The first thing to decide when loading your new mini laptop with software is, do you go Windows or Linux for your Operating System? If you choose Linux, your system will be much less bogged down, but there is a bit of a learning curve when running a Linux desktop, as not all software is compatible, and when something goes wrong, there are not as many Linux specialists as there are Windows gurus. To make your choosing a little more palatable, there are certain companies, such as Asus, who offer free Windows 7 upgrades.
Once you choose your Operating System, you can start playing with new software. Check out Virtual CD. Many mini laptops do not come with CD or DVD drives to cut down on both price and weight. Virtual CD is a CD / DVD emulator. It allows you to "burn" CDs and DVDs as ISO images, which can then be viewed as virtual CDs or DVDs.
If you are into maximizing your mini's performance, look for Laptop Utilities – Power Suite. This software lets you optimize your wireless speed, create an encrypted partition on your hard disk which adds that extra layer of protection for your data, offers a powerful file manager, and an accurate battery meter down to the second. All these and more for only $ 17.50 on Amazon!
For those gamers out there, make sure before buying your mini laptop that you spec your mini for more than your games require, especially the memory and hard drive space. Mini's will run most games neatly, but you need to have enough of both memory and disk space to do it, and also a really good video card if it is upgradeable.
For the students and execs who rely on Microsoft Office Suite, try Open Office. It is a bit of a memory hog, but it is absolutely free, and offers all the features that MS Office does, and is compatible with MS Office documents.
Google Chrome is the web browser of choice for your mini. This browser is extremely lightweight, and extremely responsive. The tabs act independently, so if a page locks up one tab, it does not take down your entire web browser, which is one of the best features in my opinion. Also you can actually move tabs around with a neat drag-and-drop feature. You can even drag a tab out and create a new page with it. Brilliant!
Last but certainly not least, look for VLC Media Player. This is a great FREE application for playing your audio and video content. This will run on both Windows and Linux environments, and comes highly recommended.