10 Free Microsoft Apps That Don’t Suck

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Microsoft as a company is not usually associated with cool and free products. In that sense, Google is way ahead, it has Gmail, Google Reader, Calendar, Google Docs and dozens of other useful services. Nonetheless, there are a bunch of FREE Microsoft tools that are definitely worth a look. While some of them are yet to be released, others have been around for a a while.

(1) HealthVault
HealthVault Store Medical History Online Service that many US families should find really useful. In simple terms, HealthVault is an online safebox for all your medical records. It’s not just a storage place to keep medical history but also to share records with doctors, place to where medical documents can be faxed and auto-archived, and lots more.

(2) Windows Live (Office Suite)
Windows Office Live Logo Long-awaited online office offering from Microsoft. I know, there are plenty of other online office suites, but many of us are still hesitant when it comes to compatibility issues. What if the document won’t open? What if text styling gets messy? … Well, who if not Microsoft can guarantee 100% compatibility with Microsoft Office. Although the service is yet to go public, you can opt-in now and get notified as soon as it’s launched. (Update: Some people have suggested that it’s going to more like a document storage and sharing service rather than online office suite)

(3) TellMe
Free Directory Assisstance (US) Tellme is a free alternative to costly 411 directory service. Lets you quickly obtain contact details and directions to local businesses (repair shops, pizzerias, restaurants, etc.). You can access it via toll free number, text messaging, or TellMe mobile client. Check out TellMe video demo here.

(4) Windows Live (Safety Scanner)
Windows Onecare Scanner Online Windows health check-up and maintenance center. Includes virus scan and removal, hard drive space recovery and performance tools. The only drawback, it doesn’t work with Firefox and thus you need IE to access it.

(5) [NO LONGER WORKS] Tafiti
Online Research Application Looking for a comprehensive research tool? Check out Tafiti. It’s a single application that integrates multiple search engines, visual search, webpage sharing, and a handful of other features for online research. Tafiti will work on any browser but you do need to have Microsoft Silverlight (free).

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(6) Win XP Powertoys – PowerToys is a set of tiny all-purpose apps that add to your Windows experience. Currently, the package counts 15 different programs, including ‘Alt+Tab’ replacement, all-in-one unit converter, right click image resizer, and virtual desktop manager.

(7) [NO LONGER WORKS] FolderShare – Simple and memory-friendly program with a bunch of cool features. FolderShare lets you access your PC remotely, share files with others, and synchronize files across multiple computers and mobile devices. It’s a pretty useful app to have on your arsenal.

(8) Sysinternals Suite – Over 60 troubleshooting utilities bundled in one suite. Most of the bundled apps are rather techy and may require technical skills. Although some of the apps are 100% automated. For instance, PageDefrag (excellent paging-file defragmenter) is one of such apps.

(9) ConferenceXP – Live screen sharing and collaboration application for groups. Highlights include local screen streaming, browser screen sharing, and live collaboration sketchboard.

(10) Windows Live Pack – Brings Windows Live services to your desktop. Cool part about it, you have an option to choose which services to get. Package includes, Family Safety suite, web photo gallery, online storage service, Windows Live Writer blogging tool, and some more.

Got another Microsoft goodie ? Let us know in comments!

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