Windows Live Essentials 2011 beta 2 available now

Microsoft has just released the next major version of the Windows Live Essentials 2011 beta suite. The package comes with a number of improvements, bug fixes and added features.

Microsoft originally released a Windows Live Essentials beta on June 24. Essentials includes the popular programs Windows Live Movie Maker, Mail, Writer, Sync, and Family Safety. The Windows Live team has aimed to ensure that the next version of Windows Live Essentials takes advantage of Windows 7 fully. All applications now use the new ribbon UI and integrate further into Windows 7 by using Jumplists. Windows Live Sync is also included which keeps your files synchronized on the web and across multiple PCs.

Microsoft also introduced several new features for Windows Live Photo Gallery, including photo fusing to blend photos together and improved facial recognition.

Download Windows Live Essentials 2011 beta refresh (English full installer)

Build number: 15.4.3001.809.

Some applications carry a different build number, so here is a master list of the versions:

Movie Maker - 15.4.3002.0810
Messenger - 15.4.3002.0810
Mail - 15.4.3002.0810
Photo Gallery -15.4.3002.0810
Sync - 15.4.3001.0809
Family Safety - 15.4.3001.0809
Writer - 15.4.3001.0809

Thanks to Mephistopheles for the news tip!

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Best *new* feature - Facebook Chat! This feature alone is getting lots of use (Facebook's own browser-native/browser-neutral chat has issues with quite a few Web games, especially those from Zynga, which are among the most popular); even better, I am notified automatically whenever someone from my FB friends list comes online (and even if they are available for Chat). Oddly enough, the only multi-IM client (for Linux) that supports Facebook Chat is kopete (which has so many other issues that I prefer pidgin, even in KDE).

Lot's of bugs in WINDOWS LIVE MAIL 2011!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The sort ordering for threads for newsgroups are messed up...

Problem with the configuration of font for reading mail...

More new features -

Video call now has the option to switch webcam/speakers/microphone during the call
The option to pause webcam is back

There are tons of new emoticons and winks included! And they rock!

Now the only drawback is a hugh waste land of ads in Messenger. This need to be cleaned up, or at least scale down its size. God!

generko said,
Now the only drawback is a hugh waste land of ads in Messenger. This need to be cleaned up, or at least scale down its size. God!

true

The facebook intergration is alot better i think this time around

Love the Live Mail update now more like outlook its nice.. and the Calander is much neater.

I would still like to see some type of "Easy Managment" of the files on the Sky Drive rolled into this... I would much like an application view of the sky drive rather than a PC view...

Interesting, it wiped out all of the shortcuts from my Windows Live folder in my Start Menu after upgrading from the previous version. I had to go to Program Files (x86) to get the icons. Great job, MS!!!!!

briangw said,
Interesting, it wiped out all of the shortcuts from my Windows Live folder in my Start Menu after upgrading from the previous version. I had to go to Program Files (x86) to get the icons. Great job, MS!!!!!

It's by design. Getting rid of the Live Folder. Then the main apps (Mail,MM,Messenger and PG) are in the main start menu. Then others like Writer,Sync and Parental Controls are in a folder named "Windows Live Accessories".

When the installation comes to 100% it says to me that there isn't connection to internet, someone has a solution? Please help...

ugggh, I've been using Microsofts Windows/MSN/Live Messenger since 2000 and in my opinion these new bets are getting worse each time!

I actualy ditched using the WLM as a client about a year ago and have been hapily using Pidgin.
One of the reasons I wanted to try other clients is so i could talk to Facebook friends as well, which pidgin with a plugin does. These new betas for WLM have horrible Facebook integration IMO. It just gets uglier too and who wants a large 300*250 pixel ad.

I think the deskop app from Yoono does a far better job at facebook & social media aggregation and looks much nicer too!

Drunken Beard said,
That's why they're called Betas. Beta 2 has already improved Facebook integration a lot and ads can be easily removed using the latest a-patch.

a-patch doesn't remove the big ad space in the contact list

With MS abandoning nicknames, I will also stop using WLM if we are forced at some point to upgrade.

On a side note, I use Pidgin to combine FB and a secondary MSN account as well. Pidgin's been great so far. Nice, clean, responsive.

Just close the Facebook group in the contact list. Online Facebook contacts show up in the online group as well.
At least this works when you organize your contacts by their status.

