Software: Get With The Programs

You thought buying a PC was tricky? Try sifting through the mountain of software

So you've plunked down two grand on a nifty new multimedia PC and you're ready to let it change your life, just like the TV commercial says. But after a few days of playing around with the handful of programs that came with your Pentium-powered beast, you discover the dirty little secret of computer buying: The box is only the beginning. Indeed, you may have agonized over the hardware for months, but it's your choice of software that will really determine the utility--or uselessness--of your new PC. Maybe you need more powerful productivity tools to handle work brought home from the office. Or perhaps you crave a silicon tutor to help little Johnnie ace his fractions exam. But even if you only covet a few games to put those snazzy multimedia features to the test, you'll be spending more time than you think ferreting out software. With thousands of programs to choose among--there are more than 2,500 games alone--it's often difficult to know where to start. Here's some help.

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