| By Woody Leonhard |
Windows 7 ushers in a new bifurcation of Windows applications: some apps that used to ship with the OS are now available only by download.
Allow me to help you find which of these Live Essentials you’ll find handy — most of which work in XP and Vista as well as in Windows 7.
What’s ‘essential’ about Live Essentials?
Microsoft says Windows Live Essentials — Mail, Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, and a handful of others — form a “seamless whole” that will be “integrated but not bundled” with Windows 7 when it ships later this year.
Can you hear the hairs splitting?
Here’s the version without the candy coating. Microsoft realized long ago that it couldn’t ship Windows 7 quickly unless it got rid of several big, unwieldy (note that I didn’t say “bloated”) applications that have shipped with Windows since time immemorial — or at least since Vista.
Microsoft has ripped the big programs out of the box and sent them to the cloud. When you install Windows 7 — or, presumably, when you buy a new computer with Windows 7 preinstalled — you don’t get the Essential programs. Instead, you’re given pointers to, uh, help you download the programs from the Internet. Liberating the Essentials — taking them out of the box — has several interesting consequences:
- The Essential programs, since they’re available online, don’t have to rev in concert with Windows. There’s no reason, for example, why you should have to wait for the next version of Windows to get a new version of Movie Maker. More than that, minor upgrades to the Essentials can appear with greater frequency — in the case of Messenger, with startling frequency — without forcing customers to change Windows itself.