Review

Review: Windows Live Essentials 2011 - Mesh

WLE_PromoBanner_Mesh

Microsoft has released the final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011 to everyone on a supported Windows based PC, which comes loaded with very useful and helpful everyday programs that make our lives a little easier and more entertaining. Over the next couple of days, Neowin will be taking an in-depth look at Windows Live Essentials 2011, covering a new program each day.

Windows Live Mesh

As the world continues to be more and more reliant on computers, more users join the Internet every single day. It isn't uncommon for households to have more than one computer in the house, as it used to be a decade ago. Many users now use multiple computers around the house, including desktop PCs and laptops, even mobile devices. So having all your documents on any computer you use becomes an important feature to have. Windows Live Mesh allows users to sync their computers with one another, to help share media and other important files with all your computers. Mesh is a great replacement for a home network storage server and even external hard drives.

WLMesh_AllSynced

Windows Live Mesh uses your Windows Live ID to connect from any computer around the world. With your Live ID, you can sync files to and from your SkyDrive, with up to 5GB of storage space. When you are setting up your syncing, you select the folder and what computers on your network you wish to sync with. Not every folder has to be synced with SkyDrive, and you can easily set up who you want to share with, even if they aren't on your network. Windows Live Mesh allows you to share with up to 9 people from anywhere around the globe, so you can all manage one set of files.

WLMesh_SyncWith

Managing and controlling who sees what does require Internet access, because all of the removing and permission settings are actually done through your web browser through Live.com. From this control panel, you can change icons, rename devices and set permissions for each computer.

WLMesh_Devices

Within your settings, there is also options to sync Microsoft software program settings, including Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office. Each computer will need to enable this feature. Each computer with this enabled can share favourites, templates, styles, custom dictionary and email signatures.

Remote

Windows Live Mesh comes with a built-in remote access option, allowing you to connect to a computer on your sync, remotely using their computer. Computers can only be accessed when running Mesh on their desktop, and must be signed into their Live ID.

There is a downfall to this feature that I discovered while I was experimenting with remote. When I connect to a remote computer, it automatically logs me out. I then need to login into the computer again, using their secure password. I also noticed that when doing so, the screen on the remote computer goes completely dark, except for a white cursor on your screen. This means anyone could look through your private files in front of your face, without you seeing it.

However, you need to first accept the persons request to remotely control your PC, so you should know who is browsing your files before giving them full access to your PC.

WLMesh_Remote

Make sure to check back tomorrow when we review Windows Live Family Safety 2011!

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24 Comments

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The one thing I miss from the original Live Mesh is the timeline. It allowed you to see what was added and modified. It worked great for a group project that I had.

So Sky drive has 5 GB yet the other storage has 25? Shame

I think it would be an intresting feature if MS offered Fav syncing to the cloud then to the devices not just between PC's etc

brent3000 said,
So Sky drive has 5 GB yet the other storage has 25? Shame

I think it would be an intresting feature if MS offered Fav syncing to the cloud then to the devices not just between PC's etc


I believe Microsoft have said before that the reason why the 25GB isn't being utilized is due to technicality reasons, and that it may be possible in the future for the two storage spaces to be merged.

Personally, I'd like to see closer synchronization between Skydrive and Live Mesh. It'd be good to have documents uploaded from Live Mesh to be placed directly into Skydrive's Office, instead of having to go to an independent storage area.

I don't like that the new mesh doesn't support Windows 2003 server or XP. It's Vista and Win7 only. The old Mesh, although slow, worked great for file replication, but they're going to be killing the old Mesh service, I haven't seen much info if WLE2011 will run on Windows Server 2008 r2 for us SMB admins lol. I do like that you can sync favorites and office program settings with it like templates and custom dictionaries.

When I sync my favorites which includes my favorites bar to another computer, it takes my favorites bar icons out of order, and it does not bring over the favicon picture. So when I look at my favorites bar, the icons are out of order. A minor inconvenience at best.
One thing I LOVE about the remote control is, I can pan across ALL 4 of my desktop screen at home. THAT is amazing. And it leaves my desktop windows where they were. It doesn't usually rearrange all the windows. Nicely done for the most part MS.

Windows Live Mesh doesn't let you choose the target location of the synced files. Instead it just copies everything over to your personal folders.

In my case, this is problematic because, on my desktop, I store all of our digital photos in the Public Pictures folder. That way it's easy for my wife and I to both access the photos. However if I use Mesh to sync those photos to my netbook, it wants to put them in my personal profile's My Pictures folder. If my wife logs in to the netbook, she doesn't have access to the photos.

The older version of Windows Live Sync had the capability to choose the target location. I can't understand why they always seem to remove the "one feature I really need" in new releases.

SkolVikings said,
Windows Live Mesh doesn't let you choose the target location of the synced files. Instead it just copies everything over to your personal folders.

