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Microsoft Desktop Player 1.0.0 (beta)

Quickly search all of Microsoft for podcasts, webcasts, white papers and more

by Mike Williams

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit)
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Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 26 January 2012
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 861
Developer: Microsoft
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Microsoft Desktop Player 1.0.0 (beta)
Quickly search all of Microsoft for podcasts, webcasts, white papers and more

The Microsoft Desktop Player provides an easy way for developers and experienced PC users to search Microsoft's site for the podcasts, webcasts and other data they need.

If you've tried this manually then you'll know it can be, well, a challenge. If you're looking for advanced security information, where do you go? MSDN? Technet? One of Microsoft's hundreds of active blogs? Somewhere else entirely?

The Player is a desktop tool which aims to simplify all of this. Just choose your role (IT Professional or Developer), and select the topic you'd like information on (which can be anything from specific Microsoft technologies like SQL Server and Exchange, to general areas like Security and Web Development).

You can then refine your query further by optionally entering more details about your role (.NET developer, database developer or whatever) and entering a search term, but for now, just click Search, and the program will return all the matching podcasts, webcasts and white papers it finds. And you can watch podcasts and webcasts within the player, too, just by clicking on them.

Now, this isn't quite as good as it sounds, because in many cases the player simply doesn't find enough information. When we told it we were an IT Professional looking for information on security, for instance, it returned no webcasts, no white papers, one podcast and twelve links. Is that really all the relevant security information available? We suspect not.

In some situations it did prove more useful, though, in particular with the developer-related searches we tried. So if you'd like a quicker way to find and watch podcasts and webcasts from Microsoft, then give the desktop player a (brief) try: there's just a chance that it might help.

Verdict:

It sometimes finds implausibly small amounts of information, but Microsoft's Desktop Player is useful just about often enough to make it worth a quick try.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Windows 10 October 2018 Update (build 1809)

Free Full Commercial Software

This is the latest version of Windows October 2018 Update. it's a media creation tool that can be used to upgrade an existing installation of Windows or create installation media for another PC. Just make your choice after launching the tool and it'll do the rest.

What was new in Windows 10, when it was released? The OS brought back the Start Menu, though with a Windows 8 twist: live tiles keep you up-to-date with the latest news while also providing an easy way to launch apps. (Don't worry if you prefer the Start Screen, it's still there and you can boot into it if you prefer.)

Apps now work much more like regular desktop programs. They have minimise, maximise, restore and close buttons, and can be resized (to a degree) and organised however you like.

If you've still lost track of a program in the mass of open windows, a new Task Spaces feature can help. Click its taskbar button and you'll see thumbnails for everything running now, a little like OS X's Mission Control - just click something to switch to it.

Better still, Task Spaces also supports virtual desktops. Add extra desktops as required and it'll display thumbnails of each one, making it easy to identify whatever you're after and switch to it.

There's also smarter snapping, new customisation options, and even a bunch of experimental additions to the command prompt.

Fall Creators Update brings a whole host of new features for Windows 10. See the Microsoft Blog for more information.

The Windows 10 ISO here will give you build 1809 which is the October 2018 Update.

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