The official 0.9 Lightning release doesn't work with the latest Thunderbird, so I have to use the latest development version. Also remember English (or UK) , Swedish, and Finnish dictionaries.
Adobe Flash player get's installed once you visit youtube or a similar site and click install.
Adobe Reader http://get.adobe.com/reader/
VLC Player http://www.videolan.org
Avira Antivirus http://www.avira.com The University provides F-Secure also, but it can slow even the fastest machine down to a crawl. Looking at the Avira add once per day isn't too bad.
VirtualCloneDrive http://www.slysoft.com/en/virtual-clonedrive.html I used Daemon-Tools on my old machine but now I hear that it comes with spyware and other bad stuff(?)
Google Earth http://earth.google.com/
TrueCrypt http://www.truecrypt.org/ let's keep the 500 Gig USB-harddrive at least a little private...
iTunes www.itunes.com Not so much for the music, I never buy anything, but iTunes University is great!
Garmin Connect http://connect.garmin.com/help/start/ant connects the 405CX GPS-watch for data-transfer.
Then there's a bunch of commercial software my University provides:
Still on the ToDo list: DIVX/XVID codec pack (any suggestions?), eDrawings, an IRC-client (mIRC??).
What's your must-have software? Any essentials I've missed? Comment below!