mplayer is better than VLC and plays more file formats too
I use Turbo pad as a text editor.
cute PDF to generate PDF documents, (just print the document to a PDF file, -like adobe pdf printer but free
I use gadwin print screen (I have the hot key to ctrl-print screen, so I can still press print screen to get the whole desktop alt-print screen to get the active window, and alt print screen and I select a box, like the sniping tool that now comes with windows, but better as you don't have to load it, it always runs in the background.
turbo pad as a text editor