Windows Essentials now available
With all the name changing that is going on it is sometimes hard to keep an overview of what is going on. Microsoft has just released Windows Essentials 2012, which many of you probably know as Windows Live Essentials instead.
Update: Microsoft retired Windows Essentials in 2017 and has removed all downloads as a consequence from its websites. You can grab the latest offline installer here.
As far as compatibility goes, all products of the program collection are compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8. I read that Vista users can also install at least some of the programs but could not verify that.
Microsoft is offering a web installer, which downloads the programs that you select during installation and requires an Internet connection because of this, and an offline installer for Windows Essentials 2012:
- Windows Essentials 2012 offline installerÂ Note: if you want the program in another language, simply change the en to that language code, e.g. de for German, es for Spanish or hi for Hindi. Vishal has a full list of offline installers available on his site.
- Windows Essentials 2012 web installer Same process here to change the language.
When you launch Windows Essentials 2012 afterwards you are presented with the following screen that is highlighting the applications that you can install, and the apps that will be updated on the system automatically.
On Windows 7 you get access to the following apps:
- Photo Gallery and Movie Maker
- Family Safety
- Microsoft SkyDrive
Photo Gallery and Movie Maker have been updated by Microsoft for this release. The updates are only available for Windows 7 and Windows 8, and add the following new features to the programs:
- Video stabilization
- Integration of AudioMicro, Free Music Archive and Vimeo Music into Movie Maker
- Text effects
- H.264 is the default format when saving movies
- Auto Collage feature for Photo Gallery
- Vimeo is now an official partner, so that videos from Movie Maker and Photo Gallery can be shared directly to the video hosting website.
Microsoft has yet to make an official announcement about the release. While the company has highlighted the feature changes in Movie Maker and Photo Gallery, it did not update the official Windows Live Essentials website yet, nor did the company make an announcement at the official Windows Live blog (which probably will be renamed soon).
Older News about Windows Live Essentials
Microsoft to launch Windows Live Essentials 2011 Later Today (2010/09/30)
Microsoft are set to launch the final version of Windows Live EssentialsÂ 2011 later today according to NeoWin.Â I suspected something was happening when I awoke this morning to see that Microsoft senior vice-president Steven Sinofsky had changed his profile picture on Facebook to the Windows Live Essentials 2011 logo, the story from NeoWin then confirmed my suspicions.
Windows Live Essentials is commonly called just that, essential for Windows users.Â The latest version will not run on Windows XP because it takes advantage of hardware graphic acceleration that was introduced with Windows Vista.It includes old favourites such as Windows Live Messenger, which has also today been confirmed for Windows Phone 7, and utterly indispensable programs such as Live Photo Gallery, Live Writer and Windows Live Mail.
When it becomes available properly you will be able to download it at http://download.live.com
The last beta-refresh of the suite was a month and a half ago, on August 17th and the beta was first released to the public on June 24th.
The new suite takes full advantage of the ribbon interface originally seen in Microsoft office 2007 but now also implemented into Windows 7 features such as Wordpad and Paint.
New programs in the Live Essentials 2011 suite include Live Mesh (formerly Live Sync) that allows you to automatically synchronise files and folders across multiple PCs and better tools to help integrate Windows Live messenger into other programs such as Microsoft Outlook.
Windows Live Essentials Released, Offline Installer Download (2010/09/30)
Microsoft has just released the final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011, the popular software compilation that contains programs such as Messenger, Photo Gallery, Mail or Movie Maker. There is no announcement yet on the changes, except that the 2011 edition of Windows Live integrates fully with Microsoft's latest operating system Windows 7, including full support for jumplists and other features of the OS.
The official Windows Live website links only to a download of the web installer of Windows Live Essentials 2011. The web installer has a small size and requires an Internet connection during installation, as it retrieves all application files from the web.
Some users may prefer an offline installer, especially if they want to install Windows Live Essentials 2011 on a PC without (permanent) Internet connection. Those users can download the offline installer of the software suite here.
The system requirements offer virtually no surprises, especially for users who already took a look at the beta release of Live Essentials. Like the beta, Windows Live Essentials 2011 is only compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows Vista and Windows 7, and the Windows Server 2008 releases. Sorry Windows XP users, no Live Essentials update for you this time. Windows XP users are stuck with the 2010 releases of Windows Live.
