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After enduring several years dogged by hardware failures, unloved operating systems, and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for its products, Microsoft appears to be on the cusp of greatness once again Stop Bashing Microsoft: 5 Ways In Which They're Awesome Stop Bashing Microsoft: 5 Ways In Which They're Awesome Microsoft doesn't always get fair treatment. When it comes down to it, they're a pretty awesome company. There's been enough Microsoft bashing, now it's time for some love. Read More . Mainly thanks to Windows 10 Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Microsoft is boldly stepping into the future with innovative software and hardware. Windows as a service and mobility of experience were the major keywords from the recent Windows 10 briefing. Most importantly, Windows 10 will... Read More , which is soon to be unleashed onto the world.

However, before we can look forward to a lighter, brighter future for Microsoft under Satya Nadella, we should take a look back over the company’s 40 year history. Microsoft has released hundreds of products in that time, and we want to discover what ones stand out for you.

Microsoft Microcosm

We want to know, What Is Your Favorite Microsoft Product Of All Time?

This is a very simple question that everybody reading this should be able to answer. Most of you will have used a Microsoft product at some point in your lives, even if doing so eventually led you to reject Redmond’s advances and have a fling with Apple, Google, or Linux instead.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to select one Microsoft product as your favorite. This product can be anything produced by Microsoft over the last 40 years, as long as it truly is the one that has stuck in your mind as the best thing Microsoft has ever made.

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The most obvious contenders are the multiple operating systems Microsoft has released. Perhaps your heart still belongs to MS-DOS The 8 Useful DOS Commands That You Should Memorize The 8 Useful DOS Commands That You Should Memorize Windows 7 still features a command prompt window. so there's still a place for DOS commands. So for those of you that like the idea of typing in a few commands to avoid the hassle of... Read More ? Or could it be that Windows XP 5 Reasons Why You Love Windows XP & What You Sacrifice 5 Reasons Why You Love Windows XP & What You Sacrifice Nearly 30% of computers are still running Windows XP. It was a stable and reliable system for years, but all good things come to an end. Almost no good reasons to keep using Windows XP... Read More remains your favorite flavor of Windows? You could, if you really wanted to, choose Windows 10 based purely on the previews.

Moving away from Windows, there is Office, Word, Excel, Internet Explorer or Windows Media Player. There is also the three Xbox consoles released so far, including the current-generation Xbox One Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway The console wars are officially raging, and we've had sufficient time with both of them. That begs the question: how does the Xbox One compare? Read More . And Kinect, Outlook, Bing, and the Microsoft Surface. And even poor old Windows Phone Why You Should Consider Switching To Windows Phone [Opinion] Why You Should Consider Switching To Windows Phone [Opinion] I want Windows Phone to succeed. The problem is persuading you Apple fanboys and Google droids to give Windows Phone a chance. Read More . I’m sure you get the idea by now.

Whatever your favorite Microsoft product of all time is, we want to hear all about it. What made you choose that product over all of the others available? Why do you love it so much? And what has led to you retaining that enthusiasm for a product that may be many decades old?

We Need You!

Please let us know all about your favorite Microsoft products below. All comments will be read and most will be replied to. Depending on the level of interest, the responses may be turned into a full article at a later date. We Ask You is a column dedicated to crowdsourcing the wisdom of MakeUseOf readers.

  1. Arun
    May 24, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    My favorite is Windows 7.

  2. jimvandamme
    May 20, 2015 at 12:14 am

    I have an excellent Microsoft mouse. It's the only Microsoft product I still use. All my software is FOSS, starting with Linux.

  3. A41202813GMAIL
    May 17, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Do You Still Need To Ask, Again And Again And Again ?

    XPOCALYPSE FOREVER !

  4. Henry Waller
    May 17, 2015 at 7:55 am

    I'd be lost without my Visual Studio 2013 Pro with the MSDN subscription, though I will always have an affinity for MS QuickC.

  5. Dmitry
    May 17, 2015 at 1:19 am

    It's hard choice, given that MS produced a lot of solid things both software and hardware - you know that one of early 2000s Linux community mocking jokes was "Long live Microsoft, manufacturer of THE best PC keyboard!"?
    But...it's not about _technically_ best, most original or most worldwide-important. So...
    Kinect.
    Only reason i've bought a console.
    Suddenly in-house videoworkouts became interactive, and thus tolerable, not to mention that it has it's uses beyond EA Active and Zumba :)
    Yes, i know that technology was acquired and there were commercial predecessors (like Your Shape exergame for PC/Wii or EyeToy games) - but before Kinect it was not done right due to lack of depth perception.

