Microsoft have released the updated suite Windows Essentials 2012 – for Windows 7 and Windows 8 only. The previous suite of programs was known as Windows Live Essentials 2011 (still available for Vista SP2 and XP SP2+).
As expected, the latest version drops the old ‘Live’ designation. The new 2012 suite includes Messenger, Mail, Photo Gallery and Movie Maker, Writer, Family Safety and a new Microsoft SkyDrive desktop application.
Photo Gallery and Movie Maker receive the most updates – you can now share your videos straight to Vimeo from both of them. More details from WindowsTeamBlog here.
Movie Maker Features
- Video stabilization for W8
- Option of getting music from your PC or from three music services (AudioMicro, Free Music Archive and Vimeo Music Store.
- Waveform visualizations
- Third audio track for narration
- Added ways to choose which form of audio you want to emphasize
- Text Effects – when you add text in Movie Maker, you can also add an outline that makes the text stand out from the background
- Movie Maker saves to H.264 format by default
Photo Gallery Features
- Auto collage – select seven or more photos and it will arrange them in a collage for you
1. If you previously had Windows Live Mesh installed, it will be uninstalled and replaced by the SkyDrive app.
2. Unlike Live Mesh, SkyDrive does not support direct PC-to-PC synchronization. To synchronize files between two or more PCs you will need to first upload the files from PC1 to the SkyDrive cloud storage and then download them back to PC2 etc.
Upload and download via the internet is obviously a lot slower than just transferring the files across your internal network (via your router)…
Direct Downloads – English
If you already have Windows Live Essentials 2011 installed, Windows Essentials 2012 will replace it automatically.
Web (online) Installer
Full (offline) Installer
Windows Essentials 2012 includes long overdue upgrades to Movie Maker but the automatic uninstall of Windows Live Mesh will catch some people out.
Windows Live Mesh is being superseded by SkyDrive which offers 7GB free storage (or 25GB if you grabbed the upgrade offer earlier this year) whereas Live Mesh is limited to 5 GB.
However, Live Mesh offered PC-to-PC synch which was quick and via the internal, not external, network – if you have a lot of files to synch between PCs you may need to copy them manually or pay for more SkyDrive storage.