Windows Live Essentials 2011 beta refresh

Windows Live Essentials 2011 beta refresh

  • Comments 181
  • Likes

Today we’re releasing an update to Windows Live Essentials 2011 beta. One of the main reasons we release betas is to allow early adopters to enjoy our products and provide feedback on their experience. First, we want to say thank you for your help. For Messenger alone, we had over 3 million unique users, 3.5 million updates to display pictures, 6.2 million video calls, and 7.6 million updates to status messages.

Your beta feedback and usage has helped shape the many improvements we’ve made and continue to make across Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Writer, Mail, and Family Safety. Today I’d like to summarize some of the more visible changes you’ll see in today’s update, and we’ll follow up with more details in later posts.

Performance and quality of service improvements

We’re always working to improve the performance and quality of our services and we’ve made significant progress in this area in today’s beta update. This includes things like decreasing the time it takes to start each program or render each webpage, and improving the quality of your experiences. It often takes hundreds of small improvements and optimizations to better the final experience. Here are some of the many improvements you’ll see in this area:

  • A quicker Messenger – The time it takes to sign in, and to refresh contacts and social feeds, as well as animation speed, are all faster than in previous versions of Messenger.
  • More efficient video chat - Messenger video chat uses 30% fewer CPU resources by offloading work to the GPU.
  • Better facial recognition - Photo Gallery facial recognition is improved significantly and works more quickly.
  • Larger movie uploads - Movie Maker will upload higher resolution movies to SkyDrive (480x640 vs. the previous 320x480).
  • Higher bit-rate movies - Movie Maker now supports higher quality (bit-rate) content.
  • Better spell-checking - Writer has significantly improved the quality of its spell-checking.
  • Better integration with Office - Writer is much better at retaining all formatting when you copy and paste from Word and other Microsoft Office programs.
  • Better handling of Gmail – Mail now automatically handles Gmail’s spam and trash folders properly.
  • Faster web filtering - Family Safety web filtering is 35% faster than in the previous version.

In addition, we’ve been able to improve the quality of the software and have fixed over 75% of reported crashes. We’re not always able to reproduce all of the reported crashes internally, but we do look at this on an ongoing basis.

Facebook chat in Messenger

Many of you have been asking for Facebook chat, and it’s finally here. More than half of all Messenger customers also use Facebook. With the previous beta, you got a rich social view that brought together all your updates (including those from Facebook) and gave you one place to see and comment on them. With the new Facebook chat integration, you now also have one place to chat with all your friends. And if you use Facebook but don’t use Messenger today, you now have an always-on “people app” on your PC that gives you instant access and notifications as people come online in Facebook or Messenger.

New Facebook chat integration

From a technical perspective, this is a significant task. We’re connecting Messenger’s ~300 million customers (who are already connected to Yahoo! Messenger and Office Communicator) to Facebook’s ~500 million customers. To make sure this happens smoothly while Windows Live and Facebook both build up the needed back-end infrastructure, we’ll start by releasing this chat capability in the US, UK, France, Brazil, Germany, and Russia today. We’ll continue to expand this offering to additional regions over time.

We know some of you want to connect Facebook to Windows Live, while others prefer to keep things separate. This is a major part of our design and you get to decide when to connect Facebook, and if you do what types of activities you want to allow, including chat. You can change your preferences at any time from your profile page.

Connect to Facebook and Windows Live

Quick previews and improved tree view in Photo Gallery

One of the benefits of the new ribbon user interface in Windows Live Essentials is the ability it gives you to preview a change before you apply it simply by hovering over the option. With the beta update today, we’ve also added preview capabilities to the “Find” tab in the ribbon. So before you apply a filter (date, rating, people tags), you can hover over one of those filters and see the results instantly.

We’ve also added back date and keyword to the tree on the left hand side. While we know many customers will use the Find ribbon to sort through their pictures, we heard loud and clear that others found the tree more useful.

The tree helps to sort pictures

Flickr video publishing and Snapshot in Movie Maker

With the new Snapshot feature in Movie Maker, you can select a single frame from a video as it appears in the preview window and add it to your movie. This allows you to quickly grab an image that you want to keep or perhaps use for your movie’s intro or closing.

In addition, because we know many of you use Flickr for photo sharing and have enjoyed publishing to Flickr right from Photo Gallery, we’ve extended support to Movie Maker, so that you can now publish videos directly from Movie Maker or Photo Gallery to Flickr too.

We hope you’ll download today’s update of the Windows Live Essentials 2011 beta and try out the changes.  And today, in addition to English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese, you can also now get the beta in Russian or German.  In this post I covered just a few of the things you’ll notice when you use the new beta update. In subsequent posts we’ll go into more detail on other improvements we’ve made, as well as feedback we’ve received on the new Hotmail.

- Chris Jones

Vice President, Windows Live Engineering

You must be logged in to comment. Sign in or Join Now
  • Xavier
    1 Posts


    I've tried latest WLM beta, I can't wait to use it but sadly it seems that none of the developers/testers have seriously tried using it with a large number (say 50-100) of mail folders. Both Outlook & Outlook Express can deal with large number of folders fine, but WLM is pretty much hopeless in that respect. I think that copying, or restoring (since WLM is based on OE, AFAIK?) the 2 features described below from OE would go a long way to improve this:

    1/ When copying or moving a folder, I can't use the keyboard to enter the first few letters of the folder to jump the selection to it. Using the mouse (or the cursor keys) to navigate the folder list is extremely slow, and of course the larger the number of folder the worst it is. Both Outlook and Outlook Express do this correctly, could you please put that feature back in?

    Actually, possibly even better would be something like the Nostalgy Thunderbird extension, that is autocomplete (like the bing search box) your folder list, see:

    2/ When an entire account (as opposed to a single folder) is focused in the folders pane, there should be (just like there is in OE) a list of the folders from that account shown in the message page, so that I can "control click" individual folders, then right click and set the synchronization settings to headers/all messages/new messages only. Could you please add that back in? Only way to do this at the moment with WLM is do individually right click on each folder, which is fine when you have a couple but not time consuming when you have many.

