The new build of Windows Live Essentials beta has been released, this is part of the Wave 3 rollout.

Quick thoughts...

Windows Live Messenger has had a large overhaul since 8.5. It is much better looking and intergrated better with the web services now.

Windows Live Mail has reached the point where I would recommend people to use this over Outlook Express or Windows Mail, it looks clean and is faster than the Wave 2 release.

Windows Live Photo Gallery has a few new features, the new cleaner look. I don't like the inconsistency with the UI compared with Media Player and Photo Gallery on Windows Vista however.

Windows Live Movie Maker is still much earlier in development and is lacking many of the features of the versions that shipped with Windows.

Windows Live Writer has had an overhaul, a couple of new bits, but largely still seems to function the same way as the Wave 2 release.

Haven't used the Toolbar or Family safety so can't comment on them. In my opinion this is a very near final release, it still has the beta tags but over the last day or so has proved to be stable and usable. You can download the pack from