  6. CyberRanger
    May 16, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Outlook 2010. Looked at lots & lots of calenders & Outlook does it best. I didn't get it for the email or task mgt. Contacts are OK, Outlook's Calendar makes me tolerate the rest of it. Google calendar is great, as long as you haven't internet access, but if you don't Google calendar is useless.

    I usually have little good to say about Micro$oft. OS/2 was always superior & more stable. Micro$oft just had better lawyers & marketers than than IBM. Never had a better product until recent versions of Outlook.

    Know of a better calendar that will sync with just about anything? Let me know. Until then, yes, Outlook.

  7. Grumpy Old Man
    May 15, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Red Hat.

  8. Praveen Kumar Nirmalkar
    May 15, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Nothing better than Win XP (not according to me). However hard I try to persuade my family members and friends to switch to Win 7 or 8, I always lose.

    • Reply to Praveen
      May 24, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      XP sucks.

  9. Nicke
    May 15, 2015 at 9:36 am

    The C# programming language.
    Blew Java out of the water, by far the best C-based language.

  10. axsxpt
    May 15, 2015 at 8:08 am

    Flight Simulator X

  11. Cynzix
    May 15, 2015 at 5:29 am

    Internet. Explorer, because allowed me to download Chrome.

  12. ReadandShare
    May 15, 2015 at 4:42 am

    The first (and for a very long time, the only) MS product that I like using is Excel. The second is Win 7 -- still my current OS.

  13. johb
    May 15, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Excel hands down.

  14. Evan
    May 15, 2015 at 1:11 am

    Windows 7. More secure than XP, more reliable and less confusing than Windows 8; I don't want Windows on a tablet!

  15. Little Kid
    May 14, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Minecwaft!

  16. WIND
    May 14, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Excel and Windows XP

  17. burcin
    May 14, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Would say Xbox, not because of gaming. Being able to talk to your entertainment system, plus with smartglass you can pretty much toss your remotes. I think windows 8 was a big good change.

  18. Leah
    May 14, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    One Note. I like that I can keep track of all m y notes in one place. I used to have scraps of paper lying everywhere but now it's just all in one place. It's an easier way to organize them than using Word or something like that.

  19. Luke
    May 14, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    I love my Surface Pro 3, it brought everything I ever wanted from a convertible into one device. It rocks in every way.

  20. kt
    May 14, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    xbox. It still had original games like Gladius and some cheat code support. Now everything is DRM and DLC. I hate credit card based gaming!

  21. Don M.
    May 14, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Microsoft Excel. Nothing has come close to matching the power and flexibility. In my career, I've managed M&A work and used Excel to successfully run acquisitions and integrations that can run into the 9 figures. Now, it's also a pretty powerful BI tool. Yes, there are cheaper, or freer, alternatives who claim they can do 90% of what Excel does. However, it's the 50% of your time you try recreating that 10% none of them can do that keeps Excel at the top of the pack.

  22. flaux
    May 14, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Windows 8, my old computer feels like new again.

  23. suzybel
    May 14, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I guess I'm the only one, but I'm going with Windows 7. It was close enough to XP and I really liked XP. Also I have to say Sync Toy for backups, simple but it works.

  24. SA
    May 14, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Age of Empires :-)

  25. Tara
    May 14, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    I took all Microsoft classes my junior and senior year in high school. by far my favorite will be the powerpoint class. I loved to make slides and present them in class. I knew how to make them look great without too much crap on each slide. It is a good way to get your point across.

  26. Xoandre
    May 14, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    My favorite product made by Microsoft used to be Windows Media PLAYER (do not confuse this with media center). WMP used to be a solid choice for playing music, watching videos, and ripping/burning CDs.

    Unfortunately, it has been abandoned by Microsoft in the upkeep & development departments. WMP is now a laggy, glitchy mess that sometimes works, sometimes shows the "NOT RESPONDING" bug that hits every Windows Application daily, only with WMP it is far more often. Simply clicking "NEXT TRACK" will lag and hang the program.

    In opposition to WMP was their ZUNE program, launched as a completely different beast for the Zune MP3 player (which I still have the 30GB 5LB one sitting in a box somewhere). ZUNE also worked great, up until they began "fixing" it after their MP3 player market folded.

    iTunes is also a glitchy, laggy, crash-every-time-you-click-anything POS.

