Windows Live Essentials 2011 Available Now!

Hot on the heels of Windows 7’s first birthday, Microsoft have released a bunch of cool free stuff for you to download!

Windows Live Essentials 2011

Get some great free software from Microsoft

Windows Live Essentials 2011 is a free collection of useful software.

Do more with Windows on your PC, with free programs for photos, movies, instant messaging, email, social networking, and more.

Get it all in one simple download.

Oh, and feel free to choose exactly which parts of Live Essentials you want to install…you may not want to install the whole lot…just pick the components that interest you…you can always add other bit afterwards!

The components I chose were…

My example installation of Live Essentials 2011
My options may not be the best for you! Read on, and I'll explain...

Let’s briefly explore some of my choices, along with recommendations for non-Microsoft equivalents…

  • Messenger – I didn’t install it, because I use the excellent Google Talk chat program.  If Messenger is your favourite, or you don’t yet have a good chat program installed, then feel free to try it.  Also, check out Google Talk (get it here), especially if you already have a Gmail email account.  Or, install them both!
  • Writer – Now, I already do a lot of blogging with WordPress, but I’m checking Writer out in curiosity.  If you are new to blogging, check it out.  Another solid recommendation if you want to get into blogging is to sign up for a free blog website at
  • Family Safety – I got kids…say no more!
  • Mail – If you have Microsoft Outlook (the best email and personal information product ever!), then you’ll probably want to skip this.  If you are looking for a good free email program, especially one that can link your Hotmail account…this could be for you.
  • Windows Live Mesh – Now this is new, and interesting.  I haven’t tried it before, so I’ve downloaded this to put it through it’s paces.  According to Wikipedia, Live Mesh

is a free-to-use Internet-based file synchronization application by Microsoft that is designed to allow files and folders between two or more computers be in sync with each other on Windows (Vista and later) and Mac OS X based computers or the Web via SkyDrive[2]. Windows Live Mesh also enables remote desktop access via the internet.

Alternatives to Live Mesh?  Well, if all you want to do is keep files in sync across a number of PCs, Macs and Smartphones, then you coukd do much worse than check out Dropbox.

  • Bing Bar – I’m not a huge fan of toolbars…they steal valuable screen space.  Please comment below if you choose to use Bing Bar.  We’d love to hear your thoughts!