5 Free Microsoft Programs – Really!

We’re all pretty well used to kicking out the cash to Microsoft, so it might surprise you that Bill and the boys, actually give away some very polished applications.

Office Accounting Express 2009

image Even if you don’t run an office, you can still use this terrific application to managing your credit cards, and bank accounts, and if you have a PayPal account, you’ll find it easier to complete transactions using Office Accounting Express.

If, on the other hand you do run a small business, you’ll find increased functionality within this program, including  the ability to handle payroll, vendors,  invoices, quotes, cash sales, and more.

I’ve used QuickBooks for years and I found, in testing, Office Accounting Express was a reasonable substitute.

Note: As of November 16, 2009, this application is no longer available directly from Microsoft. Download is still available at the link below.

Download at: Download.com


image This latest release of Paint.NET (November 6, 2009), might not be quite Photoshop in disguise, but it’s a pretty serious contender.

While it can’t perform some of the more esoteric functions of Photoshop, it can certainly assist even an average photo hobbyist achieve spectacular results – results which are generally not achievable in a free photo application.

Download at: Download.com

Virtual PC 2007

image Regular readers of this site are probably familiar with the benefits of running in a virtual environment (a virtual machine acts like a standalone computer), while surfing the Internet, or while testing new software. Microsoft’s Virtual PC application allows even less technically inclined users to run in this mode, in a way that’s easy to understand, and easy to use.

Download at: Microsoft

Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition

image Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition is an incredibly functional and easy-to-use free application that will output a unique, custom designed website, to promote your club, hobby or business, or to put your favorite family/holiday photos online.

It couldn’t be easier. As Microsoft says – “Get started quickly by becoming familiar with the Visual Web Developer environment with the Introduction to Visual Web Developer 2008 video”.

If you are an amateur, or even if you are a proficient web site developer, Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition, will surprise you with the professional quality that you can achieve with this application.

Download at: Microsoft

SyncToy 2.0

SyncToy 5 SyncToy 2.1 is a free application that synchronizes files and folders between locations. Typical uses include sharing files, such as photos, with other computers and creating backup copies of files and folders.

SyncToy can manage multiple sets of folders at the same time; it can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another case. Unlike other applications, SyncToy actually keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder.

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Backup Tools, Business Applications, downloads, Emulators, Free Full Versions, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Image Editors, Microsoft, Multimedia Tools, Operating Systems, Productivity Software, Software, Web Development, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

6 responses to “5 Free Microsoft Programs – Really!

  1. Darren

    It looks like Virtual PC only runs on the following OS’s:

    Windows Vista™ Business
    Windows Vista™ Enterprise
    Windows Vista™ Ultimate
    Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition
    Windows XP Professional
    Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

    all 32 and 64-bit editions

    So I guess if you have a Home Basic or Home Premium edition it won’t work.

    That’s just my luck.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Darren,

      Thanks for the info. Checkout free Virtual Box(I just downloaded it this morning for testing), which will run on virtually any recent X86 hardware. A number of regular readers here, give this app high marks.


  2. Hi Bill,

    This is nice compilation list. However, I have an issue. If I am right, you are talking about Free Microsoft product and as per my knowledge Paint.Net is not a Microsoft product. It’s a creation of dotPDN LLC but if you talking about software which work on Microsoft Windows then everything is fine.


    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Arafat,

      Just so you’re up to date – Paint.NET started as a computer science project at Washington State University. But it was such a good image and photo editing product (as well as an exceptional example of the .NET Framework technology in action), Microsoft hired the two developers, Rick Brewster and Tom Jackson, and has allowed them to continue improving the application and offering it as a free download.

      You can split hairs if you like – but in my opinion, and in the opinion of many other IT professionals, this is, for all intents and purposes, now a Microsoft product.

      Thanks for the comment.


  3. Hi Bill,

    First I have to thank you for increasing my knowledge in this. And second I again have to thank you for updating this blog with priceless information. Wish you happy holiday.


    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Arafat,

      I’m happy that you found the info useful. Thank you for the holiday greetings – much appreciated.

      I drop by your site from time to time, and I’m very impressed. Keep up the great work.