    I have tried other media players, but WMP has the playlist options, the features that I loved and grew dependent on. Before Microsoft screwed around with a good thing and filled it with buggy code, which causes it to only be worth playing a single file, then hanging or going into NOT RESPONDING mode for an hour, before it finally crashes.

    Sorry for the complaints, but I truly loved the program. Even modeled a website design based on the primary "theme" player design back in the day.

    I just wish that there comes an unannounced option for Windows 10 where WMP is relaunched as a new, fresh, bug-free, lag-free, non-hanging product with all the bells and whistles I miss having.

  27. Gavin
    May 14, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    So many to choose from! It has to be Clippy. Where would be today without that little chap popping up to remind us about EVERYTHING?

    On a serious note, Excel is still the best of the best, and I think it will continue to be for sometime, even as the number of claimants to the throne increases. Looking forward to some more hands on time with the Office 2016 preview, and cannot wait until they waive the NDA!

    I'm pretty impressed with the W10 Tech Preview, the update system, and the change in tone from MS overall. They are moving rapidly into the 21stC having been caught napping at the turn of the millennium.

    I also have a soft spot for Windows 3.0, as it was the first version I ever used.

  28. ranman
    May 14, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Surface Pro 3
    Windows Phone 8.1 (on Lumia)
    Windows 10 (alpha versions are looking sweet)

  29. MikeS
    May 14, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I think I agree with whoever said Windows 3.1.1. I guess I liked it because it was simple and easy to fix if it messed up.

  30. bben
    May 14, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Microsoft Money - By far the best money management program so far. I still use it, and it is still the best. There is no other money management program that handles cash flow nearly as well. It was promoted at first as a personal money manager - where it excelled. Then MS tried to make it into a do all be all accounting program - which it is not. There is a big difference between money management and accounting. And the professional accountants stayed away in droves because it didn't use their traditional T-Account style. (it still does double entry, it just looks different and avoids the confusing debit or credit terminology) Then because it couldn't compete with professional accounting programs like Peachtree MS killed it off leaving people that wanted a real money management program that allows cash flow and prediction instead of a traditional accounting program that is just a history of where the money came from and where it went in the lurch.

  31. Aaron Abraham N
    May 14, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Windows Phone (8 and later versions), So.cl and Bing.

  32. Tina
    May 14, 2015 at 9:18 am

    I like change if it's smooth and right now this makes the Windows 10 Technical Preview my favorite Microsoft product. Windows 10 is a pleasure to work with, getting slicker with every new build, and constant feature updates never get boring. Hope Microsoft will continue to hit the right balance between ease of use or familiarity, efficiency, and innovation.

    • Jamie McCutchen
      May 14, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      I'm going to agree with you Tina! Loving Windows 10 so far! Sure, things still need polish and there are still some issues here and there, but I really feel like it's going in the right direction. I'm really looking forward to what is coming up!

  33. Marcius
    May 14, 2015 at 6:07 am

    Windows 95

    • Tina
      May 14, 2015 at 9:25 am

      Really? Why? Are you still running it?

  34. Felix Dalbor
    May 14, 2015 at 5:25 am

    Windows XP, nothing can match it for its length of service. I still keep a computer with XP on it for the simple fact even after all these years it still gets the job done.

  35. Deen
    May 14, 2015 at 5:19 am

    Probably I'll be the only one saying this but it's Windows 8.1 for me!...although not before the endless updates to make it as good as it is today. I'm sure the upcoming 10 will be even better.

  36. Aaron Coltrane
    May 14, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Windows phone and xbox.

  37. Jason Wojcik
    May 14, 2015 at 4:41 am

    Excel with VBA
    And OneNote is a close second

  38. Tony
    May 14, 2015 at 4:31 am

    The original Flight Simulator

  39. donny
    May 14, 2015 at 4:11 am

    For me, Microsoft Excel has been ivaluable for many years. There are many competitors, but Excel is still unmatched.

  40. Jerry Kocis
    May 14, 2015 at 4:00 am

    OneNote! Nothing else matters.