    I have 3 co-workers that have the same usability problem with WLM, and we are all stuck using Outlook Express in XP Mode until this is fixed. We're so desperate for #1 that we've even tried hacking the control using a DLL hook, but because they are non-standard we haven't had much luck. Please help us and add this to WLM 4/2011 so we can use it... thank you very much in advance :)



  • this looks amazing! so far no glitches. everything' fine. EXCEPT! WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DIPLAY NAME AND PERSONAL MESSAGES! please put it back! i dont want people looking at my full the the whole time! haha.

    over all, FANTASTIC PRODUCT! (:

  • Hi, I love Photo Gallery, the options to read and geotag photos is great however one major thing is missing that iPhoto has, a built in map to view my entire collection of geotagged photos on the map at once. Once you add this feature it will be much popular I'm sure.

  • W.e.b.o
    2 Posts

    Hi again.

    I just saw thet it's the Sharepoint that gives  a kind ocf double address ( http://intranet/teknik/Lists/Fel%20Rappotering/DispForm.aspx?ID=1807&Source=http%3A%2F%2Fintranet%2Fteknik%2FLists%2FFel%2520Rappotering%2FAllItems%2Easpx ) and if I delete the 2Source=http%3A%2F%2Fintranet%2Fteknik%2FLists%2FFel%2520Rappotering%2FAllItems%2Easpx" that it adds after the url then everything is working fine.

    Still there is something in the new Messenger that is diffrent from the version before because the urls are working fine in that version.

  • W.e.b.o
    2 Posts

    Hi. The smartfilter in the new Messenger is blocking links from our intranet (sharepoint). I have dissabled the Smartfilter in IE8 but still it won't show the side when clicking and intranet url from an Messenger window. Error it gives me is "There is a problem with the link. It seems to be something wrong with the link you are trying to open. Parts of the link may have been modified or content is invalid."

    If i copy the url then it works fine and we have always been able to do this before.

    The urls look like this: http://intranet/teknik/Lists/Fel%20Rappotering/DispForm.aspx?ID=1728&Source=http%3A%2F%2Fintranet%2Fteknik%2FLists%2FFel%2520Rappotering%2FAllItems%2Easpx

    I'm guessing that it''s something with the address that the Smartfiler / Messenger don't like because it don't have the extension .com (or .se or whatever) and therefore can't check it and then blocks it somehow.

    Any idea what to do?

  • Is this a good place to leave comments about Windows Live Photo Gallery? I have used the new beta for many hours (I have tagged persons like crasy!) and have found some things that I would like the team to know about. Is this the place for that then? Or is there some kind of beta program or something that I can join?

  • Live Gallery:

    - send mail also with web mail accounts (GMail, YMail, Hotmail etc) than with the current default application.

    - add geotag should be done also with a map (I did not find for example "Monument Valley", "Lake Powell", "Bryce Canyon", "Grand Canyon", etc).

  • ONeill
    1 Posts

    Great :-/ I had to change the password for my account on facebook and now I can't use FB chat. But before changing password it worked. It's really stupid! I'm from Czech Republic.

  • Also one more feature I would want Live Mail to introduce.. I've got three email accounts configured in Live Mail. In which two have the "same" email address, only their network settings differ. Meaning, one email account is configured to work on my office's intranet, it has different set of IPs and SSL settings. Whereas the same email address can be accessed through internet with a different set of IPs. So I've added two email accounts for same email address because of this difference.

    Now when composing new email, there is a combobox that says "From: " and lists all the available email accounts on Live Mail. Here's the problem.. it lists the email addresses, whereas IMO it should list the names of the email accounts. Since two of my accounts have same email addresses, i cannot differentiate which is the intranet account and which is internet. If Live Mail could show account names instead of email addresses, I could differentiate between the two.

  • I was really really hoping the new Windows Live Mail would have the feature of adding tables to emails, like Outlook. I often have to compose emails containing tabular data, so to achieve this I first have to open MS Word 2007, create a table with my data in it, to all the cell coloring and font styles, and then copy & paste it inside my email.

    Obviously Live Mail supports richtext, so why can't MS allow "Insert Table" feature in Live Mail ?

  • haltsha
    1 Posts

    Naaaah, don't be fooled by this!!! this version kinda sucks! if you sign in as "appear offline" and you wanna chat to someone, you cant, you gotta change it to "online", what the hell? and another thing, it cant verify messenger plus !! :(.

    i hate it!

  • good to see that now I can talk to facebook friends via Windows Live Messenger interface. :)

  • @GuilhermePSantos

    The team is definitely keeping an eye on your comments. Feel free to submit any bugs into our forums (

    Regarding your comments about batch people tagging it seems that what you're experiencing is that you're confirming some faces and new ones come right afterwards. The face recognition system is always running, learining and trying to find suggestions to make so that might bee what you're seeing.

    Crtl+click or Shift+click should be working correctly on the batch people tag mode.

    If you're still facing issues let us know.

  • @camillo777

    You can easily get to the search at any time with the shortcut Ctrl+F. Just use it and you can start typing to search. You also have the option to add it (as any other ribbon button) into the Quick Access Toolbar to have it always closeby in the Window title.

    With the latest beta you have the option to bring the left tree for dates and tags, just turn on the option under Options.

    If you keep adding filters you'll get what you're looking for since it will look for photos that have all the conditions you put (ie keyword AND rating of 3 or above AND person)

    Unfortunately importing a gps track to do geotagging is not supported but we'll look into that for future versions.

    Glad to see you're liking geotagging.

  • diogopm
    2 Posts

    Please, PLEASE, bring back the custom display name option!

    I really liked the new version but the fact that you won't let me type in a custom display name made me roll back to the older version.

    Why remove something that lets the user personalize his WLM? And, no, going to the live profile and changing it there is not a good option. Please restore that feature... at least make it an option. I know not everyone wants to see nicknames on their contact list but you shouldn't be forcing everyone like that.

    Handwriting would be nice too. I at least make use of it quite often.

  • @danielgr Regarding the bug on photomail, thanks for raising the issue. The team will look into it.

  • thuriel
    10 Posts

    Everything's awesome but I just miss the nicknames, what's up with that? A lot of people in fansites say they aren't updating because of that. I strongly suggest you bring nicknames back, because either way I didn't enter my real name on my profile.

