Windows Live Essentials beta refreshed


Repost from the Windows Live team blog

About three months ago, we released public betas of the Windows Live Essentials – our suite of downloadable programs for your Windows PC, including Messenger, Mail, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Writer, Toolbar, and Family Safety.

Windows Live Messenger Windows Live Mail Windows Live Photo Gallery Windows Live Movie Maker Windows Live Writer

Since then, we’ve received a ton of great feedback and we’ve been using that information to update these programs. We’re getting very close to the final release. But before we get there, we’re refreshing the beta versions one more time to make sure we’ve ironed out all the kinks. You can get the latest betas from: http://download.live.com/.

We’re working hard to get the final versions ready to go as soon as possible. So let us know what you like and don’t like, and if you’re running into any issues that we need to take care of before we take the “beta” tags off.

We hope that you’ll find the latest versions even more enjoyable and useful than the first beta versions. Thank you all for the great feedback. Keep it coming!

– Digital Memories Experience team

Comments (21)

  1. Vyacheslav Lanovets says:

    Unlike Picasa, off-line client (Windows Live Gallery) understands color space (Adobe RGB vs sRGB) in JPG files. And it’s great.

    If I publish on flickr with original size, flickr wil get original file and won’t understand Adobe RGB, that’s ok. Gallery will convert to sRGB when resizing for flickr or when resizing for Live Photo.

    Uploading from Internet Browser does not take color space into account. Still, compared to Picasa which does not understand color space at all, this is ok.

    Another thing (EXIF Rotation) is much more important though: If I publish on Flickr it will show pictures according to their orientation. If I publish to Live Photo, pictures are displayed in landscape mode independently of EXIF attribute.

    And in offline client JPG pictures are displayed in landscape mode.

    Windows Live Gallery displays my ARW (raw data) files rotated correctly but display JPGs rotated incorrectly.

  2. dan.carter says:

    Still no joy..

    I’m having an odd issue on Vista Home Premium after updating the previous version of WLPG with the newest (12-15-08) Windows Live Photo Gallery beta.

    Every time I open the program I see the file association dialog even though I select "Yes" to associate image files with WLPG. Most annoying is when I try an open an image I receive an "An error is preventing the photo or video from being displayed." dialog.

    It is interesting that Windows Photo Gallery that ships with Vista will open image files, as will any other image software I have.

    I’m somewhat frustrated by this issue. Have others experienced and/or resolved this issue?

    Kind Regards,

    Dan

  3. marauderz says:

    Live Movie Maker is STILL A JOKE!! The lack of any sort of linear layout feel makes it feel weird… I’m still a supporter of the timeline group.

    ONE caption per video clip? that’s what we get? and not to mention all we get is a simple floating text instead of the various text features previously?

    The new transitions look interesting but right now the output coming out of Live Movie Maker?

    let me give a comparison, remember this Mac vs PC ad?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrJEjCXuAhw

    The output from WLMM is WORSE than this guys. Seriously I think there a lot of people that feel the team can do a better job than this!

  4. DrGerm says:

    Is there a changelog somewhere for WLPG? I’m just curious.

    So far, I see that overall, the UI looks a lot nicer and I like the layout of "Date Taken"; and I see that some changes were made to the People Tags (I don’t have to see "mynameismudxxx1999" any more! Yeah!). It also seems to run a little quicker/smoother but I could be making that up (we have almost 20,000 photos shared across 4 PC’s from a WHS on a network – and I’m able to rapicaly scroll through "All Photos" in the gallery with almost instantaneous loading of thumbnails – it’s great).

    There is a sort of bug that I am having – I wish I could explain it better, but there are a few "rogue" tags that just don’t want to be deleted. It’s kinda like these were old tags that I had since updated (ie changed a "First Name" tag to a "Last, First" tag and then moving it to a category). It’s like the old tag have somehow re-appeared and will re-appear if I try to change or merge it. I don’t ‘think’ these were here prior to updating, although honestly they could have and I didn’t notice because I have a TON of tags and categories.. Wierd..

    Looks good (IMO), we really like how WLPG is coming along.

  5. jaxim says:

    I agree with DrGerm, I’d like to see a change log.

    I am dismayed that the most basic feature of a photo gallery application has not yet been added. I’d like to be able to drag a tag onto a photo(s), rather than having to drag photo(s) onto a tag.

