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Reasons to love Windows Live Essentials 2011

Windows Live Essentials 2011 (Wave 4) is out to download. Here are some of the highlights from across the suite.

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1 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Though it has been in beta for months, many features here have revolutionised the instant messaging platform that we once had. Now, the social revolution begins.
To read more about the final release of Windows Live Essentials 2011, visit the ZDNet iGeneration blog.
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2 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
You can link in many different accounts to your Messenger screen, allowing you to keep track of business and personal connections. MySpace, LinkedIn and Facebook, which includes the ever increasing Facebook chat section, merging your desktop instant messenger into a multi-protocol messaging center.
To read more about the final release of Windows Live Essentials 2011, visit the ZDNet iGeneration blog.
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3 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
You'll notice in Facebook especially, you can hide specific content or people from your profile page. It doesn't mean that it gets wiped off the face of the planet, but allows you to reduce the noise. Windows Live Messenger gives you this feature too, so you can see exactly what you want to, and from the right people.
To read more about the final release of Windows Live Essentials 2011, visit the ZDNet iGeneration blog.
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4 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
If you do link in other accounts, you can take advantage of the applications these services have. Just because you are on Windows Live Messenger doesn't mean you can't jump protocols and chat with someone on Facebook. The experience is completely seamless and keeps you in one place - and if you're in the office and should be getting on with your work, it's only one window you need to minimise and not a dozen.
To read more about the final release of Windows Live Essentials 2011, visit the ZDNet iGeneration blog.
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5 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
If you see an update from somebody, you can keep it all within the window you have. Simply click the name, even if they are not a chat contact or on another network, and it will create its own social tab within your window.
To read more about the final release of Windows Live Essentials 2011, visit the ZDNet iGeneration blog.
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6 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The compact view is what most people would be used to, without all the noise of the social updates and all. You can still switch to this setting if you'd prefer just your instant messaging contacts - Windows Live and others - just to sit quietly in the corner of your screen.
To read more about the final release of Windows Live Essentials 2011, visit the ZDNet iGeneration blog.
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7 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
Windows Live Mail looks rather similar to what it was before, but has been given a much needed facelift. Very few new features have been added, but it is made to feel and act a lot like Outlook does already. With a calendar to the right and able to handle student POP/IMAP email accounts as well as personal email Hotmail/Live or even Gmail accounts, it's perfect for handling email and events.
To read more about the final release of Windows Live Essentials 2011, visit the ZDNet iGeneration blog.
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8 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The Ribbon toolbar, made famous by Office 2007 and Windows 7, has been heavily used in the new Windows Live 2011 suite of applications. Not only does it make it easier for touch screen users to handle, it keeps the interface looking consistent with the environment which the user is already accustomed to.
To read more about the final release of Windows Live Essentials 2011, visit the ZDNet iGeneration blog.
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9 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
As mentioned, you now have a calendar bar to the right hand side which you can turn on or off, but it keeps you aprised of the day's activities. If you are an Outlook Live user, you can also send these to and from other email accounts and colleagues to share meeting dates and suchlike.
To read more about the final release of Windows Live Essentials 2011, visit the ZDNet iGeneration blog.
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10 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet
The memory usage between the beta and final version of Windows Live Messenger 2011 is notably better. In the beta, leaving it on standby it could churn up nearly 125MB of memory whereas now it has been significantly reduced by a quarter. Sitting memory is reduced a great deal to, though constant notifications from other services do bump up the memory usage.
To read more about the final release of Windows Live Essentials 2011, visit the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

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