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Enhance Windows with a bundle of great downloads

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You buy a PC it comes with Windows pre-installed on the hard disk drive. It is easy to assume that you have everything that there is to be had, but actually you don't. Not everything is included on the Windows DVD or on the disk drive of a new PC and there are lots of extras to enhance the operating system and add more features and tools.

They are all available online and if you haven't yet explored Microsoft's downloads for Windows then it's about time you did because you may be missing out on some great software and other free stuff.

Go to the US downloads home page or the UK downloads page as appropriate. (Use the Change link at the top of the page if you're from someplace else.) From here you can access the Windows 7 page (US, UK), Windows Vista (US, UK), Windows XP (US, UK), and Windows Live (US, UK) downloads.

Windows 7 downloads

So what is available for Windows 7 users? Well, there are desktop backgrounds, desktop gadgets, Internet Explorer 9, Security Essentials, Sideshow gadgets, a free trial of Office 2010, Windows 7 Service Pack 1, desktop themes, Media Player skins and Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC.

Windows Vista downloads

Many of the downloads for Vista are the same as Windows 7, such as IE9, Security Essentials, Office trial, and so on, but there are some differences and there is Vista Service Pack 2 for example. There is also Windows Movie Maker 2.6, DirectX 9 runtime used for playing games, Windows Easy Transfer for copying your files and settings from a Vista PC to a new Windows 7 PC, Microsoft Safety Scanner for removing malware, and more.

Windows XP downloads

There is actually more for Windows XP than for Vista and 7 and there are lots of great utilities, programs and resources to download. In fact, there are so many that the downloads page has tabs to organise everything into categories. There are tabs for Featured Downloads, PowerToys, Fun Packs, Tablet and Media Center. There are too many items to list and if you are still running XP you should head over to Microsoft Downloads and take a look at what's on offer. There are some great freebies.

Windows Live downloads

Microsoft has taken out of Windows a lot of utilities that used to be bundled with it. These are now available as downloads. XP and Vista came with Movie Maker for editing videos, but Windows 7 doesn't have it. Instead, you download it. There is also Messenger, Family Safety, Photo Gallery and Mail. Windows 7 doesn't include an email program! Instead, you download it. Grab all the missing goodies here for free.