Someone show me a way to only update Messenger vs the whole Live Essentials crap.. I don't need everything. I'd like to just install a new version of Messenger alone.

sava700 said,
Someone show me a way to only update Messenger vs the whole Live Essentials crap.. I don't need everything. I'd like to just install a new version of Messenger alone.

theres an option to select what you want to install , check what you want and dont want .

sava700 said,
Someone show me a way to only update Messenger vs the whole Live Essentials crap.. I don't need everything. I'd like to just install a new version of Messenger alone.

You can't, you gotta be running the whole 2009 suite or 2011 suite.

Still has an annoying bug in the mail client. If you have it set up to check gmail via IMAP, the Gmail server seems to kick you off if you are logged in too long because there is too much crap to sync. Anyway, when it kicks you, you get a message that says gmail server has rejected your login and no matter how many times you press ok or cancel, you can not make the box disappear and you can not read your email because the box stays in focus.

Every time I open/starts up Messenger Live Essentials beta 2, it crashes and starts to send error report.
After this, messenger opens up, and seems to be working fine.
This happens every time messenger is exit and closed.
I am on windows 7 64 bit+sp1 beta, no idea if Messenger Live Essentials beta 2 cannot run on it.

Messenger Live Essentials beta 2 runs without any problems on my other PC with windows 7 32 bit (no beta sp1 on)

Luke777 said,
Every time I open/starts up Messenger Live Essentials beta 2, it crashes and starts to send error report.
After this, messenger opens up, and seems to be working fine.
This happens every time messenger is exit and closed.
I am on windows 7 64 bit+sp1 beta, no idea if Messenger Live Essentials beta 2 cannot run on it.

Messenger Live Essentials beta 2 runs without any problems on my other PC with windows 7 32 bit (no beta sp1 on)

it's been reported that SP1 causes problems with live essentials

A bug i've noticed is that when windows live messenger is open as a process after windows live mail, you're unable to close windows live mail until you kill the process.

Is this fixed in beta 2?

is there any way to disable the gpu acceleration? my laptop sis graphic card doesn't render the interface properly (even with the latest drivers).

MerChan said,
is there any way to disable the gpu acceleration? my laptop sis graphic card doesn't render the interface properly (even with the latest drivers).

Unfortunately not, GPU acceleration is now an integral part of messenger which is why it will only work on Vista and 7.

But submit it as a bug if you can, they should fix it before release.

Roberto Guedes said,
I can't find the option to change my font on Messenger. I hope that this is only on this build...

When you have chat window open, click on the little arrows right next to invite button (well, depends how big your chat window is) and you should get menu with Change font option.

fobban said,
Does the full installer automatically install everything or is it selectable?

you can select what you want to install

Quote comment 69368876 of Kip Kniskern - LiveSide.net

Just getting word from a Microsoft spokesperson that the download link we published " is not the right build. Beta Refresh is still to come". Of course then why are new bits suddenly now available? . Stay tuned we'll have more soon.

LOL

arseny92 said,
Quote comment 69368876 of Kip Kniskern - LiveSide.net

Just getting word from a Microsoft spokesperson that the download link we published " is not the right build. Beta Refresh is still to come". Of course then why are new bits suddenly now available? . Stay tuned we'll have more soon.

LOL

There could be some problem with this build. I can't install it. It says "No internet connection" and I have to retry, even with the full installer.

arseny92 said,
Quote comment 69368876 of Kip Kniskern - LiveSide.net

Just getting word from a Microsoft spokesperson that the download link we published " is not the right build. Beta Refresh is still to come". Of course then why are new bits suddenly now available? . Stay tuned we'll have more soon.

LOL

Any update on when the newer version will be out?

gate1975mlm said,

Any update on when the newer version will be out?

It's the correct version. Microsoft already made it available on Live Essentials Beta website.

tuckeratlarge said,
Can't install this beta 2, same as beta 1. Oh well I'll wait until it goes gold. :-(

Error: 0x80040609

Eh.Not much changes.

Still does not allow Live Movie maker Beta to work with 3gp files
And Live Mail does not group conversations like it used too

arseny92 said,
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Installer\LangSelector.exe"

Check it out. Language packs support.

Very nice find indeed.
It doesn't seem to work though. However it means it is going to get implemented in the future.

Personally, it drives me nuts to look at my contact list and see 'nicknames', malformed names and everything inbetween! I love this change to real names and can't wait for my entire contact list to get upgraded!

Paulstorm said,
Personally, it drives me nuts to look at my contact list and see 'nicknames', malformed names and everything inbetween! I love this change to real names and can't wait for my entire contact list to get upgraded!

+1

Are you connected with facebook? it helps.

