Windows Essentials 2012 – FREE Software From Microsoft

When I post a blog article on WordPress, I use software to draft the article and upload it to my WordPress account. The software I use to perform this task is called Live Writer, which is FREE from Microsoft and is part of the Windows Essentials suite of software. What caught my attention was that I noticed that there was a 2012 version of Live Writer available that I promptly downloaded and installed. This prompted me to explore the other software options that are available (for FREE) in the Windows Essentials suite. I encourage you to take a look at these software options and if you are into blogging, I highly recommend Live Writer.  As a matter of fact, I would not know what to do without it.

To keep this simple, the Windows Essentials Suite consists of Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Messenger, Mail, Family Safety, Writer, Outlook Connector Pack and Skydrive. A brief summary of each and links to each are provided below. To get any of these you simply download a setup file and select which software package you desire to install.  Again, each of these software options are FREE and are produced by Microsoft.

When you initiate the setup for Windows Essentials, you will see the following Windows Essentials 2012 dialog box. Choose the option, “Choose the programs you want to install” to make sure you are selecting what you specifically want to install.  Select the other option and you get the whole works.

Windows Essentials

After you click on “Choose the programs you want to install”, you will see another Windows Essentials 2012 dialog box that allows you to select what programs to install. Also notice in the screenshot that on my computer it picked up that I already had SkyDrive, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and Writer installed. In my case, as I progressed through the installation process, I was informed that the software I already had installed would be upgraded to the 2012 version.

Windows Essentials

To give you a brief summary about each of these software applications :

Photo Gallery – tools to help you organize and edit your photos, then share them online.

Movie Maker – tools to help you be your own movie director. Quickly add photos and footage from your PC or camera into Movie Maker. Then fine tune your movie just the way you want it.

Messenger – this is Microsoft’s messaging client that has been around for years.  It has grown up to include video calls, instant messaging, that will keep you socially connected on a variety of platforms (including Android).

Live Mail – an email client that you install on your computer that is actually pretty good; however, I personally depend on the online webmail options. With Live Mail, you can manage multiple email accounts, calendars, and your contacts, even when you’re offline.

Family Safety – if you have kids and you are teaching your kids internet safety and/or you need a way to monitor their online activity, then Family Safety is a must have install. Activity reports are built int to monitor your kids’ computer activity.  You can even choose what they can and can’t access on the internet AND set time periods.

Live Writer – my favorite (and most used software application on my PC). With Live Writer you can quickly create and publish blog posts with photos, videos, maps, and more. Live Writer makes blogging easy!

Outlook Connector Pack – gives you the ability to manage your Hotmail account (now being called Outlook.com) from Microsoft Outlook. If you have the Microsoft Outlook software installed on your computer, then the connector pack is something that may interest you.

Microsoft Skydrive – another favorite of mine. This allows you to access and sync your Skydrive account from your computer.

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