Windows Live Essentials Wave 4 Beta Released

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jethro's picture

There has been lots and lots of rumours, speculation and conjecture on just what the new release of Windows Live was going to contain. The LiveSide website has been the source of plenty of leaked screenshots, links to downloads and other information on the way.

Download links available at LiveSide

Download Beta NowNow that is released into the wild, and people are using it I thought I would write up a quick review of some of the new features – and there are plenty.

Live Messenger

  • A whole new communicator window, with integration with Facebook and MySpace accounts – means all your contacts, status updates and commenting can be done in one place, along with access to media like photos and videos. Note the Facebook chat feature has not been enabled in the public beta yet but will come later. (Image from LiveSide)
  • A new tabbed conversation window – at last!. No longer do you need to have 75 windows open of all your current messaging sessions, they are now contained in one window with tabs at the top. This is a major improvement.

Live Photo Gallery

  • Built in upload to FaceBook,. YouTube, Flickr, Skydrive and Live Spaces.
  • Much better face recognition.
  • Ribbon interface.
  • Way cool!

Live Writer

The ribbon interface is cool. Much better access to menu functions with the Ribbon.

Live Synch

  • Warning – do not install the new Live Synch Beta if you have live mesh installed. I have phased out live mesh on some clients in order to setup Live Synch instead given that Live Mesh will be discontinued in favour of Live Synch later this year.
  • Live synch allows only 2Gb of Skydrive space, even though a user has 25Gb in their Skydrive. It also allows unlimited (we assume) P2P synching.
  • Live Synch allows you to synch folders between machines – and also add users. I noticed some issues with this. When synching public folders from windows 7 – only the users who had a logged in account that had been shared to the machine could see the synched files as other users did not have permission even though they could see public folders. This could be problematic in an Active Directory environment and I haven’t tested that yet.

Live Mail

  • I only use Live Mail with my Gmail account – purely for testing purposes. However i have also installed it on clients machines. It certainly seems to work much more smoothly and quickly than the previous version and the new ribbon interface is once again now so much more intuitive than the old menu system.


I cant wait for it to go live – except for the fact that Live Synch doesn't work the same as Live Mesh.