Microsoft have released the latest version of Windows Essentials. When you start to install it you get the dialog above. The title “One Last Thing” is interesting, it is a kind of “By the by, we are about to take something away that could break your way of working” statement. I’m pressing Cancel just at the moment.
The writing has been on the wall for Live Mesh for a while. Pretty much ever since SkyDrive started doing the same kind of thing, i.e. let you transparently share files around your computers and back them up in the cloud. I’ve been a fan of this ability for ages. If you take any (or indeed all) of my machines and throw them in the river I won’t necessarily thank you, but I can take such vandalism in my stride because I use Live Mesh to sync all my work. Getting a new machine is quite relaxing for me as I just have to introduce it to Live Mesh and all my data appears as though by magic. The only restriction here is that Live Mesh limits you to 4G of file space in the cloud, but since we are talking about working data here (all the other important stuff is back home spread over a bunch of disks) 4G is fine.
It’s unfortunate that Live Mesh is going. The SkyDrive replacement works the same way, although it only synchronises via the cloud apparently. With Live Mesh two machines would directly exchange files if they found themselves on the same network. Live Mesh also provides a Remote Desktop feature which SkyDrive doesn’t. There have been a few complaints on the interwebs about the demise of Live Mesh. I think this is really a bit unfair. After all, it’s not as if it was a service that anyone has paid for. If someone gave you an apple pie every day for a while and then stopped it would be rather unfair to complain. Particularly if they then offered you a rhubarb crumble instead. If you want a premium service you can go for DropBox, which is excellent but not as cheap as I would like.
As for me, I’m presently copying my files from my Live Mesh folders into SkyDrive shared ones and I’ll press OK as soon as I’ve got all the files in place.
There is actually one feature of Live Mesh that I will really miss though, and that is the way that you can only synchronise certain folders with particular machines. On my "disk space challenged Samsung Slate" I only synchronise the files that I really need to have available on that machine, saving precious storage space.
When I switch to Skydrive I'll have to sync my entire Skydrive folder, camera roll and all, which will lose me a few GBytes. On the other hand, Skydrive gives me more space, so I guess we are back to apple pie vx rhubarb crumble again....