- Operating system: 32- and 64-bit editions of Windows Vista Service Pack 2 with the Platform Update for Windows Vista, or Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2 and the Platform Update for Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2.
- Processor: 1.6 GHz or higher
- Memory: 1 GB of RAM or higher
- Resolution: Minimum: 1024 Ã— 576
- Internet connection: Internet functionality requires dial-up or broadband Internet access (provided separately). Local or long-distance charges may apply. High-speed Internet access is recommended for some features.
- Graphics or video card: Windows Live Movie Maker requires a video card that supports DirectX 9 or higher and Shader Model 2 or higher.
Have you downloaded the 2011 version of Windows Live Essentials? What's your first impression of it? Did you use the web installer or offline installer?
Windows Live Essentials Beta Updated, Download Now (2010/08/17)
Windows Live Essentials will be the next iteration of Microsoft's popular Windows Live applications suite. The first beta was released back in June (see Windows Live Essentials Beta Download), and several news sites were reporting that beta 2 would be released in this week. The day of the release has come, as download links went live a few hours ago.
The Liveside blog discovered all download links prior to the official announcement by Microsoft, which is expected to hit the official website later today.
Below are the web and full download links for all supported languages of the beta. As you can see, seven languages next to English are available: French, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese.
- English: Web - Full
- French: Web â€“ Full
- German: Web â€“ Full
- Dutch: Web â€“ Full
- Portuguese (Brazilian): Web â€“ Full
- Spanish: Web â€“ Full
- Japanese: Web â€“ Full
- Chinese (Simplified): Web â€“ Full
The full installer comes at a size of about 151 Megabytes, the web installer is considerably smaller, but requires an Internet connection during setup to download additional program packages.
So what's new in the new beta version of Windows Live Essentials?
This new version of the suite, incorporates new icons, new features, many bugs fixed since version Beta releases and what more importantâ€¦ The incorporation Windows Live Language Setting with all language packs (MUI) & (LIP) for example Catalan and Euskera for Spanish version.
This program brings new features like the ability to change languages or install (automatically for the web) the additional languages.
Additional information will become available once Microsoft announces the new beta version official on their Windows Live blog.
Update: The post is live, and it contains lots of information about the Windows Live Essentials 2011 Beta Refresh:
Performance and quality of service improvements
A quicker Messenger â€“ The time it takes to sign in, and to refresh contacts and social feeds, as well as animation speed, are all faster than in previous versions of Messenger.
More efficient video chat - Messenger video chat uses 30% fewer CPU resources by offloading work to the GPU.
Better facial recognition - Photo Gallery facial recognition is improved significantly and works more quickly.
Larger movie uploads - Movie Maker will upload higher resolution movies to SkyDrive (480x640 vs. the previous 320x480).
Higher bit-rate movies - Movie Maker now supports higher quality (bit-rate) content.
Better spell-checking - Writer has significantly improved the quality of its spell-checking.
Better integration with Office - Writer is much better at retaining all formatting when you copy and paste from Word and other Microsoft Office programs.
Better handling of Gmail â€“ Mail now automatically handles Gmailâ€™s spam and trash folders properly.
Faster web filtering - Family Safety web filtering is 35% faster than in the previous version.
Facebook chat in Messenger
Many of you have been asking for Facebook chat, and itâ€™s finally here. More than half of all Messenger customers also use Facebook. With the previous beta, you got a rich social view that brought together all your updates (including those from Facebook) and gave you one place to see and comment on them. With the new Facebook chat integration, you now also have one place to chat with all your friends. And if you use Facebook but donâ€™t use Messenger today, you now have an always-on â€œpeople appâ€ on your PC that gives you instant access and notifications as people come online in Facebook or Messenger.
Quick previews and improved tree view in Photo Gallery
One of the benefits of the new ribbon user interface in Windows Live Essentials is the ability it gives you to preview a change before you apply it simply by hovering over the option. With the beta update today, weâ€™ve also added preview capabilities to the â€œFindâ€ tab in the ribbon. So before you apply a filter (date, rating, people tags), you can hover over one of those filters and see the results instantly.
