Microsoft: How not to do an update?

By Kip Kniskern | Posted March 22, 2012 34 comments

Yesterday Microsoft released an update to Windows Live Essentials, notable in that we haven’t seen a significant update to the software suite in over a year.  Although the update was announced on the Windows Experience blog (and remember: Windows Live Essentials is now part of the Windows Org, so if you’re looking for info on Windows Live, go to the Windows Experience blog.  However, if you’re looking for info on Microsoft SkyDrive or Microsoft Hotmail, which are not using the Windows Live moniker anymore, go to the Inside Windows Live blog.  Got that?), virtually no information was included as to what was being updated, other than this single sentence:

This minor release includes numerous updates across all of the programs in the Essential package, including Windows Live Messenger, Mail, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Family Safety, Writer, and Mesh.

No changelog, no details, nothing.  Well it didn’t take long to fill the comments with what appeared to be a now broken Live Mesh (for example this comment by “Davidacoder”):

Same here, the updates messes up mesh entirely, it wants to redownload EVERY single file in every folder I have but is actually not doing anything. What a buggy update. Advice to anyone: don’t install at this point, wait until they fix this. I hope you will not push this version out via auto update to everyone. What’s up with quality control?? At this point I am really wondering whether the Live division is up to the task of providing the infrastructure for Win8 clould stuff…

It turns out that Live Mesh isn’t really broken, but is just re-indexing your entire sync store.  If you’re like a lot of Live Mesh users (and part of the problem is that there aren’t many Live Mesh users), you have a lot of files synced, and that takes a while.  Here’s an explanation belatedly posted on the Windows Live Solution Center, and linked in a comment from the Windows Experience blog post:

Yesterday we released an update to Mesh in response to feedback we’ve received from many of our customers. This update addresses many of their top issues – particularly those resulting in a crash or trouble syncing certain files. A side effect of this update is it causes Mesh to rebuild its index of what files need to be synced and where. As a result, it takes a bit of time for this process to happen.

For most users this process takes just a few minutes. But if you sync many GBs of data, this process can take upwards of several hours. Before the index has been rebuilt, Mesh will start to re-sync your files across computers. Once the index has been rebuilt on each computer, Mesh will realize that your files are already present at which point subsequent file downloads/uploads will stop. Then Mesh’s status will appear as “up to date”.

No action on the user’s part is required for this process to complete. It just takes time and patience. If this does not auto-resolve after one day (for extreme cases) please let us know. We apologize for the inconvenience or concern this has caused some customers. We genuinely care about your experience with our product and will continue to monitor the forum for additional issues.
-Windows Live Mesh team

Really, Microsoft, is it that hard to provide a change log and to give us some details on what for many has been a broken experience, especially when you only ship once (or less) a year?  Sheesh.

Posted March 22nd, 2012 at 9:39 am
Category: News
Tags: Essentials, Mesh, Windows Live, update
  • http://twitter.com/surilamin surilamin

    Do you really think essentials has a future, as it stands in its current state?  I think the current apps will get metro versions, and the old essentials pack will be discontinued.

  • http://twitter.com/surilamin surilamin

    Do you really think essentials has a future, as it stands in its current state?  I think the current apps will get metro versions, and the old essentials pack will be discontinued.

  • MissRose

    “The update to Mesh addresses MANY of their top issues”

    Really? Because i can’t see a single difference in it. Oh well, guess it’s to be expected with the Windows 8 integration that Live Essentials is dying a slow Death.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=849020400 Archis Gore

    I’m rather pleasantly surprised to hear that there are still people who care to notice, and even COMMENT on stuff related to Windows Live.

    • MissRose

      Well, we are on Liveside.net, or didn’t you notice?

    • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

      Says the guy who commented on LIVEside.net x))

  • MissRose

    “The update to Mesh addresses MANY of their top issues”

    Really? Because i can’t see a single difference in it. Oh well, guess it’s to be expected with the Windows 8 integration that Live Essentials is dying a slow Death.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=849020400 Archis Gore

    I’m rather pleasantly surprised to hear that there are still people who care to notice, and even COMMENT on stuff related to Windows Live.

    • MissRose

      Well, we are on Liveside.net, or didn’t you notice?

    • http://josedmorales.net Josè Daniel

      Says the guy who commented on LIVEside.net x))

  • Guest

    Yeah, it’s pretty embarrassing. The entire team should be ashamed.

  • Guest

    Yeah, it’s pretty embarrassing. The entire team should be ashamed.

