The other evening, I found myself needing Windows Movie Maker and was surprised to find that it was not bundled with Windows 7 and it had been with earlier operating systems. With a quick search, I tracked it down to being contained within the Windows Live Essentials 2011 bundle.
Windows Live Essentials 2011 is a free package from Microsoft for Windows Vista and Windows 7 PCs with a separate version for Windows XP. It includes a number of applications that you might be interested in. I don’t want to clutter up my computer with software I’m not going to use, so when running through the installer I’m going to click Custom and this can show us what programs are included.
Messenger – Stay in touch with the people you care about most from your PC, phone, or the web. Share photos and videos as you chat, and see the latest updates from your friends.
Photo Gallery – Get great tools for organizing, touching up, and sharing your photos and videos. Create stunning panoramas, movies, and slide shows, and publish them online.
Movie Maker – Turn your photos and videos into polished movies that are easy to share. Add special effects, transitions, sound, and captions to help tell your story in style.
Windows Live Mesh – Keep photos and documents in sync between your computers, and on SkyDrive. Connect remotely to all of the files and programs on your PCs.
Bing Bar – Get search results from Bing without leaving the website you’re on.
Outlook Connector Pack – Includes Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector and Outlook Social Connector Provider for Messenger.
Mail – Manage multiple email accounts, calendars, and your contacts, even when you’re offline.
Writer – Blog like a pro, adding photos, videos, maps, and more.
Family Safety – Parental controls to help parents keep their children safe online.
Messenger Companion – See and comment on links your friends have shared as you visit websites in Internet Explorer.
Not bad for a free bundle of software. The Photo Gallery App, you might even recognize from TV commercials – the annoying one with the mom editing a Family Photo – has the Photo Fuse feature and a few others that might boost its usability. If you’re looking to flesh out your new Windows 7 with a little more functionality, check out what Windows Live Essentials 2011 gives you for free before you spend any money.