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April 5, 2011

Windows Live Essentials

Last week I mentioned that Family Safety is one of the applications you get if you choose to install Windows Live Essentials (WLE). Here is a very short description of all the apps which come with a full installation of WLE. If any of them sound appealing try it, if not ignore them.

First go to “explore.live.com,” scroll down the page and click, “Windows Live Essentials” then you will be taken to the main page. Here you will see each of the applications available and a short blurb on each.

Explore Windows Live Essentials

Messenger is Microsoft’s “chat” or messaging client which is used to send text messages in real-time to other people who are online. They can be online via either their computers or phones.

Live Photo Gallery allows you to edit photos, share those photos, and even movies, online. I wrote an article for Microsoft last year about using Photo Gallery to create panoramas at http://bit.ly/cflZcw.

Movie Maker is a neat little app that will let you take your digital pictures and turn them into a movie with music, sound effects, and transitions. You can also do a little movie editing and publish them online. I have used this along with other programs to create a couple of YouTube videos. Search there for “dblclx” to find them.

Next is Live Mesh which I have written about several times over the past three years. It provides “cloud” storage and auto-backup capabilities for your files.

Live Writer is a program mainly for bloggers and there is Family Safety, both of which I have covered in detail over the past several months.

Live Mail is the replacement program for Outlook Express. It is a good application for email. I highly recommend it if you don’t have Outlook or Thunderbird already in place for your personal email access.

The last four parts of Live Essentials are really just add-ons for other programs. First is Messenger Companion, which adds a couple of extra features to Messenger’s chat program. The most appealing one gives you the ability to add comments directly from within Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE). I am not an online “chatter” so I have not really used this other than to test for a short period. The second add-on is Bing Bar which adds a toolbar to MSIE for searching, checking your email, etcetera while surfing the web.

Finally, the last two are Outlook Connector Pack and Silverlight. The connector pack allows you to add Hotmail.com, Live.com email accounts and Messenger to the full version of Outlook. Silverlight is an add-on which allows special video, audio and/or interactivity to be run on your MSIE browser. Silverlight is worthwhile if you go to a site requiring it. However, so far it isn’t widely accepted throughout the net-world.

Note: When you start the install for WLE select the link that says, “Choose the programs you want to install.” You can then select ANY of the above applications. If you choose the other link you will install all of the applications on your system.

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