75 best free PC software downloads from Microsoft

Fun, productive and useful programs


25. Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer

Download 25 Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
This tool from Redmond can help you stay on top of security updates

Give your computer, as well as any other networked PCs you use, a once-over for security problems with this free tool. The Baseline Security Analyzer 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.


26. RichCopy

Download 26 RichCopy

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.


27. Windows Search 4.0

Download 27 Windows Search 4 0

Windows XP users jealous of how quickly searches are performed in Windows 7 and Windows Vista can benefit from the same super-fast technology with Windows Search 4.0. Once installed, allow time for your drive's contents to be indexed and then use the Search box on the taskbar to gain quick and easy access to all your precious files, wherever they're hiding.


28. AutoRuns

Download 28 AutoRuns

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.


29. ClearType Tuner Power Toy

Download 29 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.


30. Microsoft Security Essentials

Download 30 Microsoft Security Essentials

Can't afford to pay for security software? Frustrated with your existing free anti-virus tool? Then this could be the answer. Security Essentials is a lightweight, unobtrusive and most importantly free anti-malware tool that's rapidly become one of the most popular security tools for Vista and Windows 7 users. There are other freebies offering better protection out there, but if you're not the kind of person to put your PC at risk from infection on a daily basis, it should prove perfectly adequate.


31. Microsoft Safety Scanner

Download 31 Microsoft Safety Scanner

You think a computer's infected, but you're not 100 per cent sure. You need a free, regularly updated and above all portable tool you can run from CD or USB stick to quickly give that PC the once over to confirm or allay your suspicions. This is that tool. Microsoft Safety Scanner runs both quick and full scans of the target PC's hard drive, and is capable of removing any infection it finds. It's no substitute for the real-time protection offered by your existing anti-virus tool, but it's worth using as a second opinion. Note the tool expires after 10 days, ensuring you replace it with a version containing the very latest virus definitions.


32. .NET Framework Repair Tool v2

Download 32 NET Framework Repair Tool v2

An increasing number of programs - including many in this list - make use of Microsoft's .NET Framework libraries, but what happens if one of those libraries becomes corrupt? This free repair tool now works with all versions of .NET Framework from 2.0 up to 4.5 and can fix most major issues it finds. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, then maybe this will.