    Actually I did it before but since I can't change my nickname I changed my name.

  • hitmouse
    96 Posts

    I have enormous concerns about privacy on here. It is so hard for me to tell who can see what related to my profile - it's a couple of orders more difficult than with Facebook to control all of this.

    I thought I'd hidden my friends list, but I'm really not clear. If I look at one of my friend's profile and "what I share with him", he supposedly has the right to see my friends. But if I click on that  link to my friends in my profile, it takes me to my Hotmail Inbox,. WTF?????

    There is also no way for me to see what my profile looks like from the POV of a friend, or friend of friend, or random person. Hasn't Microsoft learnt anything from the Facebook experience?

    All the privacy defaults seem to have been set to Everyone, which seems to go against all common sense for privacy and security esp with respect to the "principle of least privilege".

  • hitmouse
    96 Posts

    MESSENGER PROFILES - There are definitely privacy issues which people may not be aware of. I idly tracked through an acquaintance's friend list, and thence to friends of friends. At that point I saw the original acquaintance listed again, but with an unflattering comment/nickname right next to it. Definitely a problem seeing that private comments are exposed like this!!

  • YAY! THANK YOU! I love this.

  • hitmouse
    96 Posts

    HOTMAIL: About half of all the alerts I get through Microsoft's forums are caught by the Hotmail spam filter (and it's been like this for years). Since I have to sign into those forums with the same profile as my Hotmail account, surely there must be a way of recognising that these are valid communications.

    This might partially explain why so many people never return to their forum posts - unless they've bookmarked them, they may never see alerts for answers.

  • Zeus77
    1 Posts

    I have not been able to use the new messenger. I am currently trying the beta however the experience has not been what I expected :( For some reason it keeps signing out after 20 secs. Before I was using Live Messenger 2009 without any kind of issues. I have tried a couple of suggestions from the blog without any luck. I believe this is some sort of bug with the beta version since it was not happening with 2009 version.

  • DaltonB
    1 Posts

    So, I'm big in graphical arts, and I must say I absolutely love the beta. The animations are fluid, the graphics and crisp, clean, and beautiful. But honestly, why did the team remove handwriting? Almost every single person I know used it, be it because that had a tablet PC or because they liked to draw on it (like I did). I can't help but feel that I've downgraded features in a manner. It worked well, I see absolutely no point in removing it. It really is a blow to tablet users, it was great in functionality.

    So my only request is that you all re-add its functionality in the public release, I really do miss it, as do all of my friends.

  • Marwan
    1 Posts

    I have 3 annoyances and one "future" suggestion:

    Annoyance 1

    Why did you remove the quick edit and picture info tools in the viewer mode? It is very important to me to be able to edit photos on-the-run (as i view them) in other folders than those in my picture library without getting these folders added automatically to my WLPG folder list! This is very annoying. Every time i want to edit a single unrelated picture, i have to to click on "Edit, organize or share", wait a while until WLPG gallary loads (i have a huge library!), the "unwanted" folder where the picture is gets added to my folder list automatically, then i have to double click the picture again to get it open it, then click fine-tune to start editing. At the end, remove the unwanted folder from WLPG. Thats a very long way!

    Annoyance 2

    I think the way WLPG handles videos is not really well-done. IMO, 2 basic functions are missing: volume control, full screen mode (without having to switch to slideshow). The difference between a simple full-screen mode and the slideshow mode, is that i could still go back and forth in the video (while showing it to somebody, eg the video is too long and i want to jump fast to interesting parts). The same for pictures: in slide show i can't zoom in or out to show interesting details in a certain picture.

    Annoyance 3

    Slideshow modes are really awesome. But whats really missing is a simple mode (no effects!)

    Annoyance 4

    why is not possible to remove the Videos library from WLPG? Why is that not optional?  

    "Future" suggestion:

    Why don't you merge WLPG and movie maker into one single product, so that we can have easy video editing from within WLPG, and easy photo editing in Movie Maker? I wouldn't even mind if Windows Media Player fused in too --- the best of all worlds :)

  • This is a beta version people!!! I cannot believe some of the over reactive whining I am reading in this comment section. From, “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING MICROSOFT?” to, “I CANNOT BELIEVE I HAVE A DOWNLOAD ERROR!” are the types of comments I am referring to.

    For those of you unaware of what a beta version of software is allow me to explain. It is part of the program development life cycle that allows a few privileged users to work with specific software so bugs can be found, and corrected, before commercial production commences and the software is released to the public. The final version of software from any company is usually sold at a set retail or commercial price. Most of the time beta version testers are a handful of nonpublic people who are lucky enough to get a head start on what is being developed in the computer world. Microsoft is kind enough to let the public test their upcoming software which is both generous and an outstanding marketing idea. Your participation is completely voluntary. So, if you do not like working alongside a few bugs in your software I suggest staying away from beta programs.

    The whole point is that Windows Live Essentials Beta, and many other Microsoft programs in the beta stage, is available to more than a few insiders, it is free, and sometimes Microsoft allows the people who participated in the beta step of the program development life cycle to keep the beta version, obtain the retail version free of charge, or purchase the retail version at a discounted rate.

    Please be more considerate when posting to windows team members about your free software you volunteered to use. Patience would be nice too. No more whining either!

    Keep up the good work Microsoft!

    Thank You,

    A College Student (and father of four)!

    (Disclaimer: I am not employed by, nor am I an affiliate of Microsoft. Microsoft does not necessarily agree with, nor condone my preceding thoughts and comments. This post was written on my own accord.)

  • -Nice move with the nicknames, but i think the handwriting feature was ok, i like graphic design, and it was cool to share a quick idea with it, so i hope we may have it as a downloadable feature as least.

  • My problem:  remote connections between XP Pro and Windows 7.  Live Mesh used to do this, now it doesn't work on 7 and is being discontinued, and the new Live Sync Beta doesn't support XP.  Am I screwed?  I need to continue with XP on certain machines for specific hardware support reasons.

  • hitmouse
    96 Posts

    LIVE WRITER: If you insert a Bing map, it always displays the legend in miles, completely ignoring my system settings for metric. SInce it creates a static map image for the blog, this representation is not viewer dependant.