Flickr video publishing and Snapshot in Movie Maker
With the new Snapshot feature in Movie Maker, you can select a single frame from a video as it appears in the preview window and add it to your movie. This allows you to quickly grab an image that you want to keep or perhaps use for your movieâ€™s intro or closing.
In addition, because we know many of you use Flickr for photo sharing and have enjoyed publishing to Flickr right from Photo Gallery, weâ€™ve extended support to Movie Maker, so that you can now publish videos directly from Movie Maker or Photo Gallery to Flickr too.
Several of the improvements and new features improve the user experience a lot. Facebook chat integration will appeal to a lot of users, the new option to upload movies and photos to Flickr is plain awesome, the improvements in movie maker that now supports higher quality content, coupled with the increase in movie resolutions that can be uploaded to SkyDrive show that Microosft is on the right way.
We suggest to download the Windows Live Essentials Full installer which offers several advantages including the possibility to distribute it to several computer systems without having to download the program packages over and over again.
Have you tried the second beta of Windows Live Essentials? Let us know what you think of it in the comments.
Update: The beta releases are outdated and have been removed. You can download the latest Windows Live Essentials release from the official website now.
Windows Live Essentials Beta Download (2010/06/24)
The Windows Live Essentials beta download has just been enabled by Microsoft. Interested users can download the next iteration of Windows Live directly from the official website. Downloads are provided in seven different languages including English, Chinese, French and Spanish.
Only the Web Setup installer is offered on the site. The setup routine on the local system downloads and installs the different programs automatically upon execution.
Two different clients are offered on the Explore Live website. The first wlsetup-webd.exe will automatically download and install the Windows Live Essential applications, the second wlsetup-webc.exe offers a selection menu to install only specific applications as part of the Windows Live Essentials suite.
The available programs are:
Outlook Connector Pack
Photo Gallery and Movie Maker
It is recommended to download the second client to prevent the installation of programs that are not needed (by clicking on Choose the programs you want and selecting a language)
This beta release of windows Live Essentials is focusing on two things: Connecting Windows to the cloud and making everyday tasks simpler.
Weâ€™ve designed Essentials to connect your Windows experience to the web services you already use â€“ not just the ones from Microsoft. The new betas of Windows Live Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail, Writer, and Messenger connect to photo and video sharing (SkyDrive, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, SmugMug), social networking (Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin), email (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail), blogging (Spaces, WordPress, Blogger), and document productivity (Office Web Apps) services. And the new Windows Live Sync keeps your files synchronized across multiple PCs and in the cloud. You can even directly access your PC over the web with Sync's new remote desktop feature.
People like to get creative on their PCs as much as they like seeing what everyone else has been up to. Whether itâ€™s Retouch, Panoramic Stitch, or Photo Fuse in Photo Gallery, Auto Movie in Movie Maker, or photo email in the new Windows Live Mail, we think youâ€™ll be excited by the new additions to Essentials that make advanced tasks, well, easy. If you havenâ€™t yet tried PhotoFuse to merge together the best of several photos, itâ€™s a lot of fun.
Windows Live Essentials is only compatible with Windows Vista and Windows 7 but not the widely used Windows XP operating system. Windows Live users need to make sure to follow this link to the beta page over at the Windows Live website to be able to download the beta installation clients. No direct link is provided on the Windows live page.
No Windows Live Wave 4 for XP says Microsoft (2010/04/23)
Things are not looking bright for users of the Windows XP operating system as companies are starting to drop Windows XP support or compatibility. Microsoft for one said that the upcoming Windows Live Wave 4 suite would not support Windows XP at all. Windows Live is a collection of popular applications including Windows Messenger, Windows Live Mail or Movie Maker.
Current releases of Windows Live will continue to be supported on XP and the web based services of Windows Live Wave 4 will also be supported. Only the desktop applications won't be supported anymore.
Windows XP is nearly 10 years old and simply doesnâ€™t provide the same level of platform support for graphics, and we recognized early in our work on Wave 4 that we could do much more in our software on a modern graphics platform. As a result our new version of Essentials will require the new graphics platform and controls that are only available on Windows 7 or Windows Vista and therefore will only run on these platforms.
