Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

Summary: On September 30, Microsoft is expected to make available for download the final version of "Wave 4" of its Windows Live Essentials 2011 suite of Windows add-ons.

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On September 30, Microsoft is expected to make available for download the final version of "Wave 4" of its Windows Live Essentials 2011 suite of Windows add-ons.

A couple of enthusiast sites are reporting the final bits should be downloadable around 1 pm ET today. Microsoft isn't confirming the date/time (to me, at least), but I'm inclined to believe what I'm hearing/reading.

Update: Here's the download link for the final WLE 2011 bits.

The WLE 2011 suite includes new versions of Photo Gallery, Mail, Movie Maker, Messenger, Writer (a blogging tool), Family Safety (parental controls), Live Mesh (the PC-sync tool formerly known as Live Sync), the Toolbar, Microsoft Office Outlook Connector, Office Live Add-in and Silverlight. Users can opt to install the suite in its entirety or to choose only certain elements (using the custom-install option from the unified installer).

The products in the Essentials suite are a hybrid of software and services. There are other Windows Live properties that are not part of the suite, including Hotmail and SkyDrive, which are Web services that do not install software on users' machines.

Microsoft has been testing "Wave 4" Windows Live services for months. The new Hotmail was rolled out in August, but has continued to get new features and functionality sporadically in the weeks since then.

The most sweeping changes, at least from a user-interface perspective, among the WLE 2011 products is the new Windows Live Messenger, which Microsoft has made look and feel like Facebook with its exposed activity streams. For those (like me) who don't want to see this view, a small button in the upper right corner of Messenger allows you to go back to the traditional small-panel Messenger view.

Microsoft officials announced plans to axe Windows Live Spaces, the blogging platform that has been part of Windows Live, earlier this week. There's been some discrepancy as to how many active Live Spaces accounts there are out there, with Microsoft originally claiming 30 million, but the real number looking considerably smaller. In any case, Microsoft has lined up WordPress to provide blogs and blog hosting for any Live Spaces customers who want to migrate to WordPress in the next six months.

(Some Microsoft partners are none too happy that Microsoft chose WordPress as its "Plan B," given that WordPress runs on Apache and MySQL, not Microsoft's own stack. But WordPress did announce in 2009 that it is working with Microsoft to make it easier for self-hosting WordPress bloggers to offload "burst" traffic to Windows Azure if and when they need to do so. Contrary to some reports, Automatic, the developer of WordPress, never said it was planning to move the WordPress blogs to Windows Azure.)

Any strong likes/dislikes as to what Microsoft has done with Wave 4 with Windows Live? I guess it's on to Wave 5 now... which will likely be touted as the add-on complements to Windows 8.

Update: Enthusiast Francisco Martin Garcia is running a list of what he says are the new features that Microsoft has added to WLE 2011 since Beta 2, which Microsoft delivered earlier this summer. On that list: New Photo Gallery preview capabilities; Bing Maps and Flickr Video integration with Photo Gallery; better Live Messenger performance, including video-chat performance; and better Gmail support. As more than a few testers have told me, they're more interested in seeing whether Microsoft has fixed the large number of bugs than if they've added more new features....

Topics: Browser, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

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 set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

    I only wish Live Mesh supported XP. I was an avid user of that beta for almost two years, but finally switched over to Live Sync when it became apparent it had been abandoned and they were focusing on Sync. But I stuck with the released version because I still have one XP box at home and my work notebook is XP.

    Looking forward to upgrading when I can replace those two boxes...
    lkjlkjadf
  • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

    Cue Dorklove Rockinson:

    "This is great! Blah blah blah Microsoft I'm Ballmer's lover blah blah blah..."

    "LOOK! HE MENTIONS ME!! HE MENTIONS ME!!! DERP DERP!"
    cyberslammer
    • Gee, I would have never guessed

      that you would come here to post a negative comment, cyberidiot.

      I was being sarcastic, though. I felt I had to point that out to you as you really don't seem all that bright. ;)
      John Zern
      • Don't be mean

        @John Zern
        To call cyberslammer stupid would be an insult to stupid people.*

        *courtesy of A Fish Called Wanda, I'm not bright enough to come up with witty statements like that. :)
        NonZealot
      • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

        @John Zern
        He is the biggest crybaby on ZDNet. Its always wah wah wah with him.
        Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

      @cyberslammer

      Loverock,
      Stay on topic.
      You said it, did you not?
      Get back with the program.


      Hooay!
      daikon
    • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

      @cyberslammer WTF dude... are you on drugs or just another Apple's Fanboy playing stupid?
      Master Skywalker
  • Sweetness

    Can't wait for the final bits!

    Now I guess I'll just wait patiently for all the XP users to start complaining and threatening to switch to Linux because they're not supported...
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

      @Cylon Centurion 0005

      It's a legitimate complaint.
      phantos
      • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

        @phantos

        I'm sure all the old Live app versions will continue to work fine on XP. If one is willing to continue on with an obsolete OS, why complain that it won't run the newest apps? And, as a Win7 user, I don't want MS to put more resources into supporting XP, because that would limit development for users of current product.

        I wish I could plug my mp3 player into the stereo on my old VW, something I could do if I replaced the car with a newer one. But I'm not cursing VW for their failure to retrofit that feature into my old model.
        1DaveN
      • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

        @phantos
        Not so sure it is a legit complaint. XP is ancient, yet not too many companies do backwards compatibility quite as far reaching as MS. It is time to kill XP already. Small moves like this will help convince people it is time to move on. Your 10 year wave is about to crash. Truth is, those who do complain won't go to Linux anyway. That is why people have held on dearly to XP for so long. They don't want to change and Linux is a huge change for the average joe.
        djmik
      • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

        @phantos

        Not really. You can't keep adding features to old software just because the newer version got it. No other OS or Software does this. How many titles/features require you to have OS X Leopard (10.5.x) or Snow Leopard (10.6.x) that you cannot get in OS X Tiger (10.4.x)?

        How many features are in Ubuntu 10.x that are not in 8.x or 8.x or what features are in newer forms of linux that you cannot get in older versions?

        How may features are available in Program Version "Y" that are not in Program Version "X" or Version "W"?

        Get over it.
        bobiroc
      • No, it is not.

        @phantos

        It is time to move on. If you are choosing to remain behind, please quit dragging the rest of us with you. I for one, applaud Microsoft's decision to move on.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

        @phantos
        Thec complaint is expected, but isn't really legit.
        I saw on Neowin that WL uses D2D/Directwrite which XP doesn't support.
        Adding to that, XP is old and mainstream support expired
        artstate
      • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

        @phantos <br>To all of you applauding MS, get you head out of your @#$<br>I understand most of the Windows Live feature are targetted towards home users, but Live Sync/Live Mesh is a feature that connects both our private and work live.<br><br>I have XP boxes at work that I can't force my employers to upgrade, I have got files on it that I sync with my Windows 7 laptop, this sync is essential for my employment, it affords me to work from home. If MS kills Sync/Mesh on XP, that means I can't work remote again. This is not something small, I am not talking of pleasure here. All my pc at home are Win7 devices, but I don't have the influence of policy at work.<br><br>Before you start heaping praise on MS for not supporting XP, realize that MS promised to support XP at the enterprise level till at least 2014, so abandoning XP at this point is a failure to keep its promise.
        eInfinity
      • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

        @eInfinity

        MS said they would support Windows XP, meaning they would support the OS. Windows Live Mesh (as it's the official name) is just a program. It's not apart of the OS which they support. Supporting an OS != Making programs for an OS.

        I have a question. Why don't you use Remote Desktop to connect to work from home?
        Zedox
    • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

      @eInfinity

      But by this time next year, how many corporate users will still be on XP? Not as many as you think.

      With hardware refreshes coming up the next two years, they'll have no choice but to upgrade the OS as well. XP should be all but gone within that time.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

    The original movie maker for XP was almost as good a iMovie on the Mac. The Windows Live Essentials version is practically useless. I'd rather make movies in Power Point. That said, I really have no other motivation to install a bunch of random crap to my machine and essentially hand Microsoft the keys to the castle.
    Socratesfoot
    • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

      @Socratesfoot
      If you are running Windows, how are you handing MS anything?
      mdemuth
  • RE: Microsoft set to release final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011

    So... did they go back to Mesh? or is this:
    " Live Mesh (the PC-sync tool formerly known as Live Sync),"
    a typo?

    I hope they fixed the IMAP message compose errors in Live Mail...
    bc3tech