    It is this missing feature and others like it, that I have quit using Windows Photo Gallery and switched over to Adobe’s Photoshop Elements.

    See:

    http://www.microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups/list/en-us/default.aspx?dg=microsoft.public.windows.live.photogallery&tid=bbceb587-4be0-495e-9712-6c6d9390c643&cat=&lang=&cr=&sloc=en-us&p=1

  6. Carl20 says:

    I like the new suite a lot, Messenger and Writer in particular. Windows Live Mail had been my mail client for over 5 months now and with this update it’s just getting better.

    Windows Live Movie Maker is getting better too but is still far away from being really usable. I mostly miss the option to export in HD formats especially now that YouTube introduced HD content. Hope to see that fixed in a next release. (Maybe also the ability to upload HD to YouTube from within Live Movie Maker instead of the crappy quality it uploads in now).

    Carl

  7. GaryJS says:

    I agree with jaxim. Also it would be nice to group the tags say by relationship (family, friends, colleagues etc…)

    Also sill missing the auto learning face recognition too (tag 2 or 3 photos with the same name and from then on WLPG can have a go at automatically identifying the person).. That would be a killer feature!

  8. DrGerm says:

    GaryJS:

    If I understand your post correctly – You can already group tags, and yes it is VERY helpful. There are two ways to do this (that I know of):

    (1) Create a tag (ie "Family") and then just drag-and-drop other tags on top of it. Of note, if you don’t like that arrangement, then just drag them back by themselves or over to another tag that you’ve created.

    (2) In Gallery mode, if you turn on "Info", then you can view and assign tags over on the right hand of the window. In that window, you can assign tags by typing – you can type something like "Family/Last, First"

    Of note, if you type a tag that doesn’t already exist, one will be created for you.

    Hope this helps.

  9. martinsodoma@hotmail.com says:

    Please, add "auto-rotate by EXIF" checkbox to options which will cause pictures are auto-rotated when being displayed (I mean only on screen, not on disk). Auto-rotate on import is useless for existing photos.

  10. GaryJS says:

    Thanks DrGerm, but as I understand it (and I could easily be missing something here) you can only do that with the Descriptive tags, not People tags which seem to have their own set of rules.. You can’t drag the tags onto images like you can with descriptive tags either, you have to drag the image to the tag.

  11. Vyacheslav Lanovets says:

    I’ve just discovered 2 bad things with WLPG Rotation commands.

    First of all, it does not warn that JPG rotation is not going to be lossless. So after a couple of rotations of the incompatible image you will have lost some detail.

    I see this was reported 2+ years ago (in Vista Photo Gallery)

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Search/en-US/?query=John%20Thornton&ac=8

    Luckily, most of JPGs seem to rotate in a lossless way but… But there is another bad thing. Gallery does not update EXIF orientation attribute so JPG is displayed incorrectly in all other software after "rotation" in WPLG.

  12. The new updates are great, there are a lot of interesting improvements going on. Still there are always things to improve and I made a blog post on some of my feedback.

    http://sondreb.com/blog/post/Windows-Live-Essentials-2009-RC.aspx

  13. cezirkle says:

    Greetings…

    How to add a subfolder to the gallery?  Takes forever to show up… and how to delete a subfolder?

    Suggestions…  thanks…

    On the other hand…  what a great product…  pano one of the best out there…  search is terrific!!!

    This is always on my list of software to use for clients and photo classes…

    Thank you!!!

    Ed

  14. GeorgeBell says:

    I am having trouble with my descriptive tags…they appear to not be updating (closing and reloading the program shows that they are still there) but going to look at the tags in windows explorer shows they are not updated in the properties, neither do the tags appear in microsoft pro photo tools…even right clicking on the photo in photo gallery and choosing properties doesn’t show the tags being updated…but they are there on the left tag list and in the descriptive tag list on the right…

    It feels like the application isn’t saving changes, I did change a lot of items though, maybe it is happening behind the scenes with no notifications?

  15. JezzaT says:

    Yes the lack of auto-rotate by EXIF when displaying images is a show stopper for me. A comment in this post: http://blogs.msdn.com/pix/archive/2007/09/14/beta-faqs.aspx

    talks about the right place to make this change is in the underlying component that is used to display photos – the Windows Imaging Codecs (WIC).

