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Review: Windows Live Essentials 2011 - Complete overview

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Over the last seven days, Neowin took an in-depth look at all the Windows Live Essentials 2011 products. We covered the main highlights and new features of each program. Essentials 2011 offers a lot to users looking for useful utilities in their day-to-day tasks, and Essentials delivers this, all for free.

During our coverage of each product, including Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail, Mesh, Family Safety and Writer, we heard a lot of positive feedback from our readers and some great suggestions for insight on specific products.

As our coverage has concluded, we wanted to give a quick overview of all the highlights and features within Windows Live Essentials 2011.

Windows Live Essentials 2011

WindowsLiveAll

Windows Live Messenger 2011

One of the most used instant messaging clients in the world, Messenger brings you closer to your friends and family around the world. Each year, the Messenger team looks to improve Windows Live Messenger with exciting new features, and this year the new big addition is social network feeds.

Messenger now combines Facebook feeds and chat into your client, allowing you to see photos, shared videos and links and even instantly chat with friends on Facebook.

Read the full review here.

Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011

Most of us take hundreds and even thousands of photos when we go on vacations or events, and managing all of these photos and videos becomes difficult. Photo Gallery scans your computer looking for photos and videos, organizing them by date, time, geolocation, tagged faces or descriptions, and many other options. Photo Gallery not only organizes all your photos in a single program, but you can edit your photos with some basic effects like straightening, brightness, contrast, and many other effects.

Read the full review here.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Most of us aren't video editing experts and just need to quickly touch up a video by adding some text, audio and maybe some pictures from a recent vacation, which makes Movie Maker an excellent tool. This version is definitely a big improvement from past versions. A lot of bugs and annoyances have been fixed and removed and now Windows Live Movie Maker just works, and works well for that matter.

Read the full review here.

Windows Live Mail 2011

Windows Live Mail is a great alternative to Outlook, if you aren't already running Microsoft Office. Mail comes with a load of options, even some features that Outlook 2010 doesn't have. You can manage, send, receive and even share photo albums and videos from Windows Live Mail to family and friends around the globe. Mail comes with all the basic features you need to manage your daily emails.

Read the full review here.

Windows Live Mesh 2011

If you are looking to keep your files on your home network all in sync, Windows Live Mesh will provide you with an easy tool to do just that job. Mesh can sync up to 10 computers in your home network, including 5GB of SkyDrive storage.

Read the full review here.

Windows Live Family Safety 2011

When you can't watch what your kids are doing online, Windows Live Family safety can. This easy-to-use tool can keep your kids safe from dangerous and untrusted websites. The online tools allow you to see what your kids are browsing on the Internet, requesting permission to view and what desktop applications are being used.

Read the full review here.

Windows Live Writer 2011

Writer is an excellent tool for bloggers and journalists. An easy way to manage your online blog from your desktop computers. Add images, videos, maps, emoticons all from your desktop with a one-touch publish button. Writer works with just about any blog on the Internet, and even allows you to use pre-made and custom themes.

Read the full review here.

Neowin hopes you enjoyed our coverage of Windows Live Essentials 2011. You can download it from here for free.

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15 Comments

I use only Messenger Live from the Live Essentials pack, and maybe it's just me, but i didn't like the 2011 version of it: and it started at the signin window: there is no option to save only the email, either save both email and password or none, and it is annoying for me...

TBH ... I've never used any of these products but Mesh sounds like it could be cool. Perhaps I'll have to try it out one day...

It would be a great product if it supported XP. Sure I have Win7 on my desktop but some of the old laptops I use are still on XP and aren't worth upgrading. Not supporting XP is simply an arbitrary restriction designed to push more people to upgrade to Vista/Win7. Because of this limitation I have to stick to Dropbox, which I actually find does a much better job.

I use most of these products on a daily basis. And I try to adapt to the new features instead of wishing it was the old way all the time. I only have two complaints really.

1. there is no RESIZE button in Photogallery. I have to right click to do it. A great feature that is hidden from people that STILL dont' get the right mouse button.
2. The online status used to have an option for a color that was pretty easy to see. Now there is a thumbnail picture with at LITTLE TINY SLIM colored line around it that indicates the online status of someone. Well, I CAN'T SEE IT!!!!!! IT'S TOO THIN!!!! Drives me INSANE. Yeah, there is an option to show the text status, of away etc., but the problem is, IT'S LIGHT GREY AND I CAN'T SEE IT!!!!

Thats it, other than that, this is a GREAT suite of FREE software, that will only get better, hopefully with once a year updates, or twice better.

jf

Thanks, but no thanks.

Time to explore third party IM clients as that bloated excuse for an IM client pushes the boundaries of vulgarity.

Personal opinion.

C:Amie said,
Thanks, but no thanks.

Time to explore third party IM clients as that bloated excuse for an IM client pushes the boundaries of vulgarity.

Personal opinion.

That's one reason why I use Digsby.

I didn't care for two things with Messenger and that was the removal of one-way webcam usage along with custom names..instead you have to edit your first and last name slots. They should have left the one-way video ability there and tweaked it instead of video chat since most of the time video is only used and not audio, if I wanted both of those at the same time I would use skype.

sava700 said,
I didn't care for two things with Messenger and that was the removal of one-way webcam usage along with custom names..instead you have to edit your first and last name slots. They should have left the one-way video ability there and tweaked it instead of video chat since most of the time video is only used and not audio, if I wanted both of those at the same time I would use skype.

actually you can always turn off audio input and/or output and video during video call. also I heard there is an option to accept video call without video from your side, so that's the one-way video chat.

х.iso said,

actually you can always turn off audio input and/or output and video during video call. also I heard there is an option to accept video call without video from your side, so that's the one-way video chat.

Without a published way for that one-way video to be created I won't believe there is unless you unplug your cam..and you shouldn't have to shut off the audio when just wanting to do video.

I think the reviews are a good effort but they're not much more than glorified feature lists. There's no real analysis of the new features and changes. For instance, Messenger deviates a lot from previous versions and is now more of a Facebook client than anything else, which is a pretty huge shift - while this is mentioned it is largely glossed over. Afterall, Microsoft resisted adding support for other IM networks when they were still a major player. Also, the decision to drop support for XP is pretty massive and yet not mentioned prominently.

To properly review something there needs to be an analysis of the positives and the negatives, rather than vague comments like: "There hasn't been much added to the option panel over last year's release, but the layout has been slightly tweaked and options moved around. Some options have been expanded to better customize your Messenger, as well as clearer explanations, to better understand the options you are configuring." What's been moved around and is it an improvement? There's no analysis.

Neowin took an IN-DEPTH look at all the Windows Live Essentials 2011 products.
...
We covered the main highlights and new features of each program.

hmmm

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