Paulstorm said,
Personally, it drives me nuts to look at my contact list and see 'nicknames', malformed names and everything inbetween! I love this change to real names and can't wait for my entire contact list to get upgraded!

You and me both buddy.

I really hate Live Movie Maker compared to the one built into Vista. I get MS for wanting to focus on other things with their teams, so as to not dedicate time to updating it for Win 7, but why REMOVE the whole thing entirely, and come up with the crap that is the Live Movie Maker? Sigh. I know there is far superior software out there, but most aren't as intuitive.

I agree, Movie Maker seems to be the redheaded stepchild of the suite. They cut out useful features, and introduced new bugs that are plain annoying, and I swear that it's slower as well. The most annoying bug to me is the fact that if you start saving a file (which, of course takes a while, especially with HD video), and decide to switch to another user on the same computer, the saving pauses until you switch back. WHY???? WHAT MORONIC DEVELOPER THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA??????

roadwarrior said,
I agree, Movie Maker seems to be the redheaded stepchild of the suite. They cut out useful features, and introduced new bugs that are plain annoying, and I swear that it's slower as well. The most annoying bug to me is the fact that if you start saving a file (which, of course takes a while, especially with HD video), and decide to switch to another user on the same computer, the saving pauses until you switch back. WHY???? WHAT MORONIC DEVELOPER THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA??????

What good reason would you have to do such a thing? If it's a shared computer and someone else wants to use it, I highly doubt they would want that rendering bogging down the system.

Omega192 said,

What good reason would you have to do such a thing? If it's a shared computer and someone else wants to use it, I highly doubt they would want that rendering bogging down the system.

True, however, the developer that put in this code should just drop the rendering/saving thread to a low priority, instead of pausing it, and then it will still process in idle moments and the other user logged in would never even notice it.

At the very least it should be an option to override this...

(Windows scheduling in Vista and Win7 is very efficient, and with memory priority flagging, even if it is eating a lot of RAM to process, it still can run in a reduced priority state without fully pausing. I wonder if the developer working on this is not 'use' to Vista and Win7 kernel changes or they come from a background of Linux or Free/OpenBSD programming.)

Omega192 said,

What good reason would you have to do such a thing? If it's a shared computer and someone else wants to use it, I highly doubt they would want that rendering bogging down the system.

I manage two web sites on my computer, and have different user accounts on the computer for each site in order to keep the pictures, videos, etc. seperate from each other. It also helps keep the login information for the site management web pages seperate. While I'm encoding video for one site, I'm quite often needing to work on other things for the other site (such as working on photos or text parts of the site).

Is it possible to install some of the programs? I'd like the newer versions of Mail and Movie Maker but I don't want to upgrade my WLM as the new version can go F*** itself, its a laggy POS and I don't see that changing when it comes out of beta.

EGM92 said,
Is it possible to install some of the programs? I'd like the newer versions of Mail and Movie Maker but I don't want to upgrade my WLM as the new version can go F*** itself, its a laggy POS and I don't see that changing when it comes out of beta.

I love it when someone assumes a piece of software is buggy when they haven't even tried the latest version yet. You can only upgrade all, or none I believe.

EGM92 said,
I don't want to upgrade my WLM as the new version can go F*** itself, its a laggy POS and I don't see that changing when it comes out of beta.

This is what public betas are for. Install it and voice your opinion. Don't sit on the sidelines and complain. Change doesn't happen that way.

EGM92 said,
Is it possible to install some of the programs? I'd like the newer versions of Mail and Movie Maker but I don't want to upgrade my WLM ...

DarkNovaGamer said,
... You can only upgrade all, or none I believe.

Once the full download is posted you'll be able to select which options you want. The same thing happened with Beta 1. Web download went up first and then the full download appeared that allowed you to pick and choose.

EGM92 said,
Is it possible to install some of the programs? I'd like the newer versions of Mail and Movie Maker but I don't want to upgrade my WLM as the new version can go F*** itself, its a laggy POS and I don't see that changing when it comes out of beta.

Yes, it's possible to choose which programs you want to install or update.

zeke009 said,

Once the full download is posted you'll be able to select which options you want. The same thing happened with Beta 1. Web download went up first and then the full download appeared that allowed you to pick and choose.

You can choose which are installed, but not which are upgraded.

DarkNovaGamer said,

You can choose which are installed, but not which are upgraded.

^ This is the correct answer. My response was incorrect.

I don't get this, I mean if you don't want someone knowing your real name than why the hell are they a 'friend' on messenger in the first place?

