Windows Live Essentials get a near-final refresh

The Windows Live Essentials programs are exactly what they claim to be: essential for any Windows user. So it’s good news that the Windows Live team has released a final beta (essentially a release candidate) today. The new package includes services (such as Favorites Sync) that have not previously been publicly available. The LiveSide gang has a nice roundup of what’s new.

Before I give you the address where you can download the code, though, I have to tweak my friend and colleague Paul Thurrott, who wrote today:

Don’t be confused by other sites: This is not a beta release. What you’re seeing is the near-final version of virtually every Windows Live Essentials application and service being released today.

Yes, do not be confused by those other sites. Like, you know, the blog written by the Windows Live team, which actually wrote this code and is coordinating this release. This is still a beta, judging by their post today (I’ve added bold for emphasis).

We’re getting very close to the final release. But before we get there, we’re refreshing the beta versions one more time to make sure we’ve ironed out all the kinks. You can get the latest betas from:

We’re working hard to get the final versions ready to go as soon as possible. So let us know what you like and don’t like, and if you’re running into any issues that we need to take care of before we take the “beta” tags off.

Paul’s point, once you sweep aside the hyperbole, is that these are feature-complete, stable programs, and you shouldn’t let the “beta” label scare you off. I’ve been using them for months and think these are wonderful programs, across the board. Hey, I even like and use the Windows Live toolbar, and I normally hate browser toolbars.

Highly recommended. Go get it. But read the release notes (PDF) first, especially if you’re running the IE8 Beta.

6 thoughts on “Windows Live Essentials get a near-final refresh

  1. and windows live mail still has the same bugs as vista mail, 2 + years later.

    i’ll send you a screenshot, if you want it.

  2. here’s a pic. the response in between my 2 posts should be highlighted and marked as watched. it isn’t. it’s never worked in any version of winows (live) mail. they refuse to fix it even though I reported it almost 2 years before vista was released and it worked perfectly in outlook express.

    just outstanding programming, in my opinion. take something that worked for a decade and then break it in the “new and improved” version.

  3. I have to say I am fond of the entire package. It is the quality all Microsoft products should be, beta tag or no.
    Still, nice “tweak” on Thurrott, especially when you add it up to your Twitter preemptive-apology. It is hard to explain, but it has the same friendly feel I love to see in the community.

  4. The only thing beta – as Paul mentions – is Movie Maker.

    The other apps are not beta anymore – unless there are betas with no beta label 😉

    1. Gary, did you follow the link to the post from the Windows Live team? The Movie Maker app is going to continue in beta for some time. The others are basically release candidates. Yes, they’ve taken the beta label off the splash screens. That’s typical with release candidates. The beta label is still on the download links and the developers still consider it to be a beta, even if it is nearly ready for release, in their opinion.

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