75 best free PC software downloads from Microsoft

Fun, productive and useful programs

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55. Taptiles

Download 55 Taptiles

Taptiles
Like Mahjong? Then give Taptiles a go

There are lots of eye-catching, free Windows 8 games to choose from, including the Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Microsoft Mahjong. But if you want something a little more original, try Taptiles. It's a little like Mahjong, only in 3D and it offers three different gameplay modes to attract even the most hardened puzzle players.

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56. Virtual PC

Download 56 Virtual PC

Virtual PC
Resolve compatibility issues with Virtual PC

Looking for free virtualization software? Microsoft offers two versions of its Virtual PC software, depending on whether you're running Windows 7 (Windows Virtual PC) or XP/Vista (Virtual PC 2007). Either tool is a great way to resolve stubborn compatibility issues by running older versions of Windows in a virtual machine. But you'll need to provide your own legitimate copy of Windows to use it. You may get a warning about Home versions of Windows not being supported, but they should still work.

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57. Insomnia

Download 57 Insomnia

This tiny free tool does one thing, and one thing only: when you open the program, Insomnia prevents Windows from going to sleep. If you're about to download a large file or burn a DVD and you don't trust your computer to stay awake during the process, this is really handy. Just launch Insomnia and the problem is automatically solved.

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58. Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel

Download 58 Virtual CD ROM Control Panel

Windows 8 has a nifty built-in feature whereby you can "mount" ISO disk image files and use them as if they were a physical CD or DVD. The Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel basically extends this functionality to XP, Vista and Windows 7.

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59. Joulemeter

Download 59 Joulemeter

Joulemeter
How much juice is your PC using?

Get a decent estimate of your Windows 7 or Windows 8 PCs power consumption by installing and running this tool - you can immediately gauge how much electricity your desktop or laptop is using by accessing the task bar application. Alternatively, run the calibration tool to enable Joulemeter to test your set-up and produce a more accurate assessment.

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60. SyncToy 2.1

Download 60 SyncToy 2 1

This handy tool enables you to keep the contents of two folders - one of which can be a shared file over your network - synchronized. SyncTool means that multiple folder pairs can be created, and you can preview any changes to be made before agreeing to them.

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61. Windows Easy Transfer

Download 61 Windows Easy Transfer

You're upgrading your PC to Windows 7, and are wondering how you'll be able to transfer your key files and settings to it from your current PC - you need Windows Easy Transfer. As long as you're running Windows Vista or Windows XP, just download Easy Transfer and let it do all the hard work for you.

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62. Windows NT Backup Restore Utility for Windows 7

Download 62 Windows NT Backup Restore Utility for Windows 7

This storage tool, supplied with Windows XP, isn't compatible with later versions of Windows. If you backed up using the program and need access to your data in Windows 7, download this. After installation you'll find it under Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools.

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63. ScreenRecorder

Download 63 ScreenRecorder

ScreenRecorder is simple to use: launch the program, select whether to capture the whole screen or a specific open window or program, and start recording. To stop, click the big red button before saving the file in an efficient, compressed format.

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64. Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool

Download 64 Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool

If you have access to a Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 ISO image, this free tool can help you burn it to a bootable DVD or USB flash drive, enabling you to install or repair Windows. It's simple to use and works in XP and Vista too, perfect if you're about to upgrade.

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65. OneDrive for Windows/Mac

Download 65 SkyDrive for Windows Mac

OneDrive
Store and sync your files in the cloud with OneDrive

OneDrive may now be heavily integrated into Windows 8.1, but if you're running an earlier version of Windows - or have a Mac - you'll need the OneDrive desktop tool. It works in a similar way to Dropbox to keep files backed up and synced across all your PCs and Macs, plus give you access to your files from a smartphone, tablet or any web browser.