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Windows Live Review: Products, Installation and System Specification

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 5/9/2009

Windows Live offers a combination of online software and services. Allowing users to connect through multiple streams of media, these services combine for powerful PC interactivity. Here we introduce Windows Live, looking at the install process, system requirements and future with the Live.

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    You may have heard of Windows Live in the past couple of years, seen ads pop up here and there, even played around with a couple of beta versions. What Windows Live offers is secure multiple streams of PC functionality, interactive and seamless via a PC, handheld device or mobile phone. Windows Live enables optimized organization, editing and sharing of information with excellent configurability, privacy, access and managed parental controls.

    The Windows Live Product suite provides value to customers across multiple streams of application delivery. These products are categorized as follows and include:


    • Windows Live Hotmail
    • Windows Live Mail
    • Windows Live Messenger
    • Windows Live Toolbar

    Resource sharing

    • Windows Live SkyDrive
    • Windows Live Spaces
    • Windows Live Photo Gallery
    • Windows Live Movie Maker Beta
    • Windows Live Writer
    • Windows Live Events


    • Windows Live Family Safety

    You can download Windows Live services either as an entire suite or as individual components.

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    The install process for any Windows Live applications is a simple point-and-click action. Choose the components you want and click on the ‘Install’ button. The install wizard is self explanatory and doesn’t have MANY trick questions. I say ‘many’ because Microsoft still offers you the choice of setting your default web browser to IE and your homepage to MSN.

    On completion of the download the install process will then check your hard drive for previous iterations of Windows Live applications, and install the correct versions as required. As such the time of the install process depends largely on what has been installed previously. When installation is complete, click on the application of your choice from the newly created ‘Windows Live’ start menu group.

    Upgrading Windows Live is an automated process, which makes the end user heavily dependent on automatic update mechanisms. However Microsoft is working on integrating Windows Live into the Windows update process.

    Note: Before installing any Windows Live applications take a look at the other articles in this series, which discuss the pros and cons and relevance of each individual component for end user operability.

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    System Requirements

    • Operating System: Windows XP (SP 2 or later) / Windows Vista
    • Processor: 800 MHz processor minimum
    • Memory: 128 MB RAM (256 MB recommended)
    • Browser: Internet Explorer 6.0 or above
    • Internet connection: Dialup or Broadband
    • Display: 800 x 600 screen resolution minimum (1024 x 768 or larger recommended)

    Prerequisite software: Windows Live Writer - framework. Photo Gallery - Windows Imaging Component, SQL 2005 Compact Edition. These components are required for certain Windows Live applications to run and will download as part of the Windows Live install process.

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    Windows Live Mesh

    In April 2008 Microsoft launched a new architecture for the Windows Live platform called Windows Live Mesh. Built on three layers of coding the new Live catalog will grow and support more devices. At the top (end user) level are fully operational applications such as hotmail, toolbar, writer, etc. Underneath each application are platform services and programming interfaces, delivering core messaging and contacts. Key to application delivery and interfacing are the bottom level and underlying utility services, storage and processing.

    At this stage Mesh is a developmental platform, predominantly a file sharing and synchronization service. It provides users with access to configure multiple PC’s to synchronize data both on and offline. But more on Live Mesh in the coming months when the beta version has been thoroughly tested and the inevitable bug issues resolved.

    In the following articles we will look at the individual software and service offerings of Windows Live, looking at its all round suitability for those who want remote desktop services.