For users of Microsoft Office 2003 and Windows XP, the Microsoft Agent is well known. It's the component that pops up the Merlin character to help you perform certain functions, such as setting up initial accounts during the installation of XP.

These Microsoft Agents are actually COM objects that are available to any application to use, and each agent has common actions such as moving, thinking and talking plus some agent-specific actions, such as showing a trophy or dancing. By default, the Merlin agent is installed on XP and Windows Vista; however, you can download additional agents, which are stored in the C:\Windows\MSAgent\chars folder. To download additional agents, go to http://www.microsoft.com/msagent/downloads/user.aspx, which has executable files for each agent. Execute the file to automatically place the file in the correct location. For additional information about the agents, take a look at http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms699231(VS.85).aspx, which has information about the capabilities of the agents.