Installing Windows Live Essentials

So far I have looked at working with core applications in the Windows Live Essentials suite: Photo Gallery, Messenger, Mail and Writer. I want to take a little time out to look at how you get the suite of these free applications installed on your PC.

Windows Live Essentials Download web page.

One thing users must note is that Windows Live Essentials is free! The only thing required is an Internet connection and going to the Windows Live Essential’s home page and download it. Microsoft recently created partnerships with PC OEMs such as Dell to have Live Essentials bundled on their systems world wide.

The 1 MB Windows Live Web installer makes it easy to install just the applications you need.

What’s included in Windows Live Essentials?

  • Windows Live Mail – For sending and receiving email and managing it off line, includes support for HTTP, POP3 and IMAP along with support for popular mail services such as Hotmail and GMAIL. Live Mail also features an integrated Calendar that supports synchronization with your Windows Live Calendar.
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery – For managing photos, videos and publishing to online services, includes basic photo editing tools.
  • Windows Live Messenger – Instant Messaging client with support for video conferencing and support for Yahoo! Contacts.
  • Windows Live Writer – Blogging tool for publishing content to online journals such as Windows Live Space, Blogger, Live Journal and more.
  • Windows Live Movie Maker – Still in beta, this simple video editor features basic capabilities for putting together short movies that can be published to MSN Soapbox.

Those five core applications make up a complete experience, but the suite goes beyond that. Windows Live Essentials includes add on’s for Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook, and file synchronization and collaboration.

System Requirements

Operating system: Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (32-bit edition only), Windows Vista (32-bit or 64-bit editions), Windows 7 Beta (32-bit or 64-bit editions), or Windows Server 2008. Note: Windows Live Movie Maker is not supported on Windows XP

  • Processor: 1 GHz or higher for Windows Vista; 800 MHz or higher for Windows XP
  • Memory: 128 MB of RAM (256 MB or more recommended) for Windows XP; 512 MB for Windows Vista
  • Resolution: Minimum 1024 x 768
  • Internet connection: Internet functionality requires dial-up or broadband Internet access (provided separately). Local or long-distance charges may apply.
  • Browser: Windows Live Toolbar requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or later.
  • Graphics or video card: Windows Live Movie Maker requires ATI Radeon 9500 (or higher) or nVidia GeForce FX 5900 (or higher). I have Live Movie Maker working with a nVidia Geforce FX 5200 128 MB AGP, but if you like the Photo Gallery collages, you will need a video card that supports pixel shader 3.0.

Additional requirements

The following components are needed for specific Windows Live programs, and may be installed for you if they’re not already on your computer.

  • For Writer: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or higher*.
  • For Photo Gallery: SQL 2005 Compact Edition and Windows Imaging Codecs*.
  • For Photo Gallery and Movie Maker: Some components of DirectX9.
  • * Not required when installing on Windows Vista.

Note: To install or uninstall Windows Live products, you must have administrator rights on the computer.

Setup: After launching the Windows Live Essentials setup, the Welcome Screen is displayed, next is the Service agreement page, which you must agree to then the programs page which list all the programs that come with Windows Live Essentials.

Checking for open programs: Before Windows Live begins the installation, you must ensure that certain programs are closed such as Internet Explorer which installs add on programs such as the Live Toolbar, Silverlight for viewing dynamic content on web pages and for persons who use Microsoft Outlook, the Office Outlook Connector for managing your Live Hotmail email, Live Calendar and Contacts.


Installing the applications: During the install wizard, you are given a quick over view of some of the capabilities of Windows Live Essentials.

Completing Setup: Once installation is completed, you can have Live do some post setup task such as default your Search provider to ‘Windows Live Search’, set your default home page to MSN, submit feedback when you encounters an error using Windows Live Essentials applications and help improve Windows Live Search results – all of course optional.

Accessing your Windows Live apps: You can start using your Windows Live applications by going Start > All Programs > Windows Live or click Start and type ‘Windows Live’.

There are two ways of installing Windows Live Essentials, you can download the 1 MB web installer from then pick and choose what you would like to have installed. You can run the program at a later date if you decide to install more applications. If you are on a slow connection and would prefer to avoid killing your bandwidth, you can download the full suite, but there is a bit of trick to doing so, I honestly wish Microsoft would just provide a direct link to the full installer, someone with 4 Windows based PC’s is not gonna want to run the web installer on all 4 when they could easily download the entire package and run it across three. Here’s how you get the full suite. Click the download link for the Live Suite, and then cancel it when the 1 MB download option appears. Click the Try Again button and you will be presented with the 134 MB installer, this option includes everything.


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