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Formerly in Beta, Live Mesh has now been released to the world under the name of Windows Live Mesh 2011 as part of Microsoft’s ongoing attempt to prove to the world that it can produce useful software application that aren’t overly complicated or part of the Office suite.

There is a lot of functionality in Windows Live Mesh 2011, and all of it attempts to resolve the problem that is often faced by people who own more than one computer – keeping information between the two PCs coordinated. Let’s take a closer look at why Live Mesh 2011 is handy.

Keeping Things in Sync

remote pc access

Microsoft’s previous sync program was called Live Sync How To Sync Files & Folders Between Computers With Windows Sync How To Sync Files & Folders Between Computers With Windows Sync Read More , and while short-lived it was very useful. Although not as easy to use as a service such as DropBox, Live Sync let you sync a virtually unlimited amount of data between multiple computers.

Now Live Sync is going away, however, because Windows Live Mesh 2011 is taking over. The actual sync functionality is largely the same as before, but the interface is vastly improved compared to Live Sync. All you have to do to sync a folder with Live Mesh 2011 is click on the “Sync a folder” text near the top of the window on the Status tab.You can then browse your computer for the folder that you’d like to sync. Once you’ve chosen the folder, Live Mesh 2011 will ask you what devices you’d like to sync with. All the PCs that on which you have Live Mesh installed will appear as options, and you’ll also be given the chance to sync the folder with Microsoft SkyDrive Windows Live Skydrive & 3 Alternative Online Storage Services Windows Live Skydrive & 3 Alternative Online Storage Services Read More .

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remote pc access

In addition to syncing file folders, Windows Live Mesh 2011 has added the ability to sync Internet Explorer favorites and Microsoft Office information (such as templates, any personal information you’ve added to auto-fill certain documents, etc). Both of these features are also very easy to use – in fact, all you need to do is click on each option. After the program takes a few seconds to think about what you’ve done you’ll be informed that syncing is turned on. And that’s it – now your Internet Explorer favorites and Office preferences are shared between any computers on which you’ve installed Windows Live Mesh 2011.

Access Your Computers Remotely

A new feature added to Windows Live Mesh 2011 is the ability to access any computer you’ve installed the program on remotely from any other computer you own. Remote access 7 Easy Screen-Sharing and Remote-Access Tools 7 Easy Screen-Sharing and Remote-Access Tools Read More has been possible in Windows previously under the name Remote Desktop Services or Terminal Services, but is only enabled in certain versions of Windows and is targeted towards IT professionals and computer enthusiasts rather than the average user.

access pc anywhere

To access a computer remotely you only need to click the Connect to this computer text. Windows Live Mesh 2011 will establish a connection to the other computer, which will take a few moments. You can only establish connections to computers that have a password protected Windows account set up.

access pc anywhere

Windows Live Mesh 2011 does not have to be actively running on the computer you wish to remotely access, but the program must be installed and associated with your Windows Live account. If someone is already logged in to the PC you’re trying to access remotely they will be informed of your access attempt and given the chance to log out or deny your request for a remote connection.

remote pc access

The remote connection controls are fairly basic. At the top of the remote access window is a control bar, and there are just a few options available. The most important is probably the icon that looks like a set of keys. Clicking this will activate Ctrl-Alt-Delete on the remote PC. Next to that is a magnifying glass which makes it possible to slightly alter how the remote desktop is displayed, and the final icon to the right lets you maximum the remote access window.

