Here are some free (PC) software that you can download either to your laptop or to a memory stick. The total memory required is 2.3Gigs. If this is too much, here is a list of the programs and links to the download pages so that you can download just the software you would like to use: MITS Freedom Stick Full – Contents.
Do you have to have these? No. However, (for example), if you don’t have Microsoft Word or Microsoft Office, then Open Office will provide all the tools you need, and if you want to do some audio recording, then Audacity® gives you much more editing freedom than what usually comes on a PC… and both of these programs are available for free!