Update Note: According to a blog entry from Paul Thurrott this is not actually a beta but a “near final release”. Read his post here.

The programs formerly known by their own individual names have been released as a collection of software now under the banner Windows Live Essentials.

This suite of software is intended to ultimately replace the built in versions that come with Windows so that their development cycle does not have to be tied to Windows schedule of releases.

The programs you can download include:

Programs you can download include:

Additional programs:

Or you can grab the entire grouping by going to the Live Essentials download page.

Windows Live products require:

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

Additional requirements

The following components are needed for specific Windows Live programs, and may be installed for you 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.

Prior to this updated beta release the programs had different build numbers and this update brings significant movement in that number which would indicate decent updates and bug fixes.  All of the icons are updated (you can see great full size previews at Long Zheng’s site – Delicious new Windows Live Wave 3 icons). 

Now these are still in beta so you can still provide feedback from within each program through a link on the Help menu.

Here are a few screen shots from the install/programs:





So what are you waiting for – go grab them!