Productivity Windows

Take it from Microsoft! 8 Best Free Ebooks from MSDN’s Huge Collection

Gavin Phillips 30-04-2015

We all like free stuff The Best PC Software for Your Windows Computer Want the best PC software for your Windows computer? Our massive list collects the best and safest programs for all needs. Read More , right? Well, Microsoft just keeps giving 5 Free Microsoft Online Services & Apps You Didn't Know Existed When you think of Microsoft, what's the first thing that comes to mind? It might take you a little longer to think of something positive. We're here to help with that. Read More . The Microsoft Developers Network (MSDN) maintains a massive amount of literature for developers, old or new, providing valuable information on all manner of Microsoft platforms: Windows 8, Office, Dynamics CRM, PowerShell functions, the Microsoft System Centre and much more.


They’ve seen it prudent to release almost 300 eBooks, free for our consumption. Excellent for consumers wishing to understand more and developers alike. The full list can be found in the MSDN blog post above and we’ve picked a few that deliver essential Microsoft information that you can use immediately.


There is always potential to learn more where Windows is concerned. Aside from the handy Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 shortcut guides Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Ultimate Guide Keyboard shortcuts can save you hours of time. Master the universal Windows keyboard shortcuts, keyboard tricks for specific programs, and a few other tips to speed up your work. Read More , there is a document titled Windows To Go. Windows To Go explores an enterprise operating system running from a USB drive, specifically tailored for use within educational facilities.

Windows 8 USB

Windows To Go creates a bootable Windows 8.1 image on a USB drive, essentially a copy of the same version the institution will have access to. Faculty members and students can then take this bootable USB and replicate the learning environment on any computer, anywhere, providing a capable desktop wherever it is needed.

It is a portable, cost-effective solution for institutions with small budgets, but it also provides students with opportunity to continue working in a familiar environment in their homes.



There are a several good guides for Office users Upgrade Your Skills with the Best Microsoft Office Courses Online Microsoft Office is a required skill across offices worldwide. How adept are you? Massive Open Online Courses offer everyone the training to get better at it anytime, anywhere. Read More , focusing on Office 365, Discovering SharePoint, the Moodle-Office 365 plugin, plus a whole host of keyboard shortcut guides for many Office products – always worth brushing up on!

Word Autosave Options

I liked this one in particular: How to Recover That Un-Saved Office Document. Whilst this type of guide is dime-a-dozen online, refreshing your approach to Office is useful, as well as setting up best practices for document recovery tools Access & Recover Corrupt Office Files with These Tips Your important document is corrupted and you don't have a backup? Not all is lost! You can try to repair the file or find a backup you didn't know you had. Read More . I mean, they’re built into the software and only require a minute amount of configuration, but can be absolute life-savers. I know I’ve held my head in my hands before. Save yourself this terror.

Pro Tip: Files in the temporary folder are saved for 4 days following their creation. If they are not manually saved after that time, attempting to recover the data becomes a whole different kettle of fish.


Dynamics CRM

I must admit, I’ve never used Dynamics – I’ve never had cause to – so reading through a handful of these eBooks has been eye-opening. Depending on your customer relationship management strategy Chart Your Marketing And Sales Goals With Map Business Online [Sponsored] Sales and marketing maps are old tools for businesses but like everything else, maps have gone smart. Map Business Online is one of those intelligent business data mapping tools. Read More , some of this literature could be for you, but the extended detail found in some of these eBooks was a little beyond my pay-grade.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Nonetheless, I found the opening document Start Working in CRM very useful as a brief introduction to the field via Microsoft software, and the document series concerning CRM for mobile devices was interesting from the view of the consumer. Finally, the Microsoft Social Listening for CRM was curious – we’re all aware that these systems exist, are monitoring us, providing us stimulation and suggestions in other aspects of lives, and reading about their motivations and practices gives you further understanding.


The PowerShell section has a number of short guides to help newcomers to the subject 6 Basic PowerShell Commands to Get More out of Windows PowerShell is what you get when you give steroids to the Windows Command Prompt. It grants you control of nearly every aspect of the Windows system. We help you leap up its learning curve. Read More , providing a couple of handy PowerShell 4.0 examples Boost Your Productivity With Windows PowerShell Scripts What if you could bring the productivity of Linux over to Windows? Most Linux distros come packaged with the powerful Bash shell. PowerShell is an equally powerful terminal for Windows. Read More , as well as some useful information on The Secrets of PowerShell Remoting.


The PowerShell Remoting guide was an excellent introduction to the field, exploring the aims and objectives of remote PowerShell functions, environments, platforms, and a number of remote PowerShell functions for instant use.


Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform. The standout guide in this section is Building Real World Cloud Apps with Windows Azure. The guide is one of the lengthier eBooks featured and covers application development with Azure Web Sites, Visual Studio, ASP.NET, Visual Studio Online, and Azure SQL, as well as outlining a pattern-based approach to general development practices.

Windows Azure

Similarly to Dynamic CRM, I’ve never developed using Azure Learn to Code with These 7 Courses from Microsoft and edX Create mobile-first pages or code cloud solutions. There's a lot you can achieve with key technological skills. Now, you can learn to code with Microsoft's well-packaged courses on edX. Starting soon. Read More , but I’ve certainly used services developed with it, and it’s worthwhile understanding how the web apps you are using function behind the scenes.


Best of the Rest

The MSDN blog released a number of uncategorized eBooks. These cover virtual desktop deployment, SQL server management practices, Windows Server 2.0 and 3.0 guides, and a number of .NET guides.

The BYOD Devices – A Deployment Guide was an interesting read. The eBook offers a practical guide to rolling out a BYOD strategy in educational facilities. As more and more devices enter our schools with students, it makes sense to utilize this as a resource. School budgets are tighter than ever.

iDevice Pile

Encouraging students to expand their educational experience using the digital tools already available can be a welcome opportunity for students and teachers alike, so long as the curricula matches the digital. In some classrooms, BYOD schemes are simply not practical, whilst other facilities may decide the liability issues are simply not worth the hassle.

Lurking at the bottom of the eBook list is another useful guide in the Administrators Guide for Microsoft Bitlocker. The title doesn’t make for an outstanding evening read, but it does deliver a comprehensive overview of the Microsoft Bitlocker Administration and Monitoring Free Military-Grade Privacy For Your Files: How Bitlocker Works [Windows] Ever heard that quote about trying to explain how a television works to an ant? I'm not calling you an ant, even though you are hard-working and enjoy the occasional sip of aphid milk. What... Read More tool, useful for those overseeing a large network of Bitlocker accounts.

Your Reading for the Next Weeks Sorted

Some of these eBooks are horribly outdated and aimed at Microsoft platforms that no longer exist. However, there are some great reads in this 300 eBook selection, providing you with a free learning opportunity. Best of all you have a range of PDFs, EPUBs, and MOBIs to choose from, so you can take these eBooks with you The 7 Best PDF and Ebook Readers for Windows Here are some of the best PDF book readers and ebook readers for reading ebooks on a Windows PC! Read More wherever you go.

Will you be giving any of these a read through? Should Microsoft release more eBooks in this style? Let us know what you think below!

Image Credits: Windows 8 USB via Flickr, Windows Azure, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Pile of iDevices via Wikimedia Commons.

Related topics: Command Prompt, Ebooks, Education Technology, Microsoft, PowerShell, Reading.

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  1. Gavin
    May 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Good point. Thanks, Saurabh.

  2. Saurabh Tripathi
    May 1, 2015 at 7:23 am

    *Microsoft Virtual Academy

  3. Saurabh Tripathi
    May 1, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Free Ebook section in Microsoft has many useful books too.