Microsoft has just released the final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011, an update for the popular Windows Live Essentials suite of downloadable Windows applications. The suite is a free download from Microsoft, compatible with Windows Vista and Windows 7.
The final version follows several beta versions that have been released since June of this year, following in the footsteps of the large, successful public betas that Microsoft has conducted for Windows 7, Office 2010, and most recently Internet Explorer 9. Like IE9, the suite also drops support for Windows XP, an increasingly common trend.
The programs available in Live Essentials 2011 are largely just updated versions of those available in previous versions of the package. Here they are, in brief:
Messenger, an IM client that also features social networking integration.
Photo Gallery, a photo organizer and simple photo editor.
Movie Maker, a basic but easy-to-use program for editing and publishing movies.
Mail, a fairly straightforward email client.
Writer, a blogging program, and my personal favorite program in the whole suite. Seriously, why can’t anyone else get this right?
The more minor components of the suite include parental controls, a Bing toolbar, and Microsoft Silverlight, among others.
You can download the new version of the suite from download.live.com, or as an optional update from Microsoft Update.