    Can't insert a Bing map with a route, only a map with really really ugly pushpins.

  • hitmouse
    96 Posts

    LIVE WRITER: For some reason now displays my Blogger titles in Georgia 8.4 text when in Edit mode.

    MESSENGER: Poor visual feedback for blocked contacts - reduced contrast on their icons is insufficient.

    PHOTO FUSION: Is there a 64-bit version of this as there is for ICE? I'm getting out of memory errors when trying to fuse two 15MB photos, when I have 8GB of RAM, and only using 3GB.

    [Window Title]

    Photo Fuse

    [Main Instruction]

    Photo Gallery is running low on memory


    Restart Photo Gallery and try again. If the problem persists, try using fewer photos in your Photo Fuse or resize the photos down to a smaller resolution.


  • hitmouse
    96 Posts

    MESSENGER - really upset that the Handwriting support had been removed. Microsoft puts another dagger into tablet computing.

  • hitmouse
    96 Posts

    @danielgr:: When I first installed I got this screen-sized dialog with only two options: set it up for social media, or set it up for nineMSN. I didn't want either, so I tried the lesser of two evils, being nine MSN, which filled my page with rubbish suited for someone a third my age, and then I located compact view, and slowly recreated all the settings that I had in MSN Messenger before the "upgrade".

    I'm now getting a bunch of emails from the Windows Live Marketing Team, which are also targeted at teenagers. You can't turn it off without turning off more important communications from Microsoft. ( Ditto the emails from Microsoft Office telling me to upgrade my beta to RTM Office 2010, which I already have installed and registered. )  It's weird, Microsoft collects all this information about my age and computing experience etc for my profile, and then just treats everyone like 13 year olds. Absolutely no sense of targetted advertising or communication.

  • I appologise for the double comment but I have noticed a bug with Messenger and Windows 7 (64-bit). The thumbnail preview window that popups when you hover over the Messenger icon in the taskbar is/are not updating. I am aware that they don't update if an application is minimized but Messenger is maximized at the time.

    Just my 2 bits there!

  • I have a few suggestions (all for Messenger):

    1. Seperate display pictures. As in have 1 pic for your profile and another for Messenger

    2. Bring back Display Names! I hate having to use my real name.

    3. Allow multiple instances. I have many Live accounts and I liked having more than 1 Messenger opened at once.

    4. Speed up the process of opening a new convo window with tabbed chat enabled. Takes a few seconds for me.

    5. Shrink the ad window in social view, if possible. It does take up quite abit of room

    That's all I can think of for now. Number 2 is a big must in my opinion!

  • @danielgr

    ok, for me is not very clear, for me usability at its best is coming today from the web design, just try to not reinvent the wheel, it must be intuitive.

    just put very big the fulltext search box.

  • danielgr
    73 Posts

    @ camilio

    You know, you can keep on waiting for the software to be exactly as you want (obviating the fact that it's going to be used by millions of people around the globe which may not totally agree with your needs/tastes), or simply learn to use it.

    I told you, you can select as many simultaneous filters as you want, and clear them individually as you want. It is really simple (although may not be of your taste). Go to the "Find" ribbon, and start clicking around. You can add date, rating, tags, people, text searches, everything that shows on that ribbon menu, and you'll see how they keep on coming just under the ribbon. Wanna remove one? Simply pass your mouse over it and clic on the cross.

  • @danielgr

    The ribbon is very frustrating becose it is so confusing...

    I would love to combine filters clicking on the faceted results on the right (like in the Google search results).

    By now every click on the right pane replace the currently selected filter.

    And provide also a  "Clear filters" link like in the old Photo Gallery.

  • Ugosan
    3 Posts

    @danielgr yeah, but I wrote "like in Google Chrome", it's far far different ;)

  • @danielgr it would be a great convenience to have this but really hope it is limited to skydrive and as I mentioned, taking a page out Windows Phone 7's book and adding folders from all connected services such as flickr, picasa, facebook, etc - like a desktop version of the "Pictures Hub" on the phone side!

    This would also show some real consistency for once across all of Microsoft's product line ;-)

  • danielgr
    73 Posts

    @hotmouse : I don't understand your messenger gripe, is it the "social view" which you don't like? If so, you can go to compact using the icon on the top right side of the MSG box. I don't get any strange dialog when starting messenger (not after the first launch after install).

    @ camilio :

    - Left filters (tags and date)  can be brought back through the options menu

    - Agree on the text search (should be permanent)

    - You can set multipole filters by simply selecting them sucessively on the ribbon (tag, search, rating, people, etc.) Each time you apply a filter you'll get an indication on top of your photos, which allows you to individually remove or add more filters at wish (love this feature; love the ribbon after taking a bit of time with it).

    @Ugosan: In messenger you can undock tabs by right clicking on them.

    @littledictator : would love to see your requested feature of being able to browse skydrie galleries from WLPG.

  • hitmouse
    96 Posts

    PHOTO GALLERY - It couldn't find a filter for the CR2 image time, so it unhelpfully sent me to a Canon webpage for Windows Vista!!!

    We’re really sorry but the page you’re looking for could not be found.

    It could be that the page has moved, or if you typed the address directly into your browser you might want to check the URL for errors. Alternatively, try again using the menus or the search box above.

    Thanks for visiting Canon.

  • hitmouse
    96 Posts

    There is less incentive to use the feedback pages for individual products because there is a 1000 character limit (and the edit box provides no character count).

    Why not provide feedback links from the beta software instead of making people hunt around the net through various dead team blog links? I spent 10 years at Microsoft and find this inability of the company to join the dots completely frustrating.

  • hitmouse
    96 Posts

    Just installed the alter refresh.

    Messenger - I really hate the starting dialog giving me a choice between adding social media or a horrible news site, when I want neither. I thought I was doing something I couldn't see a way to skip both.

    Messenger didn't carry over my old contact display settings.

    Live Writer - I usually like the Ribbon in apps, but it is not as useful in Writer as the old sidebar. For instance, resizing pictures now requires so much more work calling up modal drop-downs, when before I could jump click around pictures and just see the dimensions update in the sidebar. This is really a big step I have to keep going back to the ribbon everytime to reclick to see the sizes. This slows down creating my picture intensive posts quite considerably.

