Back in early July Microsoft, released Windows Live Essentials Beta 2011 which included some really groovy upgrades over their exiting Live Essentials platform. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it had updated Windows Live Essentials 2011 beta to address some of the feedback and suggestions from early adopters. This latest “refresh” of the beta mostly includes performance improvements, but a few new features have been rolled out as well. Here are the highlights posted on the Windows Team Blog:
- 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 (480×640 vs. the previous 320×480).
- 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.
While performance sticklers may appreciate the pepping up of load times, the more prominent additions were made to Messenger, Photo Gallery and Movie Maker. Messenger—which was already overhauled to integrate Facebook status updates and activities—now supports Facebook chat as well. Messenger users in US, UK, France, Brazil, Germany, and Russia can now chat with Facebook friends directly from Messenger (sorry, Canada—guess you’ll just have to hold tight for now). Back by popular demand in Photo Gallery is the date and keyword tree on the left-hand side. Initially, this was axed in favor of the Find tab in the new ribbon. But for those who prefer to shuffle through your photos based on the date taken (year and month), Microsoft has heard you “loud and clear.” Lastly, Movie Maker now allows you to publish directly to Flickr. That includes both videos and Snapshots (single frames of video captured and saved as image files).
So, if you’ve been experiencing issues with the Windows Live Essentials beta or simply want to check out some of the new features, give it a download. Note that users attempting to install the Windows Live Beta refresh on Windows 7 releases in certain languages were getting a “No Internet connection” error and other troubles with the installer. Microsoft says that this issues has since been fixed and that the installer should now work for all users. James Elder explained:
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).
So there shouldn’t be any further issues with the latest Windows Live Beta installer. If you are still having issues, some users have reported that downloading wlsetup-webd.exe resolves the issue. Another commenter reported that you could workaround the issue by canceling setup once the error was received and launching each of the .msi modules manually from C:Program FilesCommon FilesWindows Live.cache to finish the installation. But chances are, you should be able to download the beta and install it successfully as normal, thanks to the recent Microsoft fix.