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Less known, but good free software downloads from Microsoft


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SyncToy 2.1


This handy tool enables you to keep the contents of two folders – one of which can be a shared file over your network – synchronised. Multiple folder pairs can be created, and you can preview any changes to be made before agreeing to them.

TrueSpace 7.61


Imagine this: an incredibly powerful 3D modelling application that's yours for free! TrueSpace enables you to create 3D models, landscapes and photo-realistic objects for all kinds of purposes via a point-and-click interface – you can even use it to design your dream home. Head to the Caligari website for a helpful series of comprehensive tutorials that will familiarise you with this powerful tool.

Microsoft Image Composite Editor



Stitch together several overlapping photos to create a widescreen panorama. It can be saved as a single file or shared through the PhotoSynth website (see opposite).

Microsoft Photosynth


Photosynth goes one step further than Microsoft ICE, enabling you to create a 360° panorama from photos quickly and easily. You'll need to sign up for free access with your Windows Live ID, and your finished results are uploaded to the same site, either for public consumption or private sharing.

Kodu Game



Why get frustrated playing other people's games when you can design your own from scratch? Kodu Game Lab employs a simple point-and-click interface – it's aimed at children, but adults will appreciate the efforts made to make programming more enjoyable. We recommend checking out the video tutorial before you begin.




Get a decent estimate of your Windows 7 PC's power consumption by installing and running this tool – you can immediately gauge how much electricity your desktop or laptop is using by accessing the taskbar application. Alternatively, run the calibration tool to enable Joulemeter to test your set-up and produce a more accurate assessment.

Bing Maps 3D


View the web in 3D to make it easier to find and locate the information you're after. You can navigate with your mouse and keyboard to pan, tilt and move around the landscape, and even create your own 3D objects.



This tiny free tool does one thing, and one thing only: when you open the program, it prevents Windows from going to sleep. If you're about to download a large file or burn a DVD and you don't trust your computer to stay awake during the process, this is really handy. Just launch Insomnia and the problem is automatically solved.

Worldwide Telescope


Enjoy the best imagery from the world's ground- and space-based telescopes, including Hubble. Look out for the Guided Tours tab – a great place to get started.

Microsoft Photo Story 3


It may only create a photo slideshow, but Photo Story 3 does it exceptionally well. Import your photos, then follow the wizard to create your sequence, adding captions, transition effects, minor corrections and a soundtrack. The finished collection can be shared online or burned to DVD using Windows DVD Maker.

Microsoft Expression Encoder 4



Although this tool is targeted at web developers, Expression Encoder 4 has a powerful feature set for video enthusiasts, too. Import clips, edit, de-interlace, crop and add overlay effects, then output the finished result to a WMV file, perfect for sharing over the internet. There's even a handy screen-capture tool built-in, too. You need to install .NET Framework 4.0 to run this program.

Windows SteadyState

Are your kids always breaking the PC? Then you may need Windows SteadyState. With this clever tool you first take a snapshot of a PC the way you'd like it. Then, no matter what any users happen to do – delete something important, install malware, or just poke around in the Control Panel – any changes will be reversed on rebooting, and everything will be back to the way it should be. This app works with XP and Vista.

Download Windows SteadyState

Microsoft Office Web Apps


This must be one of the company's biggest giveaways; you can now have access to the core features of Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for free through your web browser.

Just log on with your Windows Live ID to create new documents or upload existing ones from your computer to your Windows Live SkyDrive account, then edit them in your browser window. Even if you already own a copy of Microsoft Office, this useful freebie enables you to access your documents from any webconnected computer.

Outlook Connector Pack


If you want to get access to Hotmail in Microsoft Outlook 2003 or later, install this add-on, which comes with Windows Live Essentials 2011. Once it's set up, just create a new account in Outlook, choosing the option to manually configure when prompted to access the Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector option.

Free Microsoft Office Templates


Need some inspiration for, or a helping hand with, your next Office document? Just visit the Templates section of the Office website (see the link above), where you'll find a mind-boggling number of useful options.

They're divided up into dozens of categories, which cover all of the major Office applications, and can be accessed through each of the individual Office programs when you create a new document.

Virtual PC 2007<


While Windows 7 Professional users get Windows XP Mode built-in to resolve compatibility issues, those with Windows XP and Windows Vista can get similar functionality with the Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 program.

You need to provide your own legitimate copy of Windows to use it, but once it's set up you'll have access to all your old software again. Note that the add-on throws up a warning about not supporting Home editions of Windows, but it should still work.



Too many open windows? Desktops enables you to organise programs and windows in up to four virtual desktops – switch via the Notification tray icon or by assigning hotkeys; perfect for comparing several open windows without having to resort to the taskbar.

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer


Give your computer, as well as any other networked PCs you use, a once-over for security problems with this free tool. It works by verifying that your system is fully patched with the latest Windows updates, and examines it for specific areas of weakness. For example, it can flag up whether or not adequate protective software has been installed.



RichCopy is designed to speed up large file transfers over the network, mainly by copying multiple files at once to make maximum use of your network's bandwidth. It's aimed largely at power users – click Settings to see a bewildering array of options – but it can also be used simply by choosing your source and destination directories (click Connect to select your network destination), then clicking the Copy button to let it perform its magic.



Start-up programs hit Windows performance twice over – firstly by extending the time it takes to start Windows, and then by hogging valuable system resources, giving your computer less to work with. Autoruns enables you to see what's starting with Windows, identify unknown items and disable or delete anything nonessential to make your computer faster. Windows 7 and Windows Vista users should run the program as an Administrator in order to make changes.

ClearType Tuner Power Toy


This enables you to calibrate your display to make your text sharper, clearer and more legible, which can only help those tired eyes. It's built into Windows 7, while Windows XP users can download a Control Panel applet from the Microsoft Typography website; Windows Vista users should use the online tool to calibrate their displays.

Team Crossword


This game is designed to enable you and a group of friends to tackle puzzles on a daily basis, with the aim of posting the fastest time for completion. It works through your Facebook account, making it easy to share with other people.

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TweakUI is essential !!!

PS: But i don't know if it's Win7 compatible, since i use XP.

PS2: I would not include SysInternals tools, they were made by an external person, now bound to M$.

PS3: And if you include Sysinternals tools, there are many more to talk about (AutoRuns, Process Explorer and ProcMon are my three favorites).

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TweakUI is essential !!!

PS: But i don't know if it's Win7 compatible, since i use XP.

Sadly. There's no TweakUI for Windows 7. Some have tried but no other software seem to have come near it. There are many great tweakers out there, but they don't give what TweakUI used to. But that's my opinion.

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  • 3 months later...

I think Paint.NET should be added here also, prooflink:

Development continues with one developer who now works at Microsoft and worked on previous versions of Paint.NET while he was a student at WSU
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