10 Free Microsoft Apps That Don’t Suck

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   10 Free Microsoft Apps That Dont Suck 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   10 Free Microsoft Apps That Dont Suck 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
tellme microsoft   10 Free Microsoft Apps That Dont Suck 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)
onecare scanner   10 Free Microsoft Apps That Dont Suck 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
tafiti research   10 Free Microsoft Apps That Dont Suck 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).

Software

(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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11 Comments -

Charlie Arehart

Folks, I love MakeUseOf and read it almost daily. That said, I think the mention of Office Live seems incorrect. You describe it as an online version of Office, but all that I read on the site you link us to (including its FAQ and examples) suggests that this is merely a file sharing system for those who already use MS OFfice, not an online version of the tools themselves. What do you think?

Aibek

I agree it does look like a document sharing solution. Although, some of the mentioned features suggest that it’s a full office suite.

ex. Document Viewing and Editing: “… control who can view, comment, and edit your documents “

If it’s a mere file storage solution than option to allow someone to view and edit your documents wouldn’t be the there. ;-)

Charlie Arehart

Aibek, I think that’s referring to the fact that elsewhere it describes how one needs to use Office tools (the implication being installed locally) to access these files, so I read what you highlight as merely explaining that the shared access is controllable–not that it’s web-based interface to editing the documents.

Either no one else has tried it yet or they’re just not saying. I simply want to caution anyone who’s inferring that this is a web-based office suite. It doesn’t seem to be, to me.

Aibek

I agree you can’t be really sure unless you have tried it. I checked out Office Live coverage at TechCrunch but it got me confused even further. At one point it says “This is not an online version of Microsoft Office”, but towards the end it also states “Among the additional applications is an office document collaboration tool. You can share an office document real time with others, allowing them to view and edit it.”

gt_alien

For XP, Windows Desktop Search is an apllication that I like using. It blends seamlessly into the XP environment and enables me to search for a variety of file-types.

There are many other freeware desktop search applications available, but I prefer the interface and the features that this one has.

Aibek

looks good. Is it faster than standard windows search?

gt_alien

Hello Aibek, in answer to your question, it is a lot faster than the standard Windows search. It is almost instantaneous – much like that of the search included with Vista. Additionally, it can also be set to run instead of the standard XP search.

Microsoft says it has a: “familiar yet powerful user interface for instantly finding files and e-mail messages located on your PC and connected resources, and one-click access to move, delete, copy, burn, attach, or drag and drop files as needed“.

Who could want more from a search tool?

Aibek

Just got it on my system, let’s see how it goes.thanks buddy. ;-)

Mike Lieman

1. Did they guys at HealthyVault ever hear of this thing called HIPPA?

2. Where’s the Fedora RPM for Silverlight?

3. “Well, who if not Microsoft can guarantee 100% compatibility with Microsoft Office.”

Microsoft can’t guarantee 100% compatibility with Microsoft Office, or haven’t you been using Microsoft Office all these years?

Aibek

1. HealthVault offers complete control and privacy of your records, so I am not really sure how it’s conflicting with HIPPA. If that’s what you mean.

2. As about Fedora RPM for Silverlight I guess it will take a while :-).

3. I think you’re right on compatibility issues, Microsoft has a tendency to fuck things up.

David

ConferenceXP URL appears to have changed from http://www.conferencexp.net to http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/conferencexp

And by the way, for screen sharing / web conferencing, check out SharedView. It’s basically the free version to MS LiveMeeting.