Microsoft to retire Live Mesh PC-sync service in February 2013

Microsoft to retire Live Mesh PC-sync service in February 2013

Summary: As of February 2013, Microsoft's Live Mesh PC-sync service will be no more. SkyDrive is its replacement.


Live Mesh fans, the day many of you feared has come: Microsoft is acknowledging its plans to "retire" its Live Mesh PC-sync service on February 13, 2013.


"(W)e’re starting to communicate with the remaining Mesh users and provide a set of instructions on how to keep their files in sync and alternative options for some of the features they’re still using," said the Redmondians in a December 13 post on the "Inside SkyDrive" blog.

Microsoft introduced Live Mesh back in 2008 with much fanfare. The original plans for Live Mesh were quite ambitious; it was supposedly going to be a lot more than just a sync service in its full implementation.

But there have been growing hints for some time that Microsoft planned to replace Live Mesh with SkyDrive.

Microsoft officials said in today's blog post that "at one point," Live Mesh was used by "a few million people," but claimed "most" have already moved to SkyDrive, its cloud storage service. Currently, according to the Softies, there are fewer than 25,000 active users of Live Mesh. Microsoft officials said more than 200 million people "have used" SkyDrive.

Back in November, Microsoft announced the addition to SkyDrive of selective sync -- a feature many Live Mesh users wanted to come to SkyDrive. But it wasn't full selective sync, as becomes evident when reading tweets, comments and email from users who were quick to check out the new feature.

With the already-delivered selective sync in SkyDrive, users can select what they sync and can share files and folders directly from the Windows File Explorer. Users can select which folders from SkyDrive are synced, so that it's not an all or nothing proposition. New users can set this up when they first install SkyDrive on PCs or Macs. Those with SkyDrive will receive automatic updates and notifications of the new functionality.

Microsoft announced this week that it is bringing SkyDrive to the Xbox.

Topics: Cloud, Collaboration, Microsoft, PCs


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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  • Sorry to see Mesh go.

    I guess I'm one of the 25,000, and even though I made the switch to Skydrive a while back. I still use Mesh because I like the idea of Remote Desktop Access using my Live Account.
    • remote desktop

      yup! thats the only thing i miss from live mesh. I really hope they add this feature to skydrive soon.
      • Missing

        I am going to miss the ability to Sync files from PC to PC without counting against your SkyDrive storage limit as well as multiple users (which SkyDrive can't do).
        • Cubby

          I switched to Cubby for that functionality (
      • They won't...

        Remote Desktop is a huge proposition for Microsoft, since they view it as an enterprise function and there are plenty of other solutions for that. However, do keep in mind that they already allow remote access to the system's drives, so they figure that accounts for a bulk reason to remote access those systems anyway.

        If you have Windows 7/8 Pro, you can, of course, configure the built-in Remote Desktop, and quite frankly, with such cheap options to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro available, you'd be crazy not to just do that and use that as your solution instead of paying someone else.
    • PC to PC Sync

      Same here. I've been using the services since the FolderShare days, and SyncToy before that. I always know I have my business and Quickbooks files on one of the other computers in the case one crashes - without storing them in the cloud. I do have a Cubby account that I've never used...guess I'll head over to the site and check it out.
  • Remote desktop, and PC to PC Sync was awesome

    I am one of the 25,000 users and will miss these features. Hopefully they will incorporate it in Skydrive.
    The PC to PC sync was great, use any PC and have your data accessible and synced
    • It's the PC to PC sync...

      ...that made Mesh so cool. Bypassing the cloud completely was a brilliant idea, and I wish they'd implement that into SkyDrive. It would make that 7GB of storage more meaningful to users.

      I think there's at least a CHANCE of this feature coming to SkyDrive at some point.
  • Giveth and Taketh

    To bad about the PC to PC. The Remote functionality was hand for supporting family members. Hope they have something in mind for Skydrive.
  • Microsoft to retire Live Mesh PC-sync service in February 2013

    It was fun while it lasted. Time to move to Skydrive and build upon its service.
  • good bye - glad to see that experiment g o n e .................

    good riddens. mesh screwed up my favorites big time on both versions of mesh.

    does anyone know when skydrive app is going to be updated for vista administrators ??
  • Live Mesh was brilliant

    Will miss the dual monitor Remote desktop feature in Live mesh as well as the PC sync...
    • re: brilliant dual monitor Remote desktop feature

      Didn't even realize that feature.
      Jay Englund
  • Comparing oranges and apples

    Saying SkyDrive is a replacement for Mesh is like saying restaurants are a replacement for cooking at home. Technically, they both involve food, although I guess I could stretch the analogy and say that, at the SkyDrive Restaurant, you get it their way, in tiny portions, they know what you're eating, and it's expensive.

    And surely they mean 25000 [concurrent] users [whose names start with k and have 5 letters] [in the middle of the night]. I wouldn't be able to find a member of a 25000 member community on the internet if I tried, yet Mesh users are everywhere.

    When Mesh stops working on my machines, SkyDrive is getting the boot too.
  • The Pitfalls Of Proprietary

    When you depend on a proprietary software/protocols, you're completely at the mercy of that party's business plans. It's like playing Russian roulette and you just ran out of luck. :-(

    The good news is that you don't need Microsoft to do what the rest of us do for free. Look into "owncloud" and also "icloud"; you can set up YOUR OWN cloud and have unlimited storage and the personal security you don't get from having someone else host your files. You could even use something as small as a PogoPlug for the server!

    With open protocols like SSH (think of it as FTP with keys and encryption added) you don't need Microsoft to enable PC-to-PC syncing. The rest of us use SSHFS which enables us to see an SSH connection as just another directory on the hard drive. There is one implementation of SSHFS for Windows that I've seen so far but it does cost $40. The Hak5 video podcasts have an excellent episode on SSHFS including information for Windows users. Think of it as like Windows Samba shares but that works not only on the local network but across the Internet as well! There are also tools like "rsync" available for all OSes that will sync directories if you've been offline for a time.
    There are open implementations of VNC and RDP as well.

    Check into some of these and you'll discover you can do more than what you could before without being at the mercy of anyone else's business plans and with greater personal security. You'll be glad you did... just remember to choose open standards in the future whenever possible to avoid this happening again.
  • remote desktop, etc

    I heavily use remote desktop to support a child in college; I will find that a pain to replace. And as to using anything from Windoze8, no way, no how will that garbage be installed, other then in a virtual machine, on any PC I own UNTIL the Win 7 full desktop GUI is back. Those who say I can force it back, sure, except that I got a promise from Microsoft that it will block that solution.