Windows Live Wave 4 is on the other hand not the only Microsoft software that will not be made available for Windows XP. Microsoft's upcoming Internet browser Internet Explorer 9 will also lack Windows XP support.
Windows XP users on the other hand have many solid alternatives at hand that they can use without difficulties. But so do Windows 98 users.
Windows XP is currently dominating the operating system market with a market share of about 60% followed by Vista with roughly 16% and Windows 7 with 10%. The trend on the other hand shows a decline of about 10% in the last ten months.
Windows Live Wave 3, One Day On... (2008/09/19)
The public beta release of Windows Live Wave 3 was released yesterday. Iâ€™ve had a day to play around with it and am really enjoying the new features and capabilities of the software suite.
The New UI
Iâ€™m a little undecided on the new look for the Windows Live suite.
On one hand I donâ€™t like to critique design changes until Iâ€™ve had a real chance to play around, get used to it and determine whether or not it is actually for the better. The Wave 3 UI however isnâ€™t dramatically different from the Wave 2 â€˜aeroâ€™ theme however itâ€™s now much lighter and a bit sleeker, it also removes all icons from the toolbar which is what I donâ€™t like at all.
What I donâ€™t like about the new theme is that it brings with it a whole new load of UI inconsistencies between applications and services, something I hope successive releases would work on improving, not accentuating. Now the Live services contain a range of themes ranging from the original â€˜Flairâ€™ UI through to the new Wave 3 UI which itself contains two different themes â€“ the new Live Messenger UI and the rest of the applications.
So my conclusion is the new UI is nice, but unnecessary and brings perhaps more annoyances then benefits.
The Live Suite Applications
As far as the applications and new features go this is a great release. The standout of course is the calendar synchronisation across Windows Live which is something weâ€™ve been missing for years now.
Yes itâ€™s a beta release so there are bugs. The customisation button for changing colours isnâ€™t working very well right now, Writer has the occasional problem with refreshing blog themes, Windows Live Photo Gallery spikes the CPU when scanning for photos or detecting faces and also sometimes fails to fully shut down the process when closing the program. The â€˜unreadâ€™ counts in Live Mail are also pretty buggy as Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll notice and experience when using the application.
Aside from those minor issues which are expected in a beta release, the applications are actually considerably faster and more responsive â€“ particularly Live Photo Gallery which I was most impressed with.
Windows Live MovieMaker
The odd one out is the new Windows Live MovieMaker which is actually so basic as to be not even worth using, however it is worth taking a look at as obviously over the next year it will be improved upon in the same way the other live applications have.
I really donâ€™t understand however why this application which has been rumoured for years now is so lackingâ€¦ how can the biggest software company in the world take so long to create something like this? I hate to go on so much about it considering it is a beta release, but seriously Windows MovieMaker was basic to begin with, Vista barely improved it and now for Windows 7 we are essentially going to get exactly the same product but this time as a downloadable app rather then bundled.
So Moviemaker is at the same place it was at 10 years ago?
Windows Live Wave 3 is available (2008/09/18)
Martin pointed out a few hours ago Windows Live Wave 3 would be up for download soon, well good news! Itâ€™s finally here and you download it right away!
Iâ€™m typing this is as I sit here waiting for the 134mb file to download so I canâ€™t give you my opinions on the update yet but here are some views from nerds others who stayed up all night waiting for a software download for a scoop:
The surprising Live MovieMaker is sporting the Ribbon UI:
The vastly improved Live Mail:
Weâ€™ve been using Windows Live Mail to manage our LiveSide email for our individual accounts and for feedback and tips, and it already has been far superior to Outlook, even with the Connector, for managing multiple Hotmail accounts.Â Now with better performance and a new calendar, weâ€™re even happierâ€ â€“ LiveSide
The fantastic Live Writer:
Alot of what is in this new beta was seen in the Live Writer CTP back in June, like the SDK we have already discussed, and nothing is new from that point of view. Obviously the UI has changed to look more in line with the rest of the Wave 3 productsâ€ - LiveSide
The elegant Live Photo Gallery:
Photo Gallery had been a solid tool that does what it should do, and with additional features that helps you to better manage your photos and share them with the rest of the worldâ€¦ The software, although still in beta stages, is quite stable and functional. However, it is quite disappointing that it doesnâ€™t have the consistent look and feel with the other Wave 3 applicationâ€ â€“ LiveSide
It also includes a new API which is going to be great if developers and online photo haring services begin taking advtanage of it:
brand new, simple framework that enables developers to create photo and video publishing plug-ins. The framework defines a set of interfaces that facilitate communication between Photo Gallery and the plug-in. The plug-in developer has creative control of the user interface of the plug-in and handles the details of communication with the 3rd party serviceâ€ - LiveSide
The less advertising focused Live Messenger 9.0 has too much new stuff to describve in just a few sentences so download it yourself if youâ€™re that interested!