    You still haven't gotten rid of all the ampersand display problems with blog titles. It's ridiculous seeing this turned into space+underscore still e.g. in the publishing splash-dialog. You really need to get developers who know how to isolate these strings and protect them from being improperly escaped EVERYWHERE in the code.

    Resizing and moving a Bing map in a blog post is really disconcerting. It's quite tricky and because the context sidebar keeps appearing and disappearing (why does it get a sidebar and not ribbon?) as I click on it to resize and around it to adjust whitespace and line breaks. I can't even type in linear dimensions for the map area!

    Also annoyed that categories are now sorted with capitalised tags first. - I thought I'd lost a whole lot of tags!

  • I'm not sure where bug reports can be posted, so I sure hope that someone from the WL Essentials team is reading this blog, or that the bug report gets reposted to the appropriate place.

    In Photo Gallery - I clicked on Batch People Tagging; no suggestions were available, so I proceeded to manual tagging. When I select multiple pictures by clicking on the checkboxes that are located in the top left corner, click on "Tag as", add the tag - once all of this is done, a selection is still active for the picture that came right after the last one I had selected (this one is not the same person). This is really annoying and can result in wrong tags.

    Also, using CTRL+Click to select multiple pictures doesn't appear to be working - I then tag them, and while some pictures disappear from the thumbnails, others are kept there (maybe it's just one that disappears, not sure on this).

  • The new Photo Gallery:

    what I do not like:

    - search box must be very visible!!! not hidden

    - where didi the left filters go?

    - I do not think the Office styled menus are good; they are very very confusing and is not easy to find something

    - how to add more filters at once? (ie. keyword AND rating AND person)

    what i like:

    - geotag (can I import a gps track?)

    - linked web sites are finally updated...

  • Sadatay
    15 Posts

    I just figured out that you'll have to restart your computer or maybe log out of Windows and log back in before the windows live essential programs realize that you changed your password. Still a problem and needs to be addressed.

  • Sadatay
    15 Posts

    What's worst is that when you launch Photo Gallery and remember it automatically signs you in once you've signed in before and signed out, if you click view my profile it takes you in to Windows live directly even if you signed out in the previous session. Scary stuff

  • Sadatay
    15 Posts

    Big sign in problems with windows live essentials. once you sign in to any of the windows live programs and ask to remember your password you stay signed in FOREVER. And I mean forever, even if you go to your inbox and change your password, that doesn't change anything, once you launch messenger it automatically signs you in somehow same goes for Photo Gallery. I don't know how it gets ur new password. This is Really Scary something has to be done and FAST

  • Ugosan
    3 Posts

    A few suggestions:


    As already said by Dante003, I don't like the classic layout of categories: the "new" one shown in this leaked screenshot of a previous internal build it's far better if you have many contacts;


    Windows Live Messenger should import also Facebook "Friend Lists", in order  to choose wich list appear online to, as you can do on (please read );


    Facebook Pages should be removed from contact list;


    It's VERY important, as littledictator said, that you add "Like" button in the "Social View";


    You should improve tabbed conversations, in particular implement a docking/undocking feature like in Google Chrome;


    Make the option to turn on Facebook chat more visible;


    Please, add back handwriting ability and display names!

    Thank you for your hard work!

  • Firstly, I totally agree with @danielgr feature request that "download all" option should be made available to all, not just those with a Live ID. This would definitely be an off-put in its current state for people whom I'm emailing photos to, who would insist that I use an alternate solution instead - please fix!

    Secondly, a huge well done on creating such a high quality update to WL Essentials but now for a whole bunch of other feature requests that I feel are most definitely important to make the cut for the final release of Wave 4 Essentials! A lot of these are always based around the already brilliant Facebook integration included throughout the Essentials suite :)

    - Facebook like buttons in Messenger! This is a must, must, MUST! From the first beta I have found this to be a glaring omission in Messenger's social view! I'm constantly forced to return to in my browser just to "like" a status update, link, video or photo post or photo album. This MUST BE ADDED to everywhere where it is needed by final release (including within the brilliant new photo previewer window for individual photos in an album). This can be done in other 3rd party apps for Facebook, like Seesmic Desktop and Tweetdeck, so there's no excuse not to have it!

    - It's great that you can see friends updates in the social feed across different networks like Facebook and Myspace (and I hear a little birdie tell me that Linkedin will be included in this soon too) but it would be also great if the status updates of ONLINE FACEBOOK CONTACTS in Messenger would show under their profile name within the contacts list and within a conversation, as they do for Windows Live online contacts that have a status update.

    -  Facebook chat integration is awesome but still needs a bit of work it seems to iron out bugs and refine toasts. The main bug I am finding is that contacts appear to go offline in the middle of conversations. However, they can still be seen online on and further more, they still see me online and wonder what I am waiting for to respond to their messages. If this is a built-in time out feature it needs to be removed or given the option to be switched off - please fix. Also, now that more people are frequently coming online, my toast notifications are crazy! There needs to be an option in settings to switch off toasts for Facebook contacts coming online. I know there is a workaround by adding some people to favourites and then switching off all other online notifications, but this isn't the solution. Please fix.

