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Top five free Microsoft downloads

Every once in a while I like to check out what Microsoft admins are downloading these days. I sometimes do a search on Google, but to get a feel for the work being done in Microsoft shops, I always return to the Microsoft Download Center.

It lists the top five free Microsoft downloads in general, with some of the usual suspects, XP and Office compatibility. This goes to show that shops are still holding onto the older Windows OS — and moving some people to newer versions of Office.

Here are the top five free Microsoft downloads and the company’s descriptions for them:

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint File Formats. Open, edit and save documents, workbooks and presentations in the Open XML file formats, which were introduced to Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint beginning with Office 2007 and continuing with Office 2010.

DirectX End-User Runtime. Provides updates to 9.0c and previous versions of DirectX — the core Windows technology that drives high-speed multimedia and games on the PC.

Update for Windows XP (KB932823). Resolves an issue in which a user is unable to use Windows Internet Explorer 7 to download files on a computer that is running Windows XP with IME enabled.

.NET Framework Version 2.0 Redistributable Package (x86). Installs the .NET Framework runtime and associated files required to run applications developed to target the .NET Framework v2.0.

Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (Web Installer). Downloads and installs the .NET Framework components required to run on the target machine architecture and OS. An Internet connection is required during the installation. .NET Framework 4 is required to run and develop applications to target the .NET Framework 4.

Digging further, specifically looking at server management tools, what surprised me was that four of the top five weren’t tools in the sense that they fixed system problems. One is a case study on how a business benchmarked its PHP applications on Windows Server 2008, and there are a couple of how-tos, one on an Office Communication Server deployment, another on European data compliance.

Here are the free server management tools that have been downloaded the most out of 4, 821 choices, and Microsoft’s descriptions:

Security Update for Windows Server 2008 RC0 for Itanium-based Systems (KB941644). A security issue has been identified in TCP/IP that could allow an attacker to compromise your Windows-based system and gain control over it.

Microsoft Windows Server 2000 Assessment Configuration Pack for European Union Data Protection Directive (EUDPD).
This configuration pack contains configuration items intended to help you establish and validate a desired configuration for your Windows 2000 servers in order to support your European Union Data Protection Directive compliance efforts.

Customer Solution Case Study: Windows Server 2008 Charts a Secure and Flexible Roadmap for Virtual Map.

Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft joint value proposition.

Optimization at work in Microsoft. A presentation at an executive breakfast seminar, The Business Impact of Infrastructure Optimization, held Feb. 6, 2007.

So do these downloads sync up with what’s going on in your shop, or do you have a set of your own free tools that you can’t live without? I’d like to hear about it. Email me at [email protected].

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