Windows Live Calendar updated, Events discontinued

Windows_Live_Calendar_logo Last week, on September 3, 2009, Windows Live Events was officially “retired” and users will no longer be able to create new events using this service, and users are encouraged to download all the files and photos associated with an Event (from the Event’s SkyDrive and Photos) before April 2010. Instead, Microsoft recommend users to use Windows Live Calendar to invite their friends to any events they’re planning. Read this post for further information on how to do this.

In conjunction with the discontinuation of Events, Microsoft also announced today that Windows Live Calendar has been updated, in particular in how Calendar handles your contact’s birthdays. Here’s what we first noticed as part of the change:

New Birthday calendar

Under the “New” menu, instead of having the item “Social event” (which allowed you to create new Windows Live Events directly from Calendar), there is now a “Birthday” menu item. Clicking on it will get you this screen:

Add a birthday

Previously, your “Birthday Calendar” would automatically fetch the birthday details from your Windows Live contact list, however you can only enter them using Windows Live People, Messenger, or Mail, and it would (occasionally) sync with your Calendar. With this new update, you can now add birthdays directly from inside the Birthday Calendar and they’ll automatically sync with your contact list! (Note: you cannot add a birthday to an existing contact, our testing showed that adding a birthday this way creates a new contact. However you can also solve this by clicking “Clean up duplicate contacts” right within Calendar to merge the new one with your existing contact). What’s also new in this update is that you can even give it a second reminder to make sure you don’t forget that person’s birthday.

Additionally, you are now allowed to delete your Birthday Calendar, and doing so will not make your contact’s birthday details disappear – in fact, you can add the Birthday calendar back and all the birthdays will still be intact. However, the best improvement must be the addition of a way for you to control when you want Calendar to sync your contact’s birthday with your Birthday Calendar:

Birthday Calendar settings

Since Windows Live Calendar launched, one of the biggest complaint we’ve seen was the fact that when you add birthday details to your contacts (within Messenger for example), they don’t appear right away in your Birthday Calendar, and you have no idea when it will get synced. With this new release, click “Refresh now” in the screen shown above will sync your contact’s birthday details with your Birthday Calendar right away – no more waiting!

You can see the improved Windows Live Calendar now at!