Live Mesh: It's alive!

Live Mesh: It's alive!

Summary: Just when I was about to give up hope and add Live Mesh to my Microsoft deadpool, look what surfaced over on Liveside.Net. On February 22, LiveSide posted a bunch of new screen shots (via and information about some of the long-awaited Windows Live Wave 4 services, including Live Mesh.


One of the questions about Microsoft I get most often is whatever happened to Live Mesh.

Yes, it's still in beta. But no one talks about it any more. Are more updates coming? Is it being supplanted by other technology? I've tried asking quite a few Softies -- even Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, who made Live Mesh his pet project -- to no avail.

But just when I was about to give up hope and add Live Mesh to my Microsoft deadpool, look what surfaced over on LiveSide.Net. On February 22, LiveSide posted a bunch of new screen shots (via and information about some of the long-awaited Windows Live Wave 4 services. Live Mesh -- which may be renamed officially to Windows Live Sync, according to Liveside's information -- is what I found most interesting.

Microsoft has a LOT of different synchronization platforms across the company. But Live Mesh, as it originally was outlined by company officials back in 2008, was designed to help synchronize information across PCs and devices.

LiveSide's new information indicates that the current Live Sync (the product formerly known as FolderShare) is going to be replaced by Live Mesh, a k a the new Windows Live Sync. (Yeah, naming complexity continues to plague the Windows Live team.... ) The old Live Sync could handle P2P sync only and didn't support Live Desktop/cloud storage, so it needed to go.

But there's other information indicating that Microsoft might integrate the new Live Sync with the old Live Sync (according to a Most Valuable Professional posting in a Microsoft forum). So maybe the two Live Syncs will become one?

In either case, here's how Live Mesh is going to work once it's delivered as part of the Windows Live Wave 4 family, according to LiveSide:

"Windows Live Sync has gotten a complete revamp, pretty much dumping the old FolderShare interface and becomes a new (and possibly the most important) piece of software in itself. As the client-side for Windows Live Devices, Sync will allow you to synchroni(z)e files between devices and SkyDrive, as well as providing remote access to your PCs over the internet. Perhaps the most interesting piece of news is that Windows Live Sync will also support synchronisation of your program settings ... allowing you to synchroni(z)e your Internet Explorer settings between two or more computers."

Windows Live Wave 4 is the next refresh of the various consumer-focused services that Microsoft delivers as an adjunct to Windows (Messenger, Hotmail, Photo Gallery, Writer, Movie Maker, etc.). Microsoft started rolling out Wave 3 of Windows Live in November 2008. Public beta of Wave 4 may happen this spring, based on the latest rumors, but given how many times I've heard Wave 4 is "just around the corner," we'll see....

I have a lot of questions about the new Windows Live Sync, including how/if it will  sync with Windows Phone 7 Series devices, Zune HDs (current and future), the "Dorado" Zune software platform and more.... What else are you curious about, re: Live Mesh?

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • I use it a lot

    Live Mesh is great. I use it for educational documents, especially; things I may work on from different computers, and want to have backed up as well (on multiple computers, and in Microsoft's cloud!).

    I'm glad to hear this and hope it will work out. Live Mesh is a very nice software.

    I wish they would let it's remote desktop services function work with other technologies than ActiveX (ie, IE) as well, so that I won't need to use IE for it anymore. While I like Live Mesh and Live Messenger (the only Windows Live products I use), I can't stand IE...
    Daniel Breslauer
    • I agree on RDP

      however I believe it will be ported to Silverlight in its next incarnation. I had heard they were going to do that before and I suppose this is why they haven't. Rather than update Mesh they're just rolling it into Live 4, which is fine by me.

