Windows Essentials 2012 (formerly Windows Live Essentials), ceased to be available for download January of 2017. Microsoft decided to end support for this product suite. If you have been a long time user of this product (like I have been since around 2005), you may have some questions.
Questions like what will I use now for organizing my photos and creating movies? Questions about Windows Live Mail – should I switch to another provider.
Windows Live Essentials Components
Windows Live Essentials used to come with Windows, so you may have it on your system already. Components include:
- Photo Gallery
- Movie Maker
- Live Writer (for publishing to WordPress/Blogger, etc.)
- Parental Controls
It’s a great set of services and I’m still using Photo Gallery & Movie Maker.
Can I Still Use My Windows Essentials Programs?
Yes, you can still use them and they still work*. Microsoft does caution that there could be some security risks as time goes on and programs aren’t updated. That is certainly true, although hopefully, the desktop-based photo gallery and movie maker may not be as susceptible to getting malware.
*Windows Live Mail is one of the components. Although it still works, I would recommend moving over to a free Outlook.com email account. Check out my YouTube Video on how to export your Windows Live Mail and then you can import it into Outlook (the desktop Outlook). Microsoft also said that newer email protocols that come will not be supported in this product. Very highly recommend to move to another email provider. There are many free ones.
Can I Still Get a Download of Windows Essentials?
Yes, I still see it around the interwebs. I’ve got screenshots here from CNET and en.softonic. I won’t link to them because I think their sites are confusing and misleading. To me, their sites seem almost spammy – containing too many misleading links. I just don’t trust their software downloads.
I downloaded a copy of Windows Live Essentials in December. So if any of my readers want a link to a verified and safe download, please use my contact form and I’ll send you a link to my OneDrive and you can download it from there and install.
Windows Essentials Components I’m Still Using
I’m using Photo Gallery and Movie Maker (actually, they come bundled together and are installed together).
I particularly like the Photo Gallery. Once installed, it automatically cataloged all my photos. I organize my photos with folders and it keeps them in the folders. However, I can sort by date too.
One feature I’ve loved for years and that is the facial recognition. I have taken the time to tag quite a few of my photos and at the top of photo gallery, there’s a box with a bunch of faces in it. They are sorted by number of times they appear. So my family members are right near the top.
In the screenshot below, I’ve clicked on my daughter’s face and I get a sorting of all the photos it can find with her in it – this is so cool!
Alternatives to Photo Gallery
If you want to stay with Microsoft, Photos is an app already built into Windows Ver 8.1 and above. I’ve looked at it and played with it a bit. The features are not as robust and varied as what I have in Photo Gallery.
Here’s what my Photo App looks like – not many choices and for me, pretty much unusable for organizing and sharing. I’m sticking with Photo Gallery.
Google has a photo keeper. You can store photos on-line and sync them to your computer, or just leave them on-line. There are tons of on-line photo storage, but I’m not acquainted with a lot of desktop-storage/editing options.
There is no Windows branded Movie Maker alternative they have recommended, so I’m going to use Movie Maker – at least until I hear there’s something insecure going on.
We talked about email above. It would be best to move away from Windows Live Mail. My choice is outlook.com. They’ve made so many improvements, it’s nearly like a business-quality email service for your personal use.
Windows Family Safety
This has been replaced by Microsoft Family safety for those using Windows 8.1 or higher. It includes all the features of Windows Live Family Safety (and we’ve introduced some new features, too). They say it’s an ‘In-box’ feature. Not sure what that means, but I think I recall seeing some messages about using it when I upgraded my system.
What Will You Do?
I hope this has given you some background and options if you are affected by this. Remember to contact me if you want to install Windows Essentials 2012 and I’ll send you a link.