Microsoft has made Windows Live Essentials 2011 available for download. While it's available to Windows 7 and Vista users, however, Windows XP users will have to upgrade or do without.
Microsoft made its new Windows Live Essentials 2011 available for download
Sept. 30. The software suite offers services for photo sharing, blogging,
e-mail and document productivity. However, it is available only for Windows 7
and Vista users.
Windows Live Essentials 2011 can be
In addition to updated versions of Messenger, Photo
Gallery, Movie Maker and Mail, the suite includes features such as "Family
Safety" parental controls and Windows Live Mesh, which allows users to access
and synchronize files on different computers.
Windows Live Photo Gallery
lets users share photos on SkyDrive, Flickr, SmugMug, Facebook and similar
services; it also incorporates new facial recognition technology that allows
the program to tag people in photos.
The Windows Live Mail 2011 e-mail client supports multiple e-mail accounts,
and brings calendar and RSS feeds to the platform. E-mail accounts can be
color-coded for easier management. Users can also take advantage of Windows
Live SkyDrive to send albums' worth of high-resolution photos to others.
Messenger incorporates feeds, photos and updates from social-networking
services such as Facebook and LinkedIn; it also offers Hotmail notifications,
and the ability to add comments to others' social-networking updates without
needing to leave Messenger.
originally rolled out its Windows Live Essentials beta June 24.
has a tradition of launching software betas for millions of users, and then using
the inevitable tsunami of feedback to adjust the product ahead of its final
release. Microsoft has said its engineers used the Windows Live Essentials beta
to weed out some 95 percent of reported bugs ahead of the final version's
With Windows Live Essentials 2011, Microsoft is also continuing its recent
tradition of denying its newest products to Windows XP users. "If your
computer is still running Windows XP you can, of course, continue to use the
current Windows Live Essentials software, and then switch to Windows Live
Essentials 2011 when you buy a new PC or upgrade to Windows 7," Chris
Jones, vice president of Windows Live engineering, posted on The
The recently released beta
of Internet Explorer 9
is also incompatible with Windows XP.
also recently updated Office Web Apps and Hotmail.
"A few months ago,
we released a reinvented Windows Live Hotmail designed around what people said
they wanted," Dick Craddock, group program manager for Windows Live
Sept. 23 on The Windows Blog.
"We put a lot of time and effort into
careful planning, but we also recognize that with any release, we can improve,
so we do our best to listen closely and respond actively."
Updates to Hotmail include Facebook Chat integration, the ability to track
packages from within an e-mail, a new e-mail attachment size of 25MB and
subfolders for more precise mail management.