Best Software for Netbooks


Netbooks make fine travel machines for surfing, typing and watching videos, but as most new owners eventually discover, things start to get a little slow when you push too far beyond the basics. After all, 1.6GHz and 1GB of RAM can only take you so far. But you needn’t resign yourself to typing in Notepad and playing Minesweeper whenever you leave the big guns at home in favor of a netbook. We’ve rounded up some of the best lightweight software from across every category that will turn your netbook into a an all-around gaming, multimedia and productivity machine without slowing it to a crawl in the process. And the best part is, almost all of them are free.

Check out our picks for the best netbooks so you can get in on these great software options.


Half-LifeHalf-Life, $10

Revisit the good old days of 1998 with Valve’s classic sci-fi FPS, which runs silky smooth on most netbooks and enjoys one of the most active followings for a game its age. A lengthy list of mods (including Counter Strike) will also help you stretch it past the original headcrab-bashing adventure.

Plants vs. ZombiesPlants vs. Zombies, $20

PopCap’s latest tongue-in-cheek casual game will garner plenty of confused looks if you bust it out on a bus or subway, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Battle hordes of zombies using strategically arranged plants in one of the most ridiculously addicting games we’ve played this year.

Quake LiveQuake Live, Free

ID Software clearly had to squeeze Quake 3 down to its leanest form to get it to run from a browser window, and that happens to make it ideal for netbooks, too. Fire it up on the fly and frag wherever there’s Wi-Fi, just don’t forget a notebook mouse, or you’ll be owned in seconds online.

FreeCivFreeCiv, Free

If you’re having a little trouble keeping up with fast-paced action games using tiny netbook controls, you might feel more at home with a turn-based game, like one of the best ever created: Civilization. This free remake plays exactly like the real thing and weighs a whopping 13MB.


Winamp eyes big comeback in 2019 with podcast, streaming support

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Home Theater

Keep those albums sounding great by converting your vinyl to a digital format

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Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

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Problems with Microsoft’s Windows October 2018 Update aren’t over yet

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Chrome 70 is now available and won’t automatically log you in to the browser

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Corsair’s latest SSD boasts extremely fast speeds at a more affordable price

Despite matching and besting the performance of competing solid-state drives from Samsung and WD, the Corsair Force Series MP510 comes in at a much more affordable price. Corsair boasts extremely fast read and write speeds.

New Windows 10 19H1 preview lets users remove more pre-installed Microsoft apps

With the release of the latest Windows 10 19H1 preview build on October 17, Microsoft is letting some consumers remove more of the pre-installed inbox app bloatware from their machines. 

Apple’s 2020 MacBooks could ditch Intel processors, arrive with ‘ARM Inside’

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Social Media

Tumblr promises it fixed a bug that left user data exposed

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