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Hands On: Microsoft's Windows Live Essentials
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Quote:<img style="float:left; margin: 0px 10px 0px 0px ;" src="http://images.pcworld.com/news/graphics/198372-windowslive_original.jpg"/>
Wave 4 of Live Essentials offers some great individual applications but could use a coherent interface.

The beta of Microsoft's latest update of its free Windows Live Essentials line of online applications -- which Microsoft calls Wave 4 -- was recently released to reviewers and beta testers; the final release is expected sometime this summer. It's a grab-bag of useful, if often unrelated, applications that offer a variety of services for doing things such as managing photos, creating videos, checking e-mail, doing instant messaging, writing blog posts and synchronizing data among PCs.

Whether you'll be impressed with this newest version will depend on whether you view it as a single, coherent product line or as a group of disparate applications. As a coherent product line, there's no clear theme tying everything together. But the individual products are useful, solid pieces of work and often quite powerful, given that they're free. In fact, they're some of the best free applications you'll find anywhere and are well worth the download.

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