Microsoft kills Windows Live Essentials app suite

Almost every Windows user is familiar with Windows Live Essentials. It started with Windows 7 as a set of apps which provide essential functionality for a fresh installation of Windows. It has a nice email client, a photo viewing and organizing app, the now-discontinued Live Messenger, Live Writer for bloggers, and the infamous Movie Maker video editor. Soon, Microsoft will remove it in favor of Universal apps available in the Windows Store and bundled with Windows 10.

The apps in Windows Essentials suite used to be bundled with Windows. With Windows 7, they became a separate download. Over time, they became richer in functionality and became extremely full-featured, powerful apps. The suite was renamed from Windows Live Essentials to Windows Essentials when the Live branding was discontinued. The last version released was Windows Essentials 2012.

Microsoft has announced that this suite will reach end of support on January 10, 2017. The official download page has been updated to mention this. This means existing users who have it installed on their PCs will be able to continue using those apps but you won't be able to download it any more as the installer will be removed.

Instead, Microsoft wants you to switch to the extremely simplified Universal apps available in the Windows Store and bundled with Windows 10. Microsoft thinks that the Mail, Photos, OneDrive apps are good enough to replace their desktop counterparts. As for Movie Maker, Microsoft is working on creating a new "Universal" version of the app.

News source and image credits: WinBeta.

This is a shock for Windows Essentials users. While modern versions of these apps are usable, they are obviously not so feature-rich as their predecessors. They provide very basic functionality which is not enough for a number of users.

Over time, the apps in the existing suite may become incompatible with later releases of Windows, since these desktop apps are no longer being updated.

What are your thoughts on this potentially upsetting decision? Are you happy with this change or will you miss the classic suite?

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

23 thoughts on “Microsoft kills Windows Live Essentials app suite”

  1. I’m a big fan to Microsoft before, but not anymore now and I wish to see this kind of “Universal” apps can make them keep losing users.

  2. Windows Essentials [WE] was never baked into Windows. A version of WLM was in Vista and then upgraded with Windows Live Essentials [WLE] which was later renamed to Windows Essentials.
    Even with Win 7 installed, you would still install WLE to get WLM, Messenger, etc.
    While Microsoft may not support WE and will chop the download from their site, some third party site may still carry the full installation [120+ MB I think].
    Those Win10 users who despise the mail app can still install WLM.
    Personally, I’d go for Outlook [in Office] if I had a choice. While WLM is dead, Microsoft will continue to support Outlook and the PST format.

    1. Good point. There is also a freeware Thunderbird (which I am using currently). It is a good app. Looks a bit “strange” after WLM, but quite usable.

  3. Sergey, have another look at the pic from WinBeta, showing the results of the FAQ, “Are there any recommended alternatives?”

    MS are using the end of life for Windows Live Essentials, to terminate support for all those programs which comprised WLE for Windows 7, AND in addition provide no equivalent replacement programs for Windows 7, 7.1 and 8 users. Only Windows 8.1 users get some replacements in Windows 10 reduced functionality Universal Apps.
    This aspect of the EOL for WLE is not mentioned in this article.

    In short, MS are ripping the support out from under Windows 7, to try to kill it off well before its official published EOL, by killing off the downloadable program installers for MS software for Windows 7, well before the EOL for Windows 7, in order to hopefully forcibly drive Windows 7 users to Windows 10.

  4. It’s entertaining in a sad way to read about their latest insult but it really doesn’t matter any more. Windows as something a sane person could like is gone. What we have in its place is a competition with Apple to see who can pack in the most greed and contempt for their customers. The silver lining is that it gave many of us the push we needed to finally start learning Linux. I find that being a beginner again just requires patience and then the process starts to become fun.

    1. Actually, there is nothing hard with Linux.
      You can quickly learn all basics.
      However, it has poor hardware support

      1. That incompatibility must come from hardware manufacturers’ side (not from Linux distribution creators), doesn’t it?

      2. I suppose I’ve been lucky because I don’t recall any such problems in more than ten years, perhaps because I’ve always used rather mainstream hardware. If there are more subtle issues than not booting or a black screen then maybe I’ve just not realized what was happening. I wonder if Conky drove me crazy last year because of some hardware incompatibility. :)

  5. I hate this trend toward first party universal apps and frequent update schedule Microsoft has adopted. The UW apps are buggy as hell and so limited in what they do compare to previous native Win32 programs. Sure the older programs got updated less frequent, but they were always features packed and ran reliably.

    I though universal apps were ok, but when the Explorer universal apps got leaked, it hit me hard that Microsoft is committed to this trend of changing everything in Windows to UWP. The thing I hate most about UWP is non-existence of interoperablity between apps.

    Desktop environment DON’T need manged code apps!

    1. Yeah, when you have no touch screen, Universal apps give you nothing special. Personally for me, they even reduce my productivity. It is like you connected your keyboard and mouse to some Android tablet.

      1. The funny part is that Android on my Jellybean 4.1.2 tablet, or KitKat 4.4.2 on my LG G3, works properly on either, with keyboard and mouse, or touchscreen, because the OS was designed to work properly with either input and control system.
        So it clearly CAN be done properly, which leads to the obvious question:
        Why are MS forcibly pushing touchscreen focused, reduced functionality Universal Apps on the deslktop?

        1. They need their own ecosystem like Apple or Google have.
          So they implemented a platform for that and now they are pushing it as much as possible.

          1. I see the point but it’s not working.

            They were late on the train, when Google and Apple already built their ecosystem.

            The last thing i used, was Windows Mobile for PDA.
            It’s actually worked quite nice with a great variety of apps.

            After they killed it things got only worse.

            Acquisition of Nokia, Windows Phone OS which never worked, and now Windows 10 Mobile with very limited devices list, mainly MS Lumia.

            MS did a great job in game console segment with latest Xbox One S seems to outsell Playstation a bit, according to MS reports.

            But mobile segment seems to be lost for them.

            Also, if they are pushing METRO apps so hard. It’s time to make them work at least.

            Getting latest Gears of War/Forza Horizon 3 from their store resulted in constant errors and more than 100+ GB downloaded. The game actually never managed to install.
            Users report that they had to reinstall OS, and only after, games installed propely.

            This is totally unacceptable.

    2. When the time Win32 dead is also when Microsoft, or at least Windows can be buried. It’s funny that they abandon the most valuable asset of themselves though…

  6. Was the movie maker actually infamous? This was the first video editing program that I’ve ever tried as the one for Windows XP was outdated.

    1. It was infamous for only being able to export WMV video for most of its lifetime and people begged for more output options but Mickeysoft never cared. Finally the very last version added H.264/MP4 output when nobody cared and had given up on the program.

  7. Something useful to have in the article would have been links to the full offline installers for Windows Live Essentials (or as MS changed its name to, Windows Essentials 2012) in the various languages it’s released in.

    This Technet page has the installer for the English US version:

    I don’t have links for any other languages. On the regular Windows Essentials 2012 downloads page, all that is available is webstub installers for all supported languages.

  8. Never used them myself, nor did see people from my surroundings ever install them.
    So no regret for their permanent removal.

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