I'm not trying to be insulting here, I just really don't get it - do people just add random strangers to messenger? and why?

I agree TBH. If you *must* have these people on WLM who you don't want to be able to identify you then just change the name attached to your WLM account. Easy.

duddut2 said,
I don't get this, I mean if you don't want someone knowing your real name than why the hell are they a 'friend' on messenger in the first place?

I'm not trying to be insulting here, I just really don't get it - do people just add random strangers to messenger? and why?

I have a long and not that very 'English friendly' name and most of my contacts I speak to daily are English speaking people whom I've met over the Internet. I choose to have a nickname because 1) it's shorter, 2) it's what people know me by and 3) it looks better. It's not about trying to hide your real name from people.
I don't really object if MS knows my full name and have that information securely in the Live account, but over Messenger it should not be needed. At least give us an option!

And Smigit, changing the name of the -entire Live account- is an awful work-around at best. Doesn't solve the problem at lot of us are experiencing at all.

Because the way MSN does it is incorrect. In English it's <First Name> <Middle Name> <Surname>, in say Chinese, Japanese it's the other way round, and there are no spaces between the characters. When I tried beta the last time, every Chinese person's name on my list was shown incorrectly, and it made finding them extremely annoying because the sequence is all wrong (imaging your alphabetically list isn't alphabetically correct).

Smigit said,
I agree TBH. If you *must* have these people on WLM who you don't want to be able to identify you then just change the name attached to your WLM account. Easy.

Because... there are those of us out there who have pseudonyms we use all of the time, since *ugh* ICQ days.
I like my 'net name' and would prefer to have people I don't know IRL refer to me as such.

I am dead_on_the_floor.
Here, I am dotf (early neowin wouldn't let me have >8 chars or use _)
on xbox I am deadonthefloor.
It's catchy.
Besides, how many people on xbox live want to divulge their real names.
As these services converge, it appears we have no choice.

/cries out to the world: "Won't somebody please think of the Children"
And therein lies the problem.

duddut2 said,
I don't get this, I mean if you don't want someone knowing your real name than why the hell are they a 'friend' on messenger in the first place?

I'm not trying to be insulting here, I just really don't get it - do people just add random strangers to messenger? and why?

It can be an issue though, I have some Chinese friends (I'm not Chinese, nor can I read it) and now Messenger just displays there name...problem is it's still in Chinese! so I have trouble figuring out who is who (they either had an english nickname or I'd set one for them so I can identify them) so it can be a problem there. However, apart from that little issue I'm cool with displaying actual names (as I used my name anyway and it does help get rid of those annoyingly long display names some people insist on having!).

duddut2 said,
I don't get this, I mean if you don't want someone knowing your real name than why the hell are they a 'friend' on messenger in the first place?

I'm not trying to be insulting here, I just really don't get it - do people just add random strangers to messenger? and why?

a lot of asians have a legal name (their asian name) which they use for their email and a called name (usually an english name) that they use for IM

duddut2 said,
I don't get this, I mean if you don't want someone knowing your real name than why the hell are they a 'friend' on messenger in the first place?

I'm not trying to be insulting here, I just really don't get it - do people just add random strangers to messenger? and why?

I agree with you. Nick names are childish. I use to delete friends who used them on my messenger. People need to realize we are living in a techincal sync world. Your contacts are syncing with your messenger list, contact list, and your mobile phone list.

dotf said,

Besides, how many people on xbox live want to divulge their real names.
Which is exactly what I was getting at. If it's an issue for you set the name to the display name you wanted. Do you really need both the real name AND display name? If they arent going to let you use a display name but you really want it fudge your real name.

It's not the most elegant of solutions, but I can't see why it won't work.

Yeah but Smigit, this name is also used for emails. I don't think people want to send e-mails out under the alias "1337 killer" for obvious reasons. An alias was put in place for a reason, I don't see how forcing everyone to use their real name in an online environment helps anyone.

TechDudeGeorge said,
Actually... My MSN is showing 15.3 as the build! The web installer exe shows 15.4. WTH!

The same happened to me when I downloaded the web installer, now i'm installing the full install.

Not that big of a change in Messenger . Still does not let you swap the contact and social lists No nickname support.

And instead of showing my Windows Live Name... It shows my email

Grah, as long as they don't put nicknames back in I know a lot of people who won't be using this, including me. I don't want to have my full name in Messenger...

Ambroos said,
Grah, as long as they don't put nicknames back in I know a lot of people who won't be using this, including me. I don't want to have my full name in Messenger...

