Microsoft updates Windows Live Essentials 2011 -- get it now!

Windows LiveMicrosoft has released a minor update to its Windows Live Essentials 2011 suite of free tools, which includes Mail, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and Messenger. Live Essentials 2011 build 15.4.3538.0513 is available for download now, while existing Live Essentials users will be prompted to update later this month.

This latest release contains a number of specific fixes and improvements for Mail, Messenger and Photo Gallery, as well as containing other "usability, performance and stability improvements" across the entire suite.

Windows Live Mail benefits from a fixed issue regarding sorting items in the Sent mail folder, while the Photo mail uploading process has also been made more reliable.

Messenger users should notice improved voice and video quality, while the update also includes various stability fixes, including one glitch that caused sound to be lost after upgrading. Photo Gallery enjoys better reliability, with fixes for various crashes caused when implementing facial recognition on photos as well as when launching Photo Gallery via the Windows Autoplay dialog.

Windows Live Essentials 2011 is a freeware download for PCs running Windows 7, Vista and Server 2008 (an older build is available for XP users). It comprises Mail, Writer (blogging), Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Messenger, Family Safety (parental controls), Outlook Connector (support for Hotmail in Outlook), Mesh (sync tool with free 5GB cloud-based backup), Bing Bar and Silverlight (Microsoft's alternative to Flash). Windows Live Mesh is also available as a separate download for Mac OS X.

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