Free or cheap software ... hmm ... not always a good thing, right? Well, what if it's from Microsoft? Plenty of utilities and add-ons are free, since they're only useful to people who already bought the main product, whether that's Office, Windows, or Visual Studio. Others are free as a deliberate decision to help introduce people to more powerful (and expensive) tools - think about all those Express Editions, for example.
Here's a comprehensive list, updated regularly, of goodies from Microsoft. I guarantee you will learn about a product you can use that you did not know existed. And this isn't some "bathroom wall" of links and torrents from a random person - this is the Windows Team Blog. I did stumble, a while back, across a laundry list from Blake Handler (a Microsoft employee) of free software from Microsoft that might have one or two things that aren't on the team blog.
Try some, and spread the word.
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