looks awesome, despite reports about Microsoft backing away from a supposed WPF-based designâ€ â€“ Paul Thurrot
There are also updates to the Windows Live Toolbar and Family Safety software, but who cares about them?!
Haha, anyway enough of that. My download is finished so Iâ€™m closing Writer down to update and trying all of this for myself!
Windows Live Wave 3 Betas Available (2008/09/17)
Public beta downloads of Windows Live Wave 3 will be available for all users later today. If you cannot wait to get your hands on the newest beta of Windows Live you can download the installers right away. This installer contains options to download all Windows Live applications, the latest beta versions, directly from Microsoft servers to the local system.
You can either download all programs at once, or select the programs that you want to download or update. If a program is already installed on the system, it will be automatically updated to the latest beta version. Programs that are not installed yet, can be installed.The available programs are Messenger Beta, Mail Beta, Toolbar Beta, Photo Gallery Beta, Family Safety Beta, Microsoft Office Outlook Connector Beta and Writer Beta.
All downloads are available in English, German, Italian, French and Spanish with more to come later today. Each setup displays the list of programs available. By default all are selected but the user can select those that he does not want to install. Once the selection has been made they can be downloaded and installed with a click on the install button in the interface.
If you are new to Windows Live, you may find the information displayed on the right helpful as it provides you with a short description of each program's functionality.
Joshua has posted an article about Windows Live Wave 3 previously which contains a good overview of the changes in the new version.
Note: Microsoft has phased out the Windows Live brand shortly before the release of Windows 8 in August 2012. Programs and services are still available, and most kept their name, but they all lost the Windows Live brand tag in front of them. The last to shut down is Games for Windows Live in 2014.
Windows Live Wave 3 (2008/09/08)
I have no idea how soon before we see a general release of the next wave of Windows Live services, however more information is becoming available and a lot of new features are being announced:
Windows Live Mail
Windows Live Mail is a great little program, a desktop mail application which provides a simplified Outlook kind of experience, Wave 3 will continue to develop this and complete the process of turning it into a Personal Information Manager (PIM) with Windows Live Calendar synchronisation (Finally!).
Windows Live MovieMaker
No MovieMaker isnâ€™t great, but itâ€™s good enough for sayâ€¦ people like my Dad. Although itâ€™s been known to be coming for a long time now Live Movie Maker will be released for the first time with Wave 3. Emphasis will be on creating simple, easy to make movies which can then be published to sharing websites online, similar to what Live Photo Gallery offers for Flickr publishing.
Windows Live Photo Gallery
Google stole Live Labsâ€™ thunder by introducing people tagging in Picasa first, but itâ€™s still good news Live users are getting it as well. If youâ€™ve used Facebook photo tagging youâ€™ll know how it works, the big feature however is that ones youâ€™ve tagged someone, Live Photo Gallery will be able to recognise people and tag them in all your other photographs.
It will also connect up the people tagged in your photographs with their Windows Live contact details, if they have one. Now I think that is pretty darn cool.
Windows Live Messenger
An old Live Messenger 9 leaked ages ago, however I wonâ€™t get too excited about it until it includes multi-client support, and I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s ever gonna happen =( More unknown features are coming in the Wave 3 final build.
Windows Live Writer
A lot of the new Writer features are already available in the Technical Preview, however the final Wave 3 release will also include support for Windows Live Events (and I know we all use that), uploading videos to YouTube, Soapbox and possible other video services and also has a slightly redesigned UI. Thankfully that includes this:
Â â€¦ which for me is going to go right down with â€˜word countâ€™ as the most useful features in Live Writer =PAdvertisement