    - Talking of chat integration, these are both long-shots but now that you already have Facebook and Yahoo chat integrated, wouldn't it be cool to also have G-Talk and maybe even Skype chat/call integration too? Would it? Just a little maybe??? They both have open APIs so you guys should definitely capitalise on this one and turn your IM into the first Windows "Super IM"... If not Skype, maybe cut a deal with Fring to provide the first desktop solution for their brilliant mobile service? I have a lot of friends who don't use WL Messenger who I keep in touch with frequently through those other services and I'm sure I'm not alone here, so it would be extremely useful to add these IMs into the mix too, making Messenger an even more relevant desktop tool in 2010 (not 2013 with Wave 5 :P) Just a thought ;-)

    - Updating my status across multiple services from one place in the form of Messenger is really cool and akin to a service like :) As I already mentioned, I've heard on the grapevine that Linkedin is probably coming soon, so I'll expect that feature to extend to this network too. However, it would also be great to have Twitter status update integration and maybe even G-Talk status thrown into the mix too? I know you guys at Microsoft are big fans of Twitter already (I follow at least 15 official feeds!) so surely this is a must for you too? Also, there's some times when I don't want to post the same status update to every network, so there definitely needs to be an easy way to check box which social networks you wish to post your updates to, including a "post to all" option. Finally, add a 140 character counter in the status box whilst typing an update... for obvious reasons! ;-)

    - Finally, there's a great and easy way of quickly browsing and sharing photos and albums from your online locations like Skydrive and Facebook within a Messenger conversation. However, there's currently no good way of browsing your online albums on the desktop from within WL Photo Gallery. This is a huge oversight that needs to be looked into and added as a feature for the final release. Take a page out of your own Windows Phone 7 hymn sheet and integrate online albums from Skydrive, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, etc as local, browsable folders within your Windows 7 Pictures library as if they are offline files, even if this only shows up within Photo Gallery and not Windows Explorer. This would really provide something unique that other desktop services currently don't offer and make browsing and downloading photos from these collections a breeze without ever needing to open the web browser again.  Also, with the mention of those other services above, it seems in Messenger that currently you can only share online photos from Facebook and Skydrive so this definitely needs to be expanded to the other popular services mentioned, especially as you already have plugins for uploading photos and videos to such places as Flickr and Youtube!

    Add all the above (and please do as your existing customers will love you more for it and you'll have far more new customers aching for it when they see this attention to detail) and I think you'll have a near-perfect set of desktop products that will rival many other alternative services that separately provide some of these features already! :)

  • danielgr
    73 Posts

    - Feature request :

    It would be great if you could make the "Download all" link on WLM photo albums available to people without a windows live account. Specially in Europe, there are many "anti-microsoft" people that would never consider opening a Windows Live account. Yet many of those happen to be friends of people like me, and it's a pity they cannot enjoy the photo-mail options. Is even worse because that always ends up with the typical : "that's what happen because you use Microsoft products". It would be much better if that featured remained as open as the "view slide show" one, and if anything, it could help other people discovering Microsoft services. After all, I'm sending an e-mail (not exactly sharing an album on skydrive) and people expect to be able to download attachments from an e-mail.

  • danielgr
    73 Posts

    @ Analy,

    It's always when sending a photo e-mail; photo gallery has never failed me so far.

    This problem was already there in the previous beta, it simply hasn't been solved so far.

    This time I got 8 albums created with anything from 1 to 48 photos until the final successful trial (fortunately WLM keeps on trying without me telling it to do so).

    I've also noticed your chances of success improve drastically if you choose to send smaller pics (1600px or 600px). I was sending 2400px ones of about 2MB per file.

    PS: Already said before that I preferred the old school photo e-mail that allowed you to send real personalized thumbnails and include the comments on the e-mail, but I guess I may not be among the majority...

  • @danielgr Regarding your bug report are you seeing the album failures when you upload to SkyDrive from Windows Live Photo Gallery or when creating a photomail from Windows Live Mail?

  • I managed to to play around with the beta refresh build and the face recognition has much improved! Very nice! Tagging faces can be somewhat addictive :) It would be useful to have a view mode in which all of the faces tagged can be reviewed, possibly in the batch people tagging mode. This way users could review the people tags and correct any tagging errors which sometime occur when batch tagging them.

  • Can we have the ability to clear your status within messenger? You status should also be cleared if you clear it from within Facebook.

  • danielgr
    73 Posts


    To leave an off line video message you have to options:

    1) double left-clic on the offline contact to leave an off-line message, then you will see the "video message" option

    2) right clic on the offline contact and clic "Send video message".


    Every time you install an updated BETA it will remove your shortcuts from your taskbar (and probably from other locations aas well); at least it did to me. You have to go find them again and put them where you want them to be.


    I really wonder how are you drag&dropping your photos. In my W7 build at least when doing that WLM automatically creates a photo-album. If you want to turn those into regular attachments instead of using SkyDrive simply clic on the "clip" icon of the ribbon, and you'll get it.

    @ Microsoft Guys (congrats on the Beta2 release, great improvement)

    - Bug repport : Connection to send large albums (30 or 50 pics) as albums through skydrive seems to be pretty tricky, and fails most of the time. The bad thing is that it creates one incomplete album after another until it manages to send the whole thing, so you have a pretty big mess to clean up afterwards. Would be nice if the client managed some kind of "resume" feature, or if it created temporary albums before ensuring that everything is up there. Of course, it would be even better if the sending process never failed but...

    - Feature request : I'd love to get the possibility to add a "favorite folders" group on WLPG, on top or under the folders view; just like in W7/VISTA explorer, but exclusive to WLPG and for photos only.

    @ all

    I'm truly amazed about all the ranting concerning this BETA. I guess that's what happens when you open the BETA process to the big public. For once, you are told not to install a BETA software on your main computer, and if possible to try it in something like a virtual machine, to ensure that nothing bad happens to your much precious data and beloved pre-existing software.

    If I was working at Microsoft I would have already gave up on you, but I guess they make too much money with us to be sincere and tell us how pitiful we look. "Customer is always right", isn't it? Com'on guys, those Microsoft guys are just human beings, and I bet most work harder than any of us to begin with. Keep it constructive and stop using big words that help noone.

  • @amedrano - The shortcuts to the programs you are looking for should be at the "root" of your start menu.  Previously, we had these under a "Windows Live" sub folder but we have moved the main applications to the top to better fit in with the rest of the Windows built-in programs.

  • When people from Windows Team are commenting here they should have different avatar...otherwise we are forced to read every single comment to find out the officicial response from windows...yeah so what if pretty woman work there

  • I have been using the beta and it's great.

  • It would be nice to have the ability to edit our current Messenger status instead of having to type it out again to make an edit to it. If you need an example of what I'm talking about, try changing your current status in the current non-beta version of Messenger.

  • Tobias
    2 Posts

    I want my old messenger name back! And my concats personal names, not mname from profile. it sucks!

