Microsoft is the biggest software company on the planet and employs more than 125 thousand employees. And yet, many people aren’t even aware that Microsoft offers way more software than just Windows. Windows offers a lot of great software, and much of it is free. Here’s a look at some of the best free software from Microsoft, all of which can be downloaded

For a start, there’s the Malicious Software Removal Tool, a small program that targets the most popular and damaging computer viruses of the day. It is also updated once a month, meaning that there’s no worry of becoming redundant. As new viruses emerge, Microsoft will release new versions of the Malicious Software Removal Tool that will counter these threats specifically..

An often-overlooked piece of free software from Microsoft is the Windows Media Player. It’s a flexible, option-rich program capable of playing a variety of audio and video. It can also automatically connect to an online music store.

There’s WebMatrix, a lightweight and cloud-enabled web development program. It has full HTML5 support, and supports PHP. It’s a very accessible program, even for beginners.

The Windows Attack Surface Analyzer is not a particularly popular tool. Despite that, it really belongs on every computer. What this utility does is compare your computer performance before and after installing a new piece of hardware or software. This will let you judge how much of a drain any particular thing is having on your system as a whole.

Windows Live Mail is a free desktop email client. In addition to dropping new emails right into the mailbox on your desktop, Windows Live Mail also holds a full scheduler and contacts manager.

Microsoft OneDrive is a fantastic–and free–cloud storage system. You can store up t o 15 GB of files, movies, music, or whatever you like. Microsoft OneDrive is especially useful for backing up important data, in case something should happen to your desktop computer.

Microsoft Security Essentials is an easy-to-use security program. It not only provides virus and spyware scans, but also a real-time protection system that will keep your computer in good health around-the-clock.

Photosynth is a clever new program that lets you turn two-dimensional photographs into 3-D panoramas. This can make for some spectacular desktop backgrounds. It also lets you add annotations to photographs, which can be very useful for any kind of interior or exterior remodelling, for a start. The program is very straightforward, and doesn’t require any particular education in photo editing.

While Microsoft’s Office suite does cost money, you can still use Office files using one of their Viewer programs, such as Excel Viewer and Powerpoint Viewer.

ZoomIt is a magnifying program that won’t be of use to some people. However, for those that have trouble reading small print—or for photo editors—ZoomIt works quite well, and is free to boot.

Windows Live Writer is an all-in-one blogging tool that lets you post right from your desktop, without having to muck around in a browser window. It also makes it quite easy to upload maps and photos in a snap.