Everyone Should Use Ninite.com
If you've never heard of ninite.com, you should head over right away and check it out.
Simply put, it's a 1-click solution to installing most commonly used free software, and keeping it up to date. From the site, you select which applications to download, and you are given a custom installer (for free).
When you run the installer, it will download and install all of the software for you, skipping tedious screens asking you where to install, and automatically declining any offers of extra toolbars or other adware.
The best part is when you run the installer again later on, it will automatically download updates to those same programs.
It's an excellent system for new PCs, or if you are helping a non-technical person maintain their software. They also have a professional (pay) version for maintaining software updates across many computers.
I love it most, if for nothing else, for automatically installing Java for me. I hate having to use Java's installer with its million questions. And it seems like there's a new version every week.
Other tools I get: OpenOffice, Notepad++, Paint.NET, GIMP, 7-Zip, Putty, Foxit Reader, just to name a few.
Check it out!