My netbook is supposed to be optimized for work, and I've also made sure that all my software is legal.
I installed Windows 7 Professional-- it took me around 30 minutes to get the operating system in. I tried to use the anytime upgrade feature on the previously installed trial version of Windows 7 Home Basic. I downloaded a legal product key from Microsoft and hoped that there was a method of upgrading to Windows 7 Pro without having to reinstall everything. Sadly, that didn't work out, so I had to reinstall Windows 7 from scratch.
After the installation of Windows 7, I then downloaded the drivers from the MSI website. I figured that MSI should be able to provide the appropriate drivers to go with Windows 7. It took me about an hour to download all that and install.
I also downloaded Open Office for my word processing. Since I wanted everything to be legal, MS Office was no good. I knew that some documents created with Open Office would not open properly on MS Office, but I thought I could live with that.
Among the issues I encountered with Open Office while I had the trial version of Win 7 installed was that it did not properly display slideshows. I thought it was an Open Office problem, so I left it alone and thought updates of Open Office would fix it. I was wrong there; it turned out that after installing the MSI provided drivers ( with a VGA driver included), the problem disappeared.
As for the antivirus, I at first downloaded Forefront because it was among the software Microsoft provides for the faculty, but it was too complicated because the setup was supposed to be done by a system administrator within a local network. For a single computer, that was overkill.
I couldn't install another antivirus because there were known issues-- the version I had was incompatible with Windows 7. Instead, I performed a search and looked for an antivirus from Microsoft, that, hopefully, I could install. I found Microsoft Security Essentials (http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/ ), a free downloadable antivirus. I searched for some online reviews, and they were positive. The only issue was if the computer used had an unlicensed version of Windows. Since my copy was licensed I didn't expect that to be a problem.
The initial installation is small; only a few MB. But after the installation, you had to update the virus definitions, and that took an hour of downloading. Add an extra 15 minutes for the quick scan and configuration.
My estimate of the time it took was almost two days, because I had to think about the kind of software I needed, as well as reading or skimming the documentation. I think I understand now why people would rather have someone else do the work because it does take time if you do it on your own. Still, there was some satisfaction from knowing that I didn't need to pay some computer tech to do it for me.