In my case, this is problematic because, on my desktop, I store all of our digital photos in the Public Pictures folder. That way it's easy for my wife and I to both access the photos. However if I use Mesh to sync those photos to my netbook, it wants to put them in my personal profile's My Pictures folder. If my wife logs in to the netbook, she doesn't have access to the photos.

The older version of Windows Live Sync had the capability to choose the target location. I can't understand why they always seem to remove the "one feature I really need" in new releases.


Actually you can choose where to sync it to, go to pc one and select a folder to sync but do not add any more devices, the go to pc2 and you will see that folder in the mesh ui, there will be a option to start syncing that folder to that computer and you will be allowed to select where to sync it to...

Hmmm... What about Dropbox now, do you think guys this will affect Dropbox performance, since it's 2GB Vs 5GB...?

Jose_49 said,
Hmmm... What about Dropbox now, do you think guys this will affect Dropbox performance, since it's 2GB Vs 5GB...?

on Dropbox you can increase storage by inviting people. however, what's really different between Dropbox and Mesh is that in Mesh cloud storage sync is optional. and also Dropbox doesn't give you easy remote control.
So for example I'm using dropbox for cloud sync and Mesh for non-cloud sync and remote control.

MS should go back to the original Live Mesh. That was a decent program. The Desktop folder view was really cool. This one is slow and the remote functionality isn't as secure as Andrew mentioned.

Yeah right! That thing was so old, it was a Wave 2 UI with a Windows Vista designed Desktop View. No way! Microsoft realized we don't need unprofessional user interfaces and we need to get to the point, this is much cleaner and has everything you need.

Here is a quick review from me... Sucks! Unlike live sync it's predecessor which luckily still works it doesn't actually sync anything, both machines just get stuck on "waiting to receive files", and that the activity monitor or the ability to check port status has been removed to make things more user-friendly sure doesn't help...

I had high hopes for this update of live sync but it failed miserably

Leonick said,
Here is a quick review from me... Sucks! Unlike live sync it's predecessor which luckily still works it doesn't actually sync anything, both machines just get stuck on "waiting to receive files", and that the activity monitor or the ability to check port status has been removed to make things more user-friendly sure doesn't help...

I had high hopes for this update of live sync but it failed miserably

This "review" looks very familiar, posted previously on Liveside perhaps? Whatever the case, I've had no problems with syncing files across my PC's, ranging from folders with bookmarks to folders with gigabytes of data.

efjay said,

This "review" looks very familiar, posted previously on Liveside perhaps? Whatever the case, I've had no problems with syncing files across my PC's, ranging from folders with bookmarks to folders with gigabytes of data.


liveside? nope don't think so... might very well be because of my router, it's UPnP is working exactly as it should... but even so old software had no problems this does, and add to that removed features that was quite handy...

Actually if someone is connected on your computer you can see what he's doing by asking him to check the "Show my actions on ComputerName" option (in the menu which is opened when you click on the computer name)

MS really needs to get Mesh to sync all the different MS apps out there between systems. Maybe even let you sync any app as long as it's installed in the same location between the two systems. I just feel there's way more this app can do still and it's being held back.

What apps exactly? Other than IE and Outlook, I can't think of any other 'app' data that is generally pertinent.

GP007 said,
MS really needs to get Mesh to sync all the different MS apps out there between systems. Maybe even let you sync any app as long as it's installed in the same location between the two systems. I just feel there's way more this app can do still and it's being held back.

Not just Windows programs but Needs to be able to sync whole user profiles... it would be nice if settings across machines could be synced - its so frustrating having to update settings or manually copy them across two machines.

A person should only have their personal computers linked with their personal live account, so someone shouldn't be able to look at your files in front of your face. Also the person controlling the other machine can turn that dark screen off.

thatguyandrew1992 said,
A person should only have their personal computers linked with their personal live account, so someone shouldn't be able to look at your files in front of your face. Also the person controlling the other machine can turn that dark screen off.

I didnt think it was possible to add a computer from someone eise's Mesh to your own to access remotely. Is this an error or can it actually be done?

efjay said,

I didnt think it was possible to add a computer from someone eise's Mesh to your own to access remotely. Is this an error or can it actually be done?

I would guess not, at least at the same time. The service logged in for one user, not multiple accounts.

The only thing I did with the original Mesh was to add my parents' PCs to my ring so I could support them; that was the only way I could figure out something remotely similar.

briangw said,

I would guess not, at least at the same time. The service logged in for one user, not multiple accounts.

The only thing I did with the original Mesh was to add my parents' PCs to my ring so I could support them; that was the only way I could figure out something remotely similar.

Guess I might try that, thanks.

efjay said,
I didnt think it was possible to add a computer from someone eise's Mesh to your own to access remotely. Is this an error or can it actually be done?
As far as I know, no. A device can only be on one mesh. However, you can share folders across mesh accounts (at least in the old mesh).

I use live mesh to connect to my machine thats at home from work. I thin kthats what its meant for. No himachi or anything like that.