The long awaited set of Windows Live Betas has finally been made public and is available for anyone to download and test out. 

From the Windows Live download page:

All your mail in one place

Manage your Hotmail, Gmail, and other e-mail accounts, plus your calendars and contacts, all in Windows Live Mail. And you can download it for free!

Chatting and e-mail

Messenger and Mail share a single contact list and work together. Plus, your calendar and multiple e-mail accounts are all in one place in Mail.

Messenger beta
Mail beta

Photos and movies

Use Photo Gallery and Movie Maker to edit and organize your digital images and movies, and then post them online or send them to friends.

Photo Gallery beta
Movie Maker beta


With Windows Live Writer, blogging is a breeze. You can add photos and videos, format everything just so, and publish to most blogging services.

Writer beta

Browsing the web

With Toolbar, you can customize your browser and find anything, fast. And Family Safety helps you keep your kids safer online.

Toolbar beta
Family Safety beta

And for the system requirements:

Windows Live products require the following:
  • Operating system: Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (32-bit edition only), or Windows Vista (32-bit or 64-bit editions)
  • Processor for Windows XP: 800 MHz or higher
  • Processor for Windows Vista: 1 GHz or higher
  • Memory for Windows XP: 128 MB of RAM (256 MB or more recommended)
  • Memory for Windows Vista: 512 MB
  • Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or later
  • Internet connection: Internet functionality requires dial-up or broadband Internet access (provided separately). Local or long-distance charges may apply.
  • Resolution: Minimum 1024 x 768
  • For Movie Maker only: Movie Maker does not support Windows XP, and requires ATI Radeon 9500 (or higher) or nVidia GeForce FX 5900 (or higher).

View detailed release notes (pdf)
View detailed release notes (xps)

Additional requirements

These required components may be downloaded and installed if they’re not already on your computer.

  • For Writer: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or higher*
  • For Photo Gallery: SQL 2005 Compact Edition and Windows Imaging Codecs*
  • For Photo Gallery and Movie Maker: Some components of DirectX9.

* Not required when installing on Windows Vista.

To install or uninstall Windows Live products, you must have administrator rights on the computer.

I have them on my computer and am slowly exploring.  Initial impression – some pretty cool eye candy – no tabbed conversations in Messenger (bummer) and Windows Mail really seems to have its stuff together finally!

How about you?  Any comments about the new beta’s? You can actually provide feedback to the developers about your impression and suggestions through this web page.