      Mesh does rock though, such a great utility. If I need something from work at home I just drop it in a folder and when I get here it's waiting for me. The biggest feature I'm looking forward to is the ability to sync content between PCs without having to sync it to the cloud. That is going to be great. 5GB of storage isn't quite enough for me to have all the data I want synced, but if I can sync anything on my PC that changes everything.
      • SkyDrive Integration

        If it's really going to be integrated with SkyDrive, then 5 GB of storage just became 20 GB of storage. It would also be awesome if they release a Linux version. If they did, that would give me a reason to lay aside DropBox and use a single sync service.
        Rob Oakes
        • I was going to ask

          What advantages do DropBox and LiveMesh have over each other currently? I use LiveMesh a bit at the moment, would there be any benefit in switching.
      • P2P sync w/o cloud sync

        >>The biggest feature I'm looking forward to is the ability to sync content between PCs without having to sync it to the cloud

        This is already possible, as I understand your statement. Got to the Live Desktop, right-click a folder, and choose to change the sync settings. You can then tell it not to sync to the desktop.

        Not sure if the 5GB limit still applies, but it seems like it would not.
        • no 5GB limit on P2P sync.

          I've got a 140GB folder sync'd via live mesh between home and work.
    • Synchronisation of Program settings

      [i]"Perhaps the most interesting piece of news is that Windows Live Sync will also support synchronisation of your program settings, as seen in the screenshot below allowing you to synchronise your Internet Explorer settings between two or more computers."[/i]

      What does that mean? Bookmark and password sync for IE? That would be really cool.

      The Windows Photo Gallery right now uses the old Live Sync technology, would the new Live synch replace it? Again, that would be cool.
  • RE: Live Mesh: It's alive!

    This isn't news - we've known this for a long time! YOU have known this for a long time, I'm sure.
    • I wish I had known it for a long time

      Hi. No, I didn't know Live Mesh wouldn't be killed off quietly. In fact, I was starting to suspect it would, especially when I asked Ozzie, Bach and various Win Mobile folks about it and got evasive answers about what was happening with it.

      Given its popularity with testers, I'm glad it's got a future. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Live Sync on Zune HD

        Hi Mary Jo. Any hope that this is really happening?
      • Shared your concern

        I shared your concern Mary. When you want to add a new machine to your mesh they still don't list Win 7 as an option, only Vista, XP and Mac. Works fine on Win 7 though if you select Vista.
  • Does it use the Sky Drive storage?

    The current 5GB cap is why I stopped using it and switched back to Live Sync for P2P sync. If I could actually use/secure my Sky Drive space for a backup AND the folder sync on the PC side, it would be a perfect solution for me.
  • Hm

    Neat. I always loved Live Mesh's remote desktop feature the best.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Love Mesh, will Comment & App functionality make it?

    I use Live Mesh alot so I'll be glad to see it integrated more into Live core services. I see alot of potential there. I'm curious about other Mesh functionality. Will we be able see/write folder comments in our desktop folders? Also, what becomes of Mesh Apps? In a way, I think of Office 2010 Web Apps as Mesh Apps. So, we'll see.
  • I LOVE live mesh

    It is Apple like cool (Home Backup Server is too). I use it a lot.

    But unless they can monetize it and extend it.

    It never has supported my mobile phone. If I could sync word docs over WIFI to my Blackberry I would be an extremely happy camper.

    It has the potential to be a killer app if it is exploited well.
  • RE: Live Mesh: It's alive!

    Excluding Hotmail and Messenger, how many active users
    are there for Windows Live?
  • RE: Live Mesh: It's alive!

    That liveside article seems to indicate that there's a little something for everyone. I'm actually looking forward to it.

    I just hope they have the full funtionality of Live Mesh. That's a great service. (although I forget I have it most of the time. )
    • That is why it is so great

      because you forget you have it, and when you need to access one of your PCs remotely, it works so well.
      • Exactly

        I have to admit, Mesh does exactly that. You login, save password if you wish, and it just works as long as you remember to close out the files you are syncing.

        It's amazing, and if MSFT migrates support across all Windows flavors, Macs, Zune, and the WinPho Series, and possibly migrates all of it's synching properties underneath it, I think that would be ideal.

        It may be too much, but it almost seems like it'd be great if Microsoft moved Live Sync, Mesh, MyPhone, and any other similar syncing properties under Mesh, then present it in a way to show your Computers/Laptops, Mobile Devices (Phones, Zunes), and then the web desktop which would present a general view of all your items.
      • I agree! (nt)