Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

Summary: Microsoft is preparing to deliver a second beta of the next version of its Windows Live Essentials suite next week.


Microsoft is preparing to deliver a second beta of the next version of its Windows Live Essentials suite next week.

That's the word from blogger Francisco Martin Garcia, who posted about the coming beta on his blog on August 11. (Garcia's had a good track record on predicting Microsoft delivery dates for various consumer wares.) Enthusiast site Neowin also is reporting the second beta will hit next week, naming Tuesday, August 18 17 as the likely delivery date. I am hearing the 17th is Microsoft's target for the beta, as well.

(Microsoft officials aren't commenting on when or if a next Windows Live Essentials beta will hit.)

Windows Live Essentials is a bundle of a number of the Windows Live add-on services, unified via a common installer. The latest Essentials suite is codenamed Windows Live Essential Wave 4 -- but expected to be known as Windows Live Essentials 2011 when the final version is rolled out. It includes updated versions of Messenger, Live Mail, Writer, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Live Sync (which is now Live Mesh plus the existing Live Sync), Family Safety and the Bing Toolbar. Microsoft delivered a first beta of the Wave 4 bundle in late July June.

Microsoft originally was touting the forthcoming free Windows Live Essentials Suite as something that can meet and beat the $79 Apple iLife suite. More recently, Microsoft officials began positioning the next version of the Essentials suite -- plus the other Windows Live services that aren't part of Essentials (like Hotmail) as the foundation of Microsoft users' "personal clouds." Live Essentials is meant to complement Windows 7 and Vista, but won't install on XP.

According to Garcia, the new beta will incorporate new icons, new features and many bug fixes. He didn't specify any of those features or fixes. One fix I'm personally hoping for is to remedy whatever is kept Windows Live Messenger Wave 4 Beta 1 from working on my Windows 7 PC. I got it to work twice but then kept receiving messages telling me the service was unavailable. When I did log in, Messenger froze my PC. Microsoft officials didn't have a suggested fix for me, so I'm back to the Wave 3 Live Messenger for now.

Microsoft officials haven't said when to expect the company to launch the final version of Live Essentials 2011/Wave 4. Originally it was expected this summer, but fall is now looking more likely.

Meanwhile, in other Windows Live news, Microsoft is now telling Hotmail users who are having problems reading and writing e-mail after being upgraded to Wave 4 Hotmail that fixes are in the works for various problems. One hotfix is coming this week, Microsoft officials are saying, and another may be rolled out as part of a refresh for Hotmail next week, according to reports.

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, 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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  • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

    I think you mean "Microsoft delivered a first beta of the Wave 4 bundle in late JUNE"
    angarita calvo
    • June for Beta 1

      Yes you are right. Thanks. Fixed. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
    • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

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    • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

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  • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

    I hope they fix the tagging in photo gallery.
    • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

      @CobraA1 What problems do you have?
      • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

        @jagansai Dunno if you tried wave 3 or not, but in wave 4 tagging is a royal mess compared to what it was before. It's been scattered around the new ribbon UI and lost the very nice drag and drop tagging.

        Windows live photo gallery wave 3 was the best tagging system in [i]any[/i] product I've tried, period.
  • Same Messenger Issue

    MJF, I had exactly the same issue with WLMw4 on my Windows 7 PC as well and like you I had to roll back to the old version. Too bad, because I was really liking 2011 the opportunities I had to use it!
    • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

      @GoodThings2Life I only saw the error where Messenger Wave 4 can't sign in on one of my laptops, but it turned out that all that I had to do in order to get it working was to tell the login screen to 'forget me' from its drop down list of users and then sign in again fresh.

      After that it was smooth sailing. Let me know if this isn't the case for you.
      • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011


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  • XP support

    Alas they don't support XP making it irrelevant for me. I haven't seen any mention of any component using Direct2D/DirectWrite unlike IE9 which truly uses these at its core. Live Wave 4 is falsely dependent on Vista by using the Windows Ribbon framework which was only ported up to Vista instead of using the Office 2010 Ribbon which is improved in fact and supports XP as well. In one of the interviews by Ina Fried, their VP says "We just decided not to support XP". Now that's evil without any real dependency on Vista.
    • Upgrade or GTFO.

      They want people to upgrade. It's time to let XP die.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

      @anonymuos First of all, support for XP is starting to wane at Microsoft. It is, after all, a legacy OS by now and Microsoft is up to Windows 7.

      Second of all, if you want hardware acceleration, Firefox will also have hardware accelerated graphics soon.

      Also - the UI hasn't been implemented in IE9 yet, so I don't know why you're talking about the ribbon interfaces. In fact, I'd probably bet against IE9 using one of the ribbons in it at all, as it doesn't really make sense in a browser.
      • Safe bet


        Microsoft toyed with a ribbon UI for IE8 and went against it. I'd say that is done and over with.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

        @CobraA1 Most of the Windows Live 4 applications use the ribbon interface now. I don't know why he is talking about IE9 while we are talking about Windows Live Essentials.
  • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

    The only problem I've had with Wave4 so far is that it killed Vipre. The solution found through forums at Sunbelt Software was to unregister C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\microsoft shared\Windows Live\WLIDNSP.DLL

    I've seen no ill effects from having done so and everything I've used (haven't used Movie Maker yet and don't use Family Safety) works still.
  • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

    This may not seem relevant, but I hate those gray characters they use for contacts in Messenger are the worst for those of us that use a big screen far from us (32 inches or more at 6ft). Almost unreadable. Something with better contrast would be appreciated. I just went back to the old messenger version because of that.
    Master Skywalker
  • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

    I find rebooting fixes the 'can't connect' error, but it's a pain. of course rebooting may just give the service time to get back to work after its tea break...
  • 7 fixes to windows live mail i'd like to see

    here are the fixes i'd like to see in the livemail part.

    1. allow us to have text in the names of quick access toolbar. the icons are so dinky, it is hard to click on them AND I can't tell the difference between many of the icons.

    2. emailing to groups does not work. it just doesn't mail the email.

    3. insert signature--where is it? needs to be included.

    4. I can't see the names of attached files--they get cut off. very little of the name shows.

    5. my signature does not include the return in it so it winds up looking like this:
    jim hanson :)

    6. let us have a send button in the quick access toolbar for replies. the send button is in kind of a weird spot.

    7. allow the calendar to show a full year. that would be a huge help to me and many people I know that have to make year long plans.
  • RE: Microsoft readies Beta 2 of Windows Live Essentials 2011

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