Top apps: Messaging, Torrents
If you're anything like me you probably have too many handles across the board to be relying on applications that use a single designated protocol. Instead, you're probably more interested in the single client, multi-protocol route. The following programs are available for Windows and offer support for a vast majority of the mainstream chat protocols: Pidgin, Miranda IM, Trillian and Digsby, and for free VoIP and video conferencing you’ll want to give Skype a look.
If you’ve never used any of the above, we’d suggest downloading Pidgin first as Miranda is too bare (though a fine choice if that’s your bag), Trillian’s production has kind of gone stale over the years (be on the look-out for Trillian Astra) and Digsby seems to be a newer popular choice, which may be worth a look if you want social networking integration as well.
Formerly known as Gaim, there are few applications that can compare to the number of supported protocols Pidgin officially supports: Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Lotus Sametime, MySpaceIM, MSN, Novell GroupWise, AIM, ICQ, .Mac, QQ, SIMPLE, SILC, Jabber, Google Talk, Yahoo! IM and Zephyr, and is compatible with Windows, Linux, BSD, OS X and AmigaOS. It is one thing to provide such versatility, but Pidgin does it and does it well, so do yourself a favor and give it a shot.
From web browsers to P2P clients, the apparent liveliness of torrent use is displayed with the number of programs that have recently integrated torrent support (Opera's is built-in, Firefox only needs an add-on, Limewire supports torrents etc.). Despite the number of dedicated clients on the scene, we do indeed have a preference, uTorrent.
Between its virtually non-existent footprint and the ability to cater to both novice and advanced users, uTorrent is probably a fitting torrent client for almost anyone.