I just found out that real names only appear when you are connected to facebook and you have them in your friends list. else, the nickname appears.

Ambroos said,
Grah, as long as they don't put nicknames back in I know a lot of people who won't be using this, including me. I don't want to have my full name in Messenger...

Yes, but if you're using the new messenger -your- nickname is lost and everyone sees -you- as "Firstname Lastname". I don't want that. I want to be able to set a nickname for myself on MSN.

Ambroos said,

Yes, but if you're using the new messenger -your- nickname is lost and everyone sees -you- as "Firstname Lastname". I don't want that. I want to be able to set a nickname for myself on MSN.


I prefer it. I often didn't know who I'd be talking to you

Owen Williams said,

I prefer it. I often didn't know who I'd be talking to you

Yeah, and sometimes people have these long nicks which basically don't have anything to do with their name. Example:
"oohhh i just love pizza!!!!!!!!!!!"
or something like that.

Ambroos said,
Grah, as long as they don't put nicknames back in I know a lot of people who won't be using this, including me. I don't want to have my full name in Messenger...

I am glad they have gotten rid of the nick names. For people who want to use nick names go to chat rooms.

Owen Williams said,

I prefer it. I often didn't know who I'd be talking to you

We had this discussion previously, but since you are strongly against nicknames, how do you feel about this compromise:
"- a compromise since we obviously have people who love and people who hate the forced use of real names in the contact list: allow users to choose what they want to see: real names, nicknames, or both."

I've been using MSN/Windows Live for about ten years now, always immediately upgrading to the latest release, but I'll skip this one or even move away from it.

Ambroos said,

Yes, but if you're using the new messenger -your- nickname is lost and everyone sees -you- as "Firstname Lastname". I don't want that. I want to be able to set a nickname for myself on MSN.


If you are using the new Messenger you see everyone's first name and last name regardless if they are using the new or old messenger.

Jan said,
What do the new icons look like?

No new icons except Skydrive one in Photo Gallery.

EDIT: Bah, NeoWin didn't show the earlier replys for me until now >.>

ctrl_alt_delete said,
thanks for the news. this I didn't know because they didn't send it out through windows update as of yet

Does Windows update have an option to upgrade to betas???

dotf said,

Does Windows update have an option to upgrade to betas???

It should never have upgrade options to betas. Windows Update is for production-ready software (updates) after all. (the few exceptions being critical updates during Windows 7's beta)

Kirkburn said,
I think he meant upgrades for betas you already have installed ... which I think I've seen before.

I don't think I've ever seen it. I was trying to get responses like rm200010
Thanks rm20010 for getting me.

ctrl_alt_delete said,
thanks for the news. this I didn't know because they didn't send it out through windows update as of yet

I recieved the update automatically, though I believe Messenger initiated it on its own (not through Windows Update...)

Tolisss said,
Will we need to completly uninstall the old beta and install the new one or it can be made automatically?

It can update over previously installed versions.

I hope that they've fixed the message list font size in Windows Live Mail or at least given an option to change it and changed the parameters for what a conversation is.

gate1975mlm said,
The correct Build number: 15.4.3002.810

Thats what it says in the about box.


Of each application, yes, but the installer has the build of 3001.809

gate1975mlm said,
The correct Build number: 15.4.3002.810

Thats what it says in the about box.


Just an update, some of the apps, like Movie Maker and Messenger use the build: 15.4.3002.0810, while apps like Windows Live Writer use 15.4.3001.809

Drunken Beard said,
Anyone has a changelog or a comprehensive list of the added features ?

I very much doubt change log will be available to the public.

As far as new features there will not be any in this beta, it is more than likely just fixes from the previous one as well as optimising.

If you would like to know what is new you would have to look what is new in the whole suite regarding the previous MSN and suchlike.

Incidentally, I'm probably telling you something you already know anyway.

Drunken Beard said,
Anyone has a changelog or a comprehensive list of the added features ?

I've made my own changelog for messenger in the comments below.

TheDisneyMagic said,
Nice, hopefully these will be more responsive as I found alot of lag with Messenger.

Agree. I'm testing a few things out like adding contacts and window resizing. Those 2 bugs were very annoying last time.

TheDisneyMagic said,
Nice, hopefully these will be more responsive as I found alot of lag with Messenger.

Downloading it now. I hope there are some improvements on Live Sync!

Andrew Lyle said,

Agree. I'm testing a few things out like adding contacts and window resizing. Those 2 bugs were very annoying last time.

Don't you know it!