    • Murali
      May 14, 2015 at 4:06 am

      Microsoft Excel and OneNote

  41. Hildy J
    May 14, 2015 at 3:34 am

    It never made it to production but I would have bought it if it had - the Microsoft Courier, a pre-iPad, dual screen, touch and stylus enabled, tablet that folded like a book. Here's a write-up from the company that designed it for Microsoft:

    http://www.mnml.com/21277/239770/our-work/microsoft-courier

  42. dan barile
    May 14, 2015 at 3:12 am

    believe it or not. I love my Zune. I bought a couple for backups. I have not had one fail yet. Just because a product does not hit some sky high goal, should not be a product killer. The Zune never had to compete with iPod to be a solid stand alone product. Not everyone needs a Cadillac to get to work; that's why the make Chevy's.

    • Ed
      May 14, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Seconded! The Zune is still my favorite media player bar none!

  43. Gregg Lowery
    May 14, 2015 at 3:11 am

    Windows home server had so much potential... Oh well...

  44. WinDork
    May 14, 2015 at 3:03 am

    Windows for Workgroups (3.1.1).

    • Marlene
      May 14, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      Yes I loved windows 3.1. My first love. I knew every file on that computer.

    • CMonster
      May 16, 2015 at 6:17 am

      +1 for WFW 3.11 for just one thing; protected mode TCP/IP stack.

      When the beta for the stack came out, I was in nerdvana...

      'Nuff said...

  45. Angry Llama
    May 14, 2015 at 2:56 am

    So tired of trying to get 4 ecosystems to place nice w/ each other while waiting for core of one of them (MS) to settle the f down (Messenger->Skype, MP->Zune->Xbox, SkyDrive->OneDrive, on and on and on...). Windows XP rocked, Windows 7 promised a great ecosystem, now I'm waiting for that ecosystem to frggn deliver in Windows 10. Please give us intuitiveness keeping UX *and* end-user support in mind, MS. {sigh}

  46. infmom
    May 14, 2015 at 2:43 am

    Microsoft Word 5.0 for DOS. I'd probably still be using it if Y2K hadn't killed it stone cold dead.

    Second place goes to Windows for Workgroups.

    • gett
      May 14, 2015 at 5:36 am

      +1 wor MS Word 5.0

  47. Sam Park
    May 14, 2015 at 2:33 am

    Surface. Looks good on the Surface, and performs well below the Surface. And they finally gave full Windows to the non-Pro Surfaces!

  48. shahid
    May 14, 2015 at 2:00 am

    OneNote

    • Tina
      May 14, 2015 at 9:20 am

      +1 for OneNote!

      This is one of those overnight successes that seems to have come out of nowhere. OneNote has only been released last year and has so many fans already. While I'm not using it so much myself, I do appreciate how awesome it is.

    • Hildy J
      May 14, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      Oh ye of little age!

      OneNote predates the iPhone by many years, having been released in 2003. Like Evernote, it was a Windows only application with no cloud to sync to. Both of these note taking applications were designed to run on Windows tablets released in conjunction with the Tablet Edition of XP in 2002.

      It is a great program.

    • Derek B
      May 19, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      +1 for OneNote, I've been using it since it first came out in the early 2000's. Such a versatile tool, one of the few times Microsoft gave users something they actually wanted (although I suspect that was an accident) One caveat - it's the 2010 version that's great, in the recent 'free' update they have significantly reduced it's capabilities and appear to be trying to con people to go the new product by selling it as the new 'free' cloud version - does not augur well for the new 'free' version of Windows 10.

  49. Von Adam Martinez
    May 14, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Without any regards to the features of todays MS products, Windows XP has been my "Pokemon Red" for me since it was my first PC experience when I was a kid

  50. adam
    May 14, 2015 at 1:46 am

    my favorite product had to be windows 98 SE....lol. everything afterwards, got bulky and clunky.....tbh, if i could still run it, i would! but most newer software "requires" at least xp.....

    • Tina
      May 14, 2015 at 9:23 am

      How is Windows 98 SE less bulky and clunky than other versions of Windows?

      It's been a long time since I used it and years since I last saw it running anywhere, but I don't remember anything I particularly liked about it. I do remember liking Windows XP a lot better! And it was much more stable.

      Please help me out - what makes Windows 98 SE so great for you? Or is it just that it was "enough" and anything after that didn't add anything you needed or wanted? I could understand that. :)

    • Aaron Abraham N
      May 14, 2015 at 10:08 am

      You are correct, I remember using Win 98 SE in my old Compaq 64MB RAM with Celeron processor. It worked very smooth and fresh all the time. I later added 256 MB RAM and loaded the XP which worked well but I couldn't use it much longer has the computer died :(

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