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6 Free Microsoft Products For Windows 7

Windows 7 is an operating system and on its own, there's not much you will be able to perform. However, Microsoft proposes a number of products that complement Windows 7 and extends its functionality, making it a more polished platform altogether.

Security Essentials has been one extremely successful Microsoft security software. This free application has proved a hit with Windows 7 users and can be downloaded here.

Not only does it provide with comprehensive malware protection and is automatically updated, it is also dead easy to use and runs in the background.

As such, it doesn't interfere with your everyday, day to day tasks and according to early reviews has proved to be a steady, reliable and low on resource.

The Live Essentials application package should have been bundled with Windows 7 in the first place but instead, Microsoft chose to offer it to download as a separate package.

The suite offers Messenger, Mail, Writer, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Family Safety and Toolbar; all of which helps the end user organise and manage their online experience.

Although they are mostly directed at the consumer end of the market, Mail, Messenger and Toolbar can be equally useful in a corporate environment.

You can find more about these applications here and here and download them through Microsoft's dedicated Live Downloads website.

Sharedview is possibly one of the most useful Microsoft applications ever and it is free. The new version that has just been launched, offers the possibility for someone to show up his or her computer screen to up to 15 individuals at the same time.

This means that documents or files can be shared, reviewed or updated in real time across several geographical locations with the only limitations being your broadband connectivity.

A Windows Live ID is necessary to start sessions but not to participate in them. There's no support for sound (use MSN Messenger for that) and everyone participating in the session will have to download and install Sharedview. You can download Sharedview here.

Last year, Microsoft purchased Caligari, a small company that specialises in 3D-modelling, and overnight decided to give away its $600 flagship product, TrueSpace, for free.

Version 7.61 (available here) is a full 3D authoring package which can rival with much bigger and expensive 3D modellers. Clearly it is not for everybody but if someone is willing to dedicate some time to learn the platform, then there's some significant value attached to it.

For those looking to recreate the working environment of Windows XP on Windows 7, there's always Windows XP Mode RC which requires Windows 7 Professional or WIndows 7 Ultimate as well as a Virtualization engine such as Windows Virtual PC.

This free download is targeting those who want to use legacy applications on Windows 7 either in 32-bit or 64-bit mode. You will need to have a computer whose CPU supports hardware Virtualization (such as Intel's VT or AMD-V).

The last application that will prove to be a boon for anyone juggling between different computers may want to try SyncToy, which as its name indicates, is a tool that helps synchronise content between folders quickly and easily.

The application can be downloaded from Microsoft's website and provides with a bewildering array of features including exclusion filtering based on name and even a fuzzy matching mode (to be used with care).

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.