Using Windows 7 Home Premium With Live - Organising Your Life

In the second series of this article, we will explore five other great services offered by Windows Live in conjunction with Windows 7 Home Premium.

http://photos.live.com Photos is one of the most interesting online services offered by Windows Live. Although the interface is slighty crammed, due partly to the advertising, it still outpaces the competition by offering a staggering 25GB. Picasa only gives you 1GB while Yahoo's Flickr gives you 100MB per month (reset to zero each month). Photos is deceptively simple to use, allows you to upload 50MB per photo and comes with a number of well thought options like the ability to choose who can tag you and who can tag other people in your photos as well as who can comment on your photos - from the list of contacts from your MSN account. But sadly, Microsoft has yet to come with an easy way of synchronising content in your "Pictures folder" on your OS and a corresponding folder on Photos on your Windows Live account. Furthermore, there's no option to upload more than one photo at a time. However, there's also an ActiveX-based tool which can be used although you would need Internet Explorer.

http://calendar.live.com Calendar is simply a representation of a paper based calendar. By default, it comes with a number of highlights like UK Holidays and your friends' birthdays. You can add events, To-Dos, Birthdays or even other calendars to which you can assign different colours. It is also possible to subscribe to a public calendar (one for example from your business) or import from an ICS file, a widely supported format. Printing the calendar is only a link away and we particularly liked the fact that you can show more or less details on any particular day plus adding events proved to be quite intuitive. As for photos though, the main issue remains the lack of synchronisation with Windows 7 Premium. You can't for example link it with your desktop calendar or the gadget equivalent. Microsoft has started to retire Windows Live Events from the beginning of September and push Windows Live Calendar instead.

In the second series of this article, we will explore five other great services offered by Windows Live in conjunction with Windows 7 Home Premium.

Photos is one of the most interesting online services offered by Windows Live. Although the interface is slighty crammed, due partly to the advertising, it still outpaces the competition by offering a staggering 25GB.

Picasa only gives you 1GB while Yahoo's Flickr gives you 100MB per month (reset to zero each month). Photos is deceptively simple to use, allows you to upload 50MB per photo and comes with a number of well thought options like the ability to choose who can tag you and who can tag other people in your photos as well as who can comment on your photos - from the list of contacts from your MSN account.

But sadly, Microsoft has yet to come with an easy way of synchronising content in your "Pictures folder" on your OS and a corresponding folder on Photos on your Windows Live account. Furthermore, there's no option to upload more than one photo at a time. However, there's also an ActiveX-based tool which can be used although you would need Internet Explorer.

Calendar is simply a representation of a paper based calendar. By default, it comes with a number of highlights like UK Holidays and your friends' birthdays. You can add events, To-Dos, Birthdays or even other calendars to which you can assign different colours.

It is also possible to subscribe to a public calendar (one for example from your business) or import from an ICS file, a widely supported format.

Printing the calendar is only a link away and we particularly liked the fact that you can show more or less details on any particular day plus adding events proved to be quite intuitive.

http://groups.live.com Groups is not strictly speaking a service but more an attempt to bring together other services from Windows Live. As its name implies, it aims at regrouping Windows Live users. You can create a group to connect and collaborate online for nearly everything. Creating a group is a doddle with groups of up to 20 people capable of having a group conversation using Windows Live Messenger (Microsoft doesn't say whether they all need to have Live accounts). As one can expect, "groups" is linked to to other services from Windows Live - including photos, Calendar and Skydrive - and has its own sets of features including the ability to start discussions and its own calendars.

All your files on Windows Live are stored on http://skydrive.live.com/ Skydrive, an online hard disk drive with a capacity of up to 25GB which is shared with the rest of your files (including your photos). Files can either be placed in a number of existing private or public folders. Any file placed in a public folder can be shared with the rest of the world with a simple link. As for photos, you can get up to 50MB per file. But there's more to it than meets the eye. If you upload any office document (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), you will be presented with the option to view them. You can only edit Excel and Powerpoint files. More on that later.

As for photos though, the main issue remains the lack of synchronisation with Windows 7 Premium. You can't for example link it with your desktop calendar or the gadget equivalent.

Microsoft has started to retire Windows Live Events from the beginning of September and push Windows Live Calendar instead.

Groups is not strictly speaking a service but more an attempt to bring together other services from Windows Live. As its name implies, it aims at regrouping Windows Live users.

You can create a group to connect and collaborate online for nearly everything. Creating a group is a doddle with groups of up to 20 people capable of having a group conversation using Windows Live Messenger (Microsoft doesn't say whether they all need to have Live accounts).

As one can expect, "groups" is linked to to other services from Windows Live - including photos, Calendar and Skydrive - and has its own sets of features including the ability to start discussions and its own calendars.

All your files on Windows Live are stored on Skydrive, an online hard disk drive with a capacity of up to 25GB which is shared with the rest of your files (including your photos).

Files can either be placed in a number of existing private or public folders. Any file placed in a public folder can be shared with the rest of the world with a simple link.

As for photos, you can get up to 50MB per file. But there's more to it than meets the eye. If you upload any office document (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), you will be presented with the option to view them. You can only edit Excel and Powerpoint files. More on that later.