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With yesterday’s update to Windows Live Essentials (which included the final release of Windows Live Movie Maker), we also released an updated version of Windows Live Family Safety.
Windows Live Family Safety is designed to help parents keep their children safer online. It offers parents the ability to manage which websites their kids can visit, as well as the list of contacts they can communicate with when using the Windows Live services such as Windows Live Spaces, Hotmail and Messenger. It can also generate a report for parents so that they can monitor their children’s computer and online activity. The best part is it lets parents monitor what their kids are doing from anywhere they are online — from any Windows Vista or Windows 7 PC that has web access and that parents have administrative rights to (via http://fss.live.com).
The updated version of Windows Live Family Safety also offers deeper integration with Windows resulting in fewer log-in prompts and faster web surfing compared to previous versions of Family Safety while it’s running on the PC.
Windows Live Family Safety uses Windows accounts as the basis for storing settings. Parents are no longer required to have a Windows Live ID for each child who needs their own settings.
Windows Live Family Safety reads the Windows Parental Control (WPC) settings on Windows Vista and Windows 7 enabling parents to retrieve WPC activity reports from any Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer online. These reports include time spent on the computer, browsing history, and games and applications run. This monitoring is transparent to the end user, as a notification is displayed once on Windows account login when monitoring is enabled.
With Windows 7, there are new Windows APIs which provide software developers greater control of Windows Parental Controls UI and settings. Windows Live Family Safety takes advantage of the new Windows APIs. It’s now easier for users to access Windows Live Family Safety directly from the Windows Parental Controls Control Panel in Windows 7.Windows Live Family Safety is another good example of Windows Live “lighting up” the Windows PC.
With these improvements to Windows Live Family Safety, Microsoft demonstrates its continued commitment to helping parents keep their kids safe on the Web. You can download Windows Live Family Safety, part of Windows Live Essentials, at download.live.com.
The web filter of WLFS is better than the Vista one but I really miss the activity reporting interface from Vista which also had nice notification area integration. WLFS uses the web interface and requires logging in although the password can be saved. Can't MS make it sign in with my Windows account if I associate my Windows account with a Live ID? Plus the web interface isn't very comfortable. Maybe the next version will include a local/rich UI?
This update is renders FSS unworkable for me. I have a Win2k3 domain for my house and accounts, since this is now forcing the using the local Windows account instead of their LiveID, it won't work anymore for me using domain accounts. It used to work, with this update now it doesn't.
Yes, I know this is meant for consumers, but if I as a consumer wanted to run a domain my house why should MS care. It worked before using LiveIDs, now it doesn't, so this renders MS Family Safety useless for my house.