The free desktop programs in Windows Live are Windows Live Mail, Messenger, Photo Gallery, Toolbar and Writer (download them all or the ones you want from www.windowslive.com). The one Live program that’s not free that webDotWiz uses is Live OneCare which keeps viruses and malware away (with the help of Windows Defender which is installed with OneCare) and also does a monthly PC tuneup along with a regular backup of important files.
When webDotWiz signs in to Windows, Live Messenger lets him know who’s online. As well, webDotWiz has a Windows Live ID he uses at work and another he uses from his home computer. This way he can use Messenger’s ability to send messages (such as reminders and jobs to do) from one Live ID to another even though the other ID might not be even signed in.
Windows Live Mail is webDotWiz’s gateway to all his email accounts (the one with his Internet Service Provider and several others associated with his Live IDs). But webDotWiz mainly uses Live Mail to be informed when there are new photos and blog entries on his Messenger contacts’ Live Spaces. As well, webDotWiz has subscribed (via the RSS orange button in Internet Explorer) to numerous sites that have an RSS feed so he can quickly browse the list of headings of new content to see what is worth reading in full later on.
Windows Live Photo Gallery has become his preferred tool to organise and edit his photos and tutorial screenshots. webDotWiz hasn’t yet completed the job of tagging all his images but Photo Gallery has brought back to life lots of photos that have been sitting on his computer for ages and nothing’s been done with them. Now it’s a simple job to upload a group of them from Photo Gallery to one of his Live Spaces to share them.
Naturally this column has been written in Windows Live Writer. There’s now a spell checker but as well it’s a simple job to add a photo, video, map or table to a blog entry. When ready, one click on Publish and the writeup is put on webDotWiz’s Live Space.
Live Toolbar keeps popup ads away, gives one-click access to Live Hotmail or Live Spaces, and the Sign-in Assistant makes it simple to swap from Live ID to another when necessary.
There are a couple of online Live services, namely Skydrive and Family Safety, that aren’t yet available to Australian users. Skydrive will give us online storage to backup photos and documents and share these files with others if so desired so it’s worth keeping an eye out when Skydrive becomes available – soon we hope.