Windows Live Essentials 2011 – Highlights

Yesterday, Windows 7 Update quietly informed me that there was an ‘important’ update to download (I have Windows 7 set to notify me before downloading updates). I checked on what the update was and it turned out to be Windows Live Essentials 2011 (WLE2011), a rather hefty 150MB + download at that!

**I should note here that WLE2011 will only install on Windows 7, Vista and Windows Server 2008. For details see the detailed release notes here. Sorry, Windows XP users.

I received this update because I already had Windows Live Writer, Photo Gallery and Live Mail installed. By far, my favourite program of the bunch is Windows Live Photo Gallery, and it just got way better with this version. I can say the same for Windows Live Mail as well. There are other Live programs I do not use like Messenger and Movie Maker, but I am sure they have improved as well.

Now, I am going to highlight a few things about the Live programs I really use and like.

Windows Live Mail: it now looks more like Outlook 2010, with an Office-like ribbon bar. It can also sort messages by conversation, and there are tabs for Folder, View and Accounts as well.

Windows Live Photo Gallery: This version really rocks! Different filters have been added (like sepia tone), the ability to directly upload to SkyDrive, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and more.

Here is a picture of a covered bridge I recently took, converted with a sepia filter in Photo Gallery:

Windows Live Writer: although I typically compose my blog posts in my WordPress Dashboard, I think I could really get to like this version of Writer for it has a more professional feel about it, yet it remains uncluttered and unintimidating to a blogger. I can compose in Writer and upload and publish to my WordPress blog, or just upload and edit the draft via the WordPress Dashboard, where I can add the final touches.

This was just a brief look at some of the features of Windows Live Essentials 2011 that I am excited about. Messenger fans will surely like the new version, I’m sure. and I haven’t even mentioned Windows Live Mesh, which allows you to access and synchronize photos, documents, and other files on all your computers.

You can check out the details about WLE2011 here: http://explore.live.com/