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Ten free downloads to manage Windows

Christina Torode, Editorial Director

Looking for some useful utilities to manage Windows? We've got  ten to play with, plus direct download links.

The ten downloads are:

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Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats
When it was released: 11/19/2007
What it does: Let's you open, work on and save files of older Office versions in the 2007 Office System's native XML formats: .docx for Word, .xlsx for Excel and .pptx for PowerPoint. This tool can be used with the Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003, Excel Viewer 2003 and PowerPoint Viewer 2003 to view files saved in these new formats.
Where to get it: Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats
System requirements: Support Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Service Pack 1; Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista. Microsoft recommends having the following Office programs: Microsoft Word 2000 and 2002 with Service Pack 3, Excel 2000 and 2002 with Service Pack 3 and PowerPoint 2000 and 2002. Also Word 2003, Excel 2003 and PowerPoint 2003 with at least Service Pack 1. Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint Viewer 2003 are recommended as well.

Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 for Windows XP
When it was released: 9/16/2008
What it does: IE 8 Beta 2 is a "feature complete" beta that promises to simplify navigation, add more privacy and speed up performance for users, but for IT administrators, the beta has Group Policy enhancements to ease desktop deployments of the browser, a new feature that lets IT install the browser as part of the OS image and a better administration toolset. Security enhancements help prevent non-executable code from running in memory, block fake websites and head off the spread of malicious software to other accounts if a user installs a malicious ActiveX control.
Where to get it: Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 for Windows XP
System requirements: Supports Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows XP Service Pack 3. Check here for a list of other requirements. There are also several compatibility warnings and known issues to be aware of.

Windows Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP
When it was released: 5/6/2008
What it does: IE7 has many improvements over IE 6, which released in 2001, such as new security features like a phishing filter and automatic shut-off of preexisting ActiveX controls. IE7 also adds a redesigned interface and easier navigation with features like tabbed browsing.
Where to get it: Windows Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP
System requirements: Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3 only. Check here for memory, processor and device requirements and support.

Windows Installer 3.1 Redistributable [v2]
When it was released: 9/2/2005
What it does: Windows Installer lets you install, manage and remove software on Windows systems. This [v2] version replaces the previously released 3.1 version of the redistributable package for installing and upgrading to Windows Installer and corrects a problem with the earlier redistributable version in which Windows Installer fails silently when you upgrade to version 3.1.
Where to get it: Windows Installer 3.1 Redistributable [v2]
System requirements: Windows Installer 3.1 Redistributable supports Windows 2000 with Service Pack 3 or later, Windows XP, Windows XP Service Pack 1, Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2003. Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 contains Windows Installer 3.1 and can't be installed or upgraded by this redistributable.

Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0 Redistributable Package (x86)
When it was released: 1/22/2006
What it does: Installs the .NET Framework runtime and associated files required to run applications developed for .NET Framework v2.0. The .NET Framework version 2.0 has improved caching, application deployment and updating with ClickOnce, and support for more browsers and devices with ASP.NET 2.0 controls and services.
Where to get it: Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0 Redistributable Package (x86)
System requirements: Supports Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows ME, Windows 2000 Service Pack 3, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Service Pack 2. Also requires Windows Installer 3.0 (except for Windows 98/ME, which requires Windows Installer 2.0 or later). Windows Installer 3.1 or later is recommended. You must be running Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 or later for all installations of the .NET Framework.

Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor 1.0
When it was released: 12/20/2007
What it does: Helps you figure out which PCs are and are not ready for a Vista upgrade and offers tips on deciding which version of Vista fits your PC needs.
Where to get it: Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor 1.0
System requirements: Supports Windows XP Service Pack 2 and requires a minimum of .NET Framework 1.1 and MSXML 4.0.

Windows Installer 4.5 Redistributable
When it was released: 6/2/2008
What it does: Updates whatever Windows Installer version you have to version 4.5. Version 4.5 is a minor update to version 4.0 and has new features, such as multiple package transaction and an embedded UI handler. There are also fixes, such as a SeBackupPrivilege that was missing in 4.0 that prevented any custom action that needed this user right, and a tweak that stops new components shared by other products from being uninstalled when an update was uninstalled.
Where to get it: Windows Installer 4.5 Redistributable
System requirements: Supports Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, Windows Vista Service Pack 1, and Windows Server 2008 in X86, X64 and IA64 versions.

SyncToy v2.0
When it was released: 8/15/2008
What it does: Copies, moves, renames and deletes files between folders and computers.
Where to get it: SyncToy v2.0
System requirements: Supports Windows XP and Vista. Requires .NET Framework v2.0, 1 GHz Intel P3 processor or equivalent, 256 MB RAM, 512 MB RAM recommended and 20 MB free disk space.

Codec Installation Package for Windows Media Player 7.1 or later
When it was released: 12/13/2004
What it does: Designed for network administrators deploying the latest Windows Media audio and video codecs for computers running Windows Media Player 7.1. It can be used as an alternative to automatically downloading Windows Media Codecs or to correct problems experienced with previously downloaded codecs.
Where to get it: Codec Installation Package for Windows Media Player 7.1 or later
System requirements: Supports Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional Edition and Windows XP Home Edition.

SubInACL
When it was released: 6/14/2004
What it does: This command line tool let's you view and collect security information about files, registry keys and services, such as owner and permission access control list (ACL), and move this information from user to user, from group to group and from domain to domain.
Where to get it: SubInACL
System requirements: Supports Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP.

Sourced from two stories at searchwinit.com