Windows Essentials 2012 – FREE Software From Microsoft

August 8, 2012

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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GEEK SQUEAKS’ (#57) – Awesome Flash Drive, Microsoft Security Essentials, DVD Cloning and Fun, Microsoft Photo Gallery Features, and Moving Your Blog

October 14, 2011

SanDisk Cruzer 8 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive
Take it all with you – on reliable USB flash drives

Cruzer Flash Drive

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Microsoft Security Essentials
Provides real-time protection for your home or small business PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

Microsoft Security Essentials

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Friday Fun

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Windows Live Photo Gallery

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Snakebytez
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Blogger to WordPress

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NEW Online Photo Sharing Service that is Drag and Drop Easy

November 29, 2010

There are numerous ways to post and share photos (or pictures) on the internet; however, the processes  to share your photos can be quite confusing.

If you are looking for an online service that makes photo sharing fast, fun and easy, then take a look at Minus.

Minus

Minus is a drag-and-drop sharing system. When you first visit the Minus home page don’t let first appearances deceive you.  The real power and magic occurs when you put Minus to work. Simply drag your photos (docs, music, videos and other files coming soon!) onto the Minus home page and the photos will be automatically uploaded and posted in a gallery. Following the upload process you will be provided with web links to each individual photo and for the entire gallery. Once you have the web links you can then send the links to others that will allow them to view the pictures. Currently you are permitted to upload photos (PEG, GIF, PNG, APNG, BMP) that are up to 7 MBs in size, and you can upload 50 photos per gallery. People viewing the photos have option to download individual photos or the entire gallery.

An online account is not necessary; however, I do recommend signing up.  By signing up you can then access, monitor and manage any of the photo galleries that you have created. Keep in mind, Minus is still in development stage and will most certainly only get better. I can foresee Minus being a very popular online picture (and file) sharing service.

Features:

  • Drag picture(s) from your desktop and folders onto Minus and a new gallery will be automatically created.
  • Use the Left Arrow ← and Right Arrow → to browse the gallery or simply navigate with your mouse.
  • Save & Manage your gallery with the Editor Link.
  • Name your gallery by clicking on top right “Untitled” button.
  • Change the order of image displays in gallery by dragging image titles on top right up and down.
  • Add more photos into gallery by dragging photos onto gallery page.
  • Delete photos from the gallery by clicking the X icons.
  • Delete the entire gallery by clicking the Trash icon.
  • Share the gallery with your friends using the Viewer Link.
  • Share a single image with your friends using the Direct Image Link.
  • Click on Download gallery link in gallery menu to download entire gallery images in Zip file.
  • Click on My Galleries button at bottom right of your screen to see history of your created and viewed galleries.
  • Click on Register / Login button at bottom right of your screen to create a new account or login.
  • Share Anonymously or Logged In.
  • When sharing anonymously , your galleries are tracked via a cookie that is attached to one computer.
  • When sharing while logged in, your galleries are tracked permanently until you clear the gallery history.
  • My Galleries tracking between anonymous and logged in state are separate.
  • If you wish to import galleries, simply re-open the editor or viewer urls for the galleries while logged in.

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Create Photo Collages Online for FREE

July 29, 2010

It is amazing the tools that are available online these days that allow you to perform various photo editing and design techniques right inside your web browser; and no software installation is required. Online applications, performed by simply visiting a web site, is an example of what is called cloud computing.

Photovisi Another FREE online application, that is absolutely in the category of awesome, is called Photovisi . What this online app does is walk you through some very simple steps toward creating a photo collage. The “cool factor” here is that you have option of picking from an array of templates and the ability to upload a batch of photos (more than one photo at a time). Below is an example of a collage I created, in less than 3 minutes, using this online app. The photos you are seeing are from my wallpaper collection.

Photovisi is a free and easy to use online tool to create photo collages. Select one of the many collage templates, add your photos and then customize by dragging items around. After the collage is finished, it’s available for download and print! Want to try it out?

Sample Collage

To use Photovisi, simply [ CLICK HERE ] to get started.

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Troubleshooting Windows Live Essentials…

January 22, 2009

The Windows Live Essentials is an integrated and bundled suite of software applications by Microsoft that work seamlessly with Windows Live online.

Windows Live Essentials programs [ click here ]
Mail
Messenger
Photo Gallery
Writer
Movie Maker
Family Safety
Toolbar

Optional Programs [ click here ]
Office Outlook Connector
Office Live Add-in
Microsoft Silverlight

 

 My experience with the Windows Live services has been a positive experience; however, recently I experienced an issue where my Windows Live Writer and the uninstaller for the Windows Live Essentials was broken. For whatever reasons, Live Wirter would not launch AND the uninstaller component to Windows Live Essentials was corrupted. Windows Live Writer is the software I use (and recommend) to prepare blog articles. I eventually figured out a fix on my own, which required a full day of thinking it out and a visit to the Windows registry.

Resources, including Microsoft’s support, for my particular issue, was not very helpful. I was instructed by support to locate and email the Windows Live Writer log which I did. The support person contacted me, via email, to inform me that they were escalating my issue to another level. At that second level I was instructed via email to uninstall and reinstall the application which I had already informed them that the uninstall component had been broken. I also would like to point out that there is very limited information on the internet at this time about the resolution to problems that people may be experiencing with the Windows Live Essentials. As a result of my experience, I decided to list a few things that may be helpful to others who find themselves in a situation where the “Windows Live Essentials” software and services are not playing well and you need a launching point to start troubleshooting.

  1. For support assistance and instructions for any of the Windows Live services [ click here ].
  2. The installer for the Windows Live Essentials is a standalone installer [ click here ] that you download (filename: wlsetup-web.exe) which will subsequently download the full installation files for the application you choose to install.  In my case this did not work toward resolving the issue which I experienced. Personally I do not care for these type of installers.
  3. The full installer for Windows Live Essentials is very difficult to locate, but I found links to the full installer (for different languages) posted on the blog “My Digital Life” [click here] . The full installer (approximately 137 MBs) was very helpful in resolving the problem which I experienced. I thank the author(s) of “My Digital Life” for posting the links and making them publicly available.

Keep in mind the links I have posted were up-to-date at the time this article was composed and are subject to change as the Windows Live Essentials software continues to evolve.  This article was posted with the “good” intention of providing options and resources in the event you experience issues with any of the Windows Live Essential software applications.

 

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