Spotting the Changes in Essentials

Our eagle-eye reporter Sunshine was on top of the Essentials beta update, and so we’ve had a few minutes to take a look around.  As reader Deathseeker noted in a comment to Sunshine’s post, there’s now quite a list of peripherals installed with the Essentials beta:

Windows Imaging Component Hotfix
SQL Server CE 3.1
Search Enhacement Pack
Microsoft Sync Framework Runtime
Microsoft Sync Framework Services
Microsoft Visual Studio Runtime
Direct3D 9
Junk Mail filter update
Microsoft Application Error Reporting
Windows Live Communications Platform
Windows Live Call
Windows Live Sync

We agree that’s a lot of “stuff” to watch go by when you’re not expecting it.  As wary computer users, we’re conditioned to raise our hackles to anything unusual being installed.  Far from being crapware, however, these additional programs offer some nice enhancements to the Windows Live experience.

The Direct3D 9 enhancements, for example, are really adding some nice touches to Messenger and Mail, among others. Really loving the new toast:

newtoast (Hi Brian!)

So far we’ve spotted (or confirmed what we were expecting), along with the visual improvements (including the new icons), the ability to insert albums in Live Writer, to save shared photos in Messenger, and What’s new messages in the Messenger header:

what's new header

Since you all are so good at spotting new stuff, what have you noticed that’s different?  Leave us a comment….