Taking a look at Windows Live Essentials and Dashboard

windowslive News Last week, Chris talked about a new pair of Windows Live services called Essentials and Dashboard. Since then, we have investigated the Essentials service along with the Dashboard client and we're ready to share more along with, of course, screenshots. When the Windows Live Essentials website goes live, it will look like this:

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One of the first things that you will notice with this shot is the "Invitation Required" text in the upper left. That means, of course, that Windows Live Dashboard will be protected in the same way that Windows Live Messenger is protected in the beta phase. You will not be able to sign in and use the product unless your Live ID has been approved.

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As you can see, when you mouse over the individual products on the left hand side, the screen changes to give you a summary of the product. After you read through the Terms and Conditions and click Agree, Windows Live Dashboard will be downloaded and installed on your computer. Dashboard, for those who do not know, is the interface in which you can install a variety of Windows Live and Microsoft services, including, but not limited to

(Note: This list may change when Dashboard releases): – Internet Explorer 7 – Windows Live OneCare – Windows Media Player 11 – Windows Live Messenger – Windows Live Toolbar – Windows Live Spaces – Windows Live Mail – Windows Live Mail Desktop (Mail Center) – Windows Live Sidebar Gadgets – Windows Live Drive/Search Center (will be included on release) Upon launching Dashboard, you are presented with a Sign In screen. You will notice that it has pulled down the your different Live ID's that have been saved by the Windows Live Sign-in Assistant.

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When you select the account that you want to use, it will give you a screen to confirm your email and password.

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Once into the program, the left side shows the programs that are available to you for download and install. The right side shows the programs that you already have installed. This application could have a huge impact on the mass spread of Windows Live. As Chris mentioned earlier, Dashboard has great potential for Microsoft in bundling with an OEM's software or in Vista. For most of the people reading LiveSide, Dashboard may not have a big impact, but you can bet that it will help out your less Live-savy friends. By having all of the Windows Live applications available at a few clicks, availability and ease of installation will increase greatly. As always, keep an eye on LiveSide or on our RSS Feed for details on when and how you can check out Essentials and Dashboard for yourself.