    I agree that would be the ‘right’ place so windows explorer thumbnails and picture and fax viewer etc would display the right orientation as well. But until then it would win me over if WPLG had an option to do this itself.

    Having said that websites like facebook ignore it as well so maybe we should just bite the bullet and batch rotate all our existing jpegs.

  16. consumer4beta@hotmail.com says:

    I hate to say this but the original Movie Maker introduced in Windows Me was better and more full-featured than Windows Live Movie Maker. You can’t ship this as it is right now. Also, Live Mail doesn’t incorporate all functionality of Windows Calendar. How does MS suppose users will upgrade to Windows 7 if they lose Movie Maker and desktop Calendar functionality?

  17. consumer4beta@hotmail.com says:

    I wish animated GIFs would display animated in Photo Gallery (if videos can be played, why not animated GIFs?) instead of in page form as its currently done. At least that can be fixed by RTM.

  18. cr8tv says:

    Happy New Year.

    I still like the beta live photo gallery – and live mail is good too except for "sync " replacing send / receive.  Where did that one come from and what sense can it make for people who don’t use web-based email services and store mail offline the old fashioned way?

    As for photogallery (and I’ve not yet downloaded the latest MovieMaker)  I have following couple of comments:

    1.  Non-destructive edits – a revert to original option is useless when more than one person "shares" a library as original individual photos are stored in the logged in user’s profile directory.  It would be better to virtually modify photos and only commit them to the file if the user chooses to do so.  Picasa does this and it allows you to keep your library pure if you so choose.

    2. UI – i feel it’s taken a step to far and skipped over minimalism to being prototype.  The icons look temporary – if it were me, I’d prefer simple text labels to the current icons displayed on screen.  It looks too rough and ready at the moment – a little polish would make a huge difference.

    3. Selecting photo’s across folders – this still can’t be done and is a big flaw.

    4. Email – still forcing users to attach photos at full resolution if using the Windows LIve Mail client is a terrible decision.  If looking at photos i want to be able to select them and email them to someone – and I don’t want to be forced to only email photos from one folder and send them as attachments at over 1Meg a piece.  Using Windows Live Mail and inserting photos via the standard file browse dialogue is hardly a "rich" experience as I note a product manager was quoted as saying regarding the inability to select attachment size.

    So,  a nice, quick applicationt at performs quickly but is flawed by a few silly design decisions.

    sem.

  19. consumer4beta@hotmail.com says:

    Please add transition and video support to XP Live Photo Gallery. According to this post (http://blogs.msdn.com/pix/archive/2007/09/19/slideshow-in-the-windows-live-photo-gallery.aspx), it’ll take time for porting and now MS’ll saw Windows 7 and Vista are the only OSes we support and conveniently skip XP. If not in this release (Wave 3), when will XP see transitions and videos support? Picasa 3 already has OpenGL based smooth transitions in XP.

  20. MicaR says:

    I think WL Photo Gallery has come a long way — I’ve been loving the additions! My favourite added features have been the Straighten tool, face recognition, the shiny new UI, and ability to upload directly to Flickr from my WLPG.

    However, the plug-ins for the More Services option under Publish don’t seem to work with this new version, just with the last Beta release. Seems like a step backward — can we expect this will be sorted out soon?

    Also, re: the slideshow feature — if I use anything other than the Classic slideshow, the photos are distorted (stretched). I understand that the fancy slideshow themes are graphics-hardware intensive, and would be fine with it dropping the resolution, but, unfortunately, it drops it to a 4:3 resolution and stretches the photos terribly to display on my widescreen laptop monitor.

    Windows Live Movie Maker is still disappointing. It seems far behind Windows Movie Maker in functionality, features, & ease of use. I’ll stick with Windows Movie Maker for now.

  21. stocktiki says:

    Found a very small typo in Windows Live Photo Gallery (ver. 2009, build 14.0.8051.1204).

    When you double-click on a video file to play it from Windows Live Photo Gallery, and then click the "Fix" option, the right-hand side of the screen says "Video files can’t befixed using Photo Gallery." There is a space missing between the words "be" and "fixed," so it should read "Video files can’t be fixed using Photo Gallery." Extremely minor, but thought you might want to know.