  • Captain
    2 Posts

    I have this error there is not Internet connection or Error 0x80070057 I managed to fixed it following these steps

  • EdP0
    2 Posts

    show contact's theme not working!! please someone help me i only see blue windows and cant see the theme of my contact... please someone give me an answer. thanks in advance :D

  • when will active sync be enabled ?

  • eric2k
    3 Posts

    where is the handwriting ability in this latest beta? It is still missing? WHY? this was the one unique feature to windows live messenger.

    also display names :(? why remove them?

  • EdP0
    2 Posts

    contact themes not loading, only blue windows and the option its checked to show contacts themes... anybody has this problem to???

  • Also for my sony video camera that has usb hookup can i directly download video clips using movie maker?

  • I want to use the new movie maker to capture video from my web cam. I dont see that Movie Maker does that.

    Am I wrong, there are no links to click on a program that is part of the beta, and get the features.

    Am i missing something?

  • Hi, updated to the last beta today and now i don't have shortcuts in start menu, im using windows 7 pro.

    any help?

  • New features are nice. But what about the ability to block contacts in Messenger?

    The block feature seems to have disappeared completely from Messenger 2011. With the first beta build I assumed it was some kind of bug or still being worked on. But now much later with the beta refresh it is still not possible to block people in any way at all. What am I supposed to do when someone annoys me on Messenger? Run away from the computer screaming?

    Some people are saying "appear offline" is the new block. But this isn't true, appearing offline to someone only makes it impossible to send messages to someone, but you will still receive messages from these people. This seems rather pointless, why would someone want to receive messages without any possibility to reply back?

    Back to the original point of the lacking block function: What do I do when I am busy talking to someone and someone else is annoying me. Even deleting the person from my contact list doesn't seem to work:

    MSN and later Live Messenger have always had a block function. Any other instant messaging application I know of has a block function, or in some cases an ignore function. It seems completely crazy to release an IM app without a block button.

  • woa ! that's awesome, can't wait till it hits the rest of the countries !!

  • So far, it's been amazing

  • waded
    4 Posts

    Congrats on the beta refresh release. Windows Live's never looked so good. Question: Is audio/video chat in the latest Windows Live Essentials 2011 release compatible with Messenger for Mac 8 (the beta released in March?) I was wondering whether I should advise those in the family with Macs (I was once a Mac, reborn a PC, and now others need to take that journey) to go to the Messenger for Mac 8 beta to video chat with me (if it does work)... or I should have them wait (because it doesn't.)

  • Glad to see the "Date Taken and Tags" on the tree of Photo Gallery again, I was going crazy without them.

    So far I'm liking the improvements to the apps. Specially having calendar next to email messages in Mail. However, I could have sworn I could just drag and drop files (pics) into new email messages. Was this not always the case? I just can stand going through dialog boxes just to attach an image to an email.

  • The Windows Live Sync works a lot better now; but could you remove the feature that puts the background black on while remote accesing a computer. I have to go to Personalize and switch the themes in order to get my background back on the desktop.

  • How come my old HTML signature in Windows Live Mail became plain text after installed the update?

  • CherylC
    1 Posts

    scuba811, Movie Maker does support .mov files, if you're having trouble getting it to work, you should post the steps that you follow to add the files, as well as the type of camera here:

  • envutec
    2 Posts


    I am sorry to say that but the new live messenger has been a total dissapointment to me since the first public beta is released.  First off, why would I need to edit my name online instead of keeping the way it was?  I, personally, and a lot of other people I believe, like to use nicknames in their MSN.  This new way of editing names is somehow forcing me to use real names only (given it provided me a "First name" and "Last name" box).  Even if I can use nicknames by ignoring those boxes, do you really think it's a more convenient way to do so?  I don't think so.

    The "Social" feature is another highlight for the new messenger and again it's dissapointing.  Do you really think people would use the messenger instead of web browsers to connect to Facebook?  The full view of the new messenger uses up most of my screen space (my screen resolution is 1440x900) and yet it's far too basic.  Why don't I just open up a tab in the browser and enjoy my "full" facebook experience?  Messenger is not a massive  all-in-one social hub.  Messenger is messenger, nothing more.  The new messenger is beccoming a bloatware!

    Please, Chris, accept my advise.  Don't let messenger become an annoying bloatware.

  • It would be nice if the geo tags could be also be displayed in the tree view like the other "tags". MS Expression Media had a similar function which was very s useful. Also, I believe an integrated mapping function would be better that simply opening a browser window.

  • Is there any support for adding .mov support to Movie Maker?  My video camera creates .mov by default and support in Movie Maker would be great!

  • **** IMPORTANT to the dev team! ****


    I have only ONE request and it's something extremly simple and important to me and many other users... it's for (Windows Live Photo Gallery).

    - Let us choose the background color instead of forcing it to a horrible white that ruins the contrast and creates a lot of eye fatigue. I do a lot of  "professional shooting" with my Canon T1i camera and the only reason I'm staying on Photo Gallery 2008 instead of 2009 is because of the black background. Not only it reduce by 100x my eye fatigue but it doesn't make the picture's color appear as wrong when they're not. Just do a quick comparison of a complex picture on a white background then black and you'll see right away what I mean. So just let us choose our own custom background color PLEASE !

  • adam1762
    11 Posts

    I ask again, what about with the Stationery themes in Windows LIve Mail - it's fault, please give me back stationery to Windows Live Mail, please answer me why haven't this one?

  • kchiman
    3 Posts

    what are you thinking microsoft team?

    i really really really disappoint for the display name...

    it is a very bad idea to disable customize display name

    it is also a very damx thing to show the full name in wlm,,,

    if you wanna follow facebook "blindly"  at least let user to choose not to show surname ...

    i know you guy will not reply us

    but i really want you re-consider about the display name again.

    i may not upgrade or even change my instant messenger client if customize display name still not available.

    i guess many of the users will not too.


  • Beijner
    1 Posts

    thx for the fix on the "no internet connection"-problem, it works lika a charm now! :D

  • adam1762
    11 Posts

    What about the Stationery in the windows live mail - it's fault, please more information aobout it.

  • Just downloaded, and love the photo gallery and new movie maker with video uploads... can wait for additional features...

    The web pages for sync and livewriter seem to be down (and others?)  I was growing very dependent on LiveMesh, and am now trying to get sync up to replace it, but no luck yet...

  • Thank you for the fix :) The beta refresh is great ! Good work !

  • Update looks good, but why did you have to remove the History option from the right-click menu of contacts in Messenger? It was very handy to be able to quickly get to the conversation history of a contact without having to open an IM window just to find its History option. Can you add this back on if I'm using the History features? :/

  • Good work!  Thanks for noticing that in the first beta of Windows Live Photo Gallery once you rated a photo, its rating wasn't visible until you went back to the full list.

    Surprised that Geotag seems to work on and off and even more suprised to find out that Bora Bora, French Polynesia, isn't coming up as a valid location.  I just returned and uploaded my photographs and cannot geo-tag them -- just an error on my side?  Also, as Weiqi noted below, a map would be a welcome addition so we can go "i-what?"

    Finally, face recognition HAS improved, but more work is probably needed -- I would expect it to be more proactive going through all my photographs and asking me to validate faces.  Instead, it seems to have focused on a group of them (i have more than 60,000) and once it's exhausted that group, it waits for me to navigate the folders and go one by one to be asked to identify the faces.  

    Not a big fan of chatting, but seems like that FB functionality is getting lotsa thumbs up.

  • @James Elder Thank you for the fixed installer and for fixing the issue so quickly. It now works perfectly on my English UItimate Windows 7 with Swedish language pack. The new installer per se is actually better and faster than the old one, now that it works regardless of language. I think people especially in a lot of European countries think, me  included, Microsoft is ignoring us. In Finland and Sweden we have some ancient Bing engine without any of the new bing features. I have yet to find even one business listing in Finland or Sweden on Bing Maps. Web Hotmail has restrictions  so that some new features  only are avaiable in the US. Wanting a new windows Phone 7 but without proper language support and a crippled bing maps I am having second thoughts. Microsoft have side offices in the Nordic countries  but it seems they are useless and doing nothing of relevance for the end user. Yet, Microsoft must be selling millions of software licenses here.

  • One weird issue I've encountered with this new beta refresh, is when I click to edit contact information from the 2011 live messenger, it opens up their information on the hotmail contacts website in firefox, but I get signed into web messenger as well. If I continue editing contact information for different contacts on the 2011 live messenger, I can get signed in 3 locations, (From my pc(*****-PC), from, and Messenger on the Web). When I continue editing different contacts, i continue to get logged into, adding another area that I'm logged into. According to 2011 Live Messenger, I'm current logged into 5 locations.

    Also, I witnessed first-hand how editing a contact and adding their live hotmail info to the Windows Live ID section of their information, can have devastating effects. Apparently, one of my contacts has a Hotmail email address, but doesn't update their live space info. They have a facebook account, and keep it updated. My hotmail contacts page had all of their facebook information pulled into their contact info. But when I put their hotmail address in as their windows live id, the live space page that they don't update overrode all their other information from facebook and everything. I had to remove the live id I put in, before their info reappeared from facebook. Scared the crap outta me. I'll see if I can reproduce this issue with another contact and understand it better.

  • Is there going to be a Twitter integration with Messenger like there is with Facebook?  That would be great!

  • @adam1762 , Capli,  László Halász, Miroslav Havlíček, wisnia, Wurlitzer, sp1der, Fredrik72, arknu

    A fix for the "no internet connection" error you encountered has been released.  Please retry and reply if you continue to see errors in your installation experience.

    Root cause is that we added functionality to the Windows Live Installer to also install language resources matching the Windows OS language and mistakenly included references to languages that are not available until the final Windows Live release.  Users installing on an OS language other than one of the nine languages released for Windows Live would have encountered this failure (English is just another language and not a unique cause of this error).  

    We apologize for the negative experience and inconvenience and appreciate you using Windows Live and for providing feedback.  From this, we are updating our release tools to detect and avoid this problem in the future and investigating changing our error messages to be more helpful.

  • pedz
    1 Posts

    Thank you very much for the update, great to see you responding to feedback.  the date taken and descriptive tags lists in the left pane were key features that I am really happy to see back.  I will echo what some others have said in the hope of it changing, the geotagging needs improvement.  Really need to be able to select the location from a map within photo gallery, and it needs to update the lat/long data in the exif info, along with the descriptive geotag.  Seems strange that changes to the geotag will not update the exif info (picasa does.)  This is a big selling feature in iphoto and picasa and the only feature missing here.  For me, once this feature is complete this app will be perfect.  And being able to view photos by selecting pins on a map is a really nice way to see where you have been.  Really hoping to see this, I don't bother with geotagging as I am waiting for proper support.  

    Thanks again for the great updates!  And everyone should keep in mind this is a beta, there are going to be issues, you have a choice regarding whether to install or not.

  • great news!

  • MartinZ
    2 Posts

    It worked when I downloaded via this link: from owziee's comment.

    But why have you changed, so that you can't choose to only view one webcam at a time? In the older versions, you could do that, now if you both have a webcam you can only have a webcam conversation. I think that should be changed back.

  • @Jagannath, @jagowar, @jmoliver - If you are having problems or want to submit an issue, the best place to do so is through  Many answers are already up there, and if you don't find what you need, please post a new issue.  Thanks.

  • When attempting to install WL Essentials, I get the following error: "Couldn't update to the latest versions" 0x80040601 Source wllogin-i386. I am running Vista 32bit

  • jagowar
    5 Posts

    What is the best way to submit feedback/bugs?  I looked for a connect beta program but did not see one.

    There is a issue with the live mail application where it still separates live/hotmail contacts from facebook contacts (shows them as 2 separate contacts) where the live/hotmail service merges them properly.  Would be nice if the live mail would merge them as well.

  • wisnia
    3 Posts

    Why I don't se the option to turn on facebook chat in my profile?

  • JohnCz
    204 Posts

    Thanks Piero Sierra.  I'm happy to hear that Messenger supports sending video messages to contacts who are either on/off line.  I made sure that my webcam is recognized and configured in Messenger but I do not see the "send video message" menu item when I right click a contact.  Is there something I or my contact may need to do to enable this?  Thanks again.