  • jvd897

    Another idea: if the Windows Live crew knew in advance that reindexing your Mesh database could take hours, couldn’t they have mentioned this in the Mesh interface somewhere? Like, instead of hanging on “Waiting to receive [number of files] files” for an eternity, and making it look like nothing’s happening, couldn’t there be a message right before it saying “Indexing your Mesh files” or something similar? Preferably with a “percent complete” indicator.

    • MissRose

      People have been asking for basic info from Mesh since it was released, all to no avail. The tray icon does nothing but sit there, no animation to show activity, no basic syncing/percentage info when you mouse over it..nothing.

      Once they released the last Wave of Live Essentials, they basically left it to Rot, it’s pretty shameful.

      • jvd897

        My theory is that they dumbed down the interface to make it more appealing to less-advanced users — but surely they could have made it a bit more explanatory without sacrificing visual appeal.

        Of course, this is probably all academic with Windows 8 and native SkyDrive apps on the horizon…

  • http://jvd897.blogspot.com jvd897

    Another idea: if the Windows Live crew knew in advance that reindexing your Mesh database could take hours, couldn’t they have mentioned this in the Mesh interface somewhere? Like, instead of hanging on “Waiting to receive [number of files] files” for an eternity, and making it look like nothing’s happening, couldn’t there be a message right before it saying “Indexing your Mesh files” or something similar? Preferably with a “percent complete” indicator.

    • MissRose

      People have been asking for basic info from Mesh since it was released, all to no avail. The tray icon does nothing but sit there, no animation to show activity, no basic syncing/percentage info when you mouse over it..nothing.

      Once they released the last Wave of Live Essentials, they basically left it to Rot, it’s pretty shameful.

      • http://jvd897.blogspot.com jvd897

        My theory is that they dumbed down the interface to make it more appealing to less-advanced users — but surely they could have made it a bit more explanatory without sacrificing visual appeal.

        Of course, this is probably all academic with Windows 8 and native SkyDrive apps on the horizon…

  • Joejo

    While MS may have messed up this update, overall Live Mesh is awesome.  I synce between two desktops, a notebook and a tablet (all windows machines).  One of my desktops is a work machine – I cant tell you how many folks are trading in their iPad once they see how everytingh syncs seamlessly and I can use work apps.  Please don’t change these tools MS.

  • Joejo

    While MS may have messed up this update, overall Live Mesh is awesome.  I synce between two desktops, a notebook and a tablet (all windows machines).  One of my desktops is a work machine – I cant tell you how many folks are trading in their iPad once they see how everytingh syncs seamlessly and I can use work apps.  Please don’t change these tools MS.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6G3ZZJCHOLYP3S5CRCIHQ7WDSE MVIM

    I reported a bug with Live Mesh one year ago. I uploaded countless logs generated from the application only to effectively be told that the Live team was “working on it.” As of yesterday (just updated Live Essentials), the bug is fixed! I couldn’t be more happy right now. It almost makes me disappointed that after waiting over a year for this to be remedied that Live Mesh will likely go away by year’s end to be replaced when the new SkyDrive/integrated Windows 8 support comes out.

    • damaster

      At least you know the bug won’t be there in the new SkyDrive app! ;)

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6G3ZZJCHOLYP3S5CRCIHQ7WDSE MVIM

    I reported a bug with Live Mesh one year ago. I uploaded countless logs generated from the application only to effectively be told that the Live team was “working on it.” As of yesterday (just updated Live Essentials), the bug is fixed! I couldn’t be more happy right now. It almost makes me disappointed that after waiting over a year for this to be remedied that Live Mesh will likely go away by year’s end to be replaced when the new SkyDrive/integrated Windows 8 support comes out.

    • Damaster – LiveSide.net

      At least you know the bug won’t be there in the new SkyDrive app! ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/robinvanveghel Robin van Veghel

    hey guys 1 question, is facebook chat having a problem in windows live messenger, it says that facebook chat cannot connect, i removed the connection completely and than readd it, but still same problem, really weird, plus help!

  • http://www.facebook.com/robinvanveghel Robin van Veghel

    hey guys 1 question, is facebook chat having a problem in windows live messenger, it says that facebook chat cannot connect, i removed the connection completely and than readd it, but still same problem, really weird, plus help!

    • Damaster – LiveSide.net

      No, no problems here, neither in Windows Live Messenger nor Windows Phone.

      You’ll need to check on Facebook’s side too. Try removing the connection(s) from both Windows Live side AND Facebook’s side, then try to reconnect again.