Microsoft Windows Live Essentials 2011: New beta is ready to roll

Microsoft Windows Live Essentials 2011: New beta is ready to roll

Summary: As expected, Microsoft is making a new beta of its Windows Live Essentials 2011 (known currently as "Wave 4") available for download on Tuesday, August 17.


As expected, Microsoft is making a new beta of its Windows Live Essentials 2011 (known currently as "Wave 4") available for download on Tuesday, August 17.

Windows Live Essentials is a bundle of a number of the Windows Live add-on services, unified via a common installer. The Wave 4 suite 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 June.

Update: Earlier today, LiveSide posted a link where anyone interested in testing the Beta 2 "beta refresh" build can download it. But Microsoft is advising those who want to test the latest build to use the Microsoft-provided download link, starting at 11 a.m. PT, instead, in order to get the latest full set of features and updates.

According to Microsoft officials, "those currently using the (existing Windows Live Essentials) Beta will simply need to update to see the new and updated features. The update is largely dedicated to improving performance and innovation based on customers’ needs; however, there are some incremental refreshes of existing features within Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Family Safety, Mail and Writer."

That said, there are a few new features in the updated beta build, according to the Softies. These include Facebook Chat Integration in Messenger; Bing Maps Geotag integration in Photo Gallery; and Flickr video publishing in Movie Maker.

Microsoft officials haven't said when and whether to expect another beta or test build of the Essentials suite. The final version is expected to be released to the Web this fall by many of us Microsoft watchers. (Note: Microsoft is still not acknowledging the final name of the suite will be Windows Live Essentials 2011, but a number of different sources have found links and documentation indicating this likely will be the final name. Even Microsoft is acknowledging now that the final name will be Windows Live Essentials 2011 (which, as we know, means there's a lot of leeway as to when the product may end up going final).

If you download the latest beta of the suite, I'm curious to hear what you think of the new build. I might give the new Live Messenger build another try, given I couldn't get it to work the first time around....

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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  • Downloading now

    I'll post my thoughts in a few, but considering what the first beta was like *cough* HIGHLY unusable *Cough*, I'd expect things to be better this time around.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • First impressions

      Messenger works finally; It isn't crashing or disconnecting me every 5 minutes. <br><br>Photo Gallery is more streamlined, along with mail.

      Photo Gallery also offers 'Live Previews' of the editing options - similar to what you can find in Office 2007 and above. Nice touch there.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Microsoft Windows Live Essentials 2011: New beta is ready to roll

      @NStalnecker I will watch and read all your comments here for a few days before installing on a new 64bit expensive system being configured here. Please advise if you*cough*cuss*or sputter* any more as you beta test this release. The previous release certainly received negative press enough to give me pause on the above mentioned system.
      • If you are nervous about installing the beta


        Then I would wait for the final release. The previous release surprised me to be honest, it was more of an alpha build than a beta build, it was that unstable and unusable.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: Microsoft Windows Live Essentials 2011: New beta is ready to roll

    Wasn't that impressed with Live Messenger - it's seems too busy and I've yet to figure out how to minimize it into the traditional "sidebar" width previous versions had.

    But I would pay a few bucks for Windows Live Writer, which has become a fantastic tool for managing blog content. And for Windows Live Sync, which has been such a great experience that I've not used GoToMyPC or Remote Desktop in months.
    • Messenger Classic


      There should be a button at the top right - looks like a little black box almost - to do that.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Up and running the new Live Essentials 2011 beta

    Just installed it, version 2011 Build 15.4.3002.810 over the previous beta, took 5-8 minutes and a restart. No problem, up and running. Had to reconnect for my Facebook friends but that worked fine, only none of my FB friends are online now. However in this 2010 version the Live Sync is missing for Win 7 and only for Mac now. Luckily the 2010 version of Life Sync is still working. Live Sync was the program that caused all problems with login WLEb with version 2010. Installing wle 2010 beta with Life Sync checked out solved login problems but that's not necessary anymore with wle 2011 beta.
    • Got WLM to work without your workaround

      Thanks for trying to help me get Beta 1 working with WLM. I just downloaded the new beta and they seem to have fixed WLM.. Not sure if they had to do anything to Live Sync to make that happen... MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • Am I to assume...

    Any page on the net which uses the word Microsoft in excess of ten times is now being sponsored by the beautiful bright blue ads I am seeing. Your work is loved by many MJ!
  • Where the Hell did this junk come from?

    I don't blog, I don't do Facebook, I don't own an XBox, nor do I Instant Message. I'm usually very careful when it comes to Windows Updates but must have slipped up and installed Live Essentials when I saw a little yellow update notification flashing in my tray. Microsoft -- Is that how you got me to install all this junk on my computer?
  • Freeware choice

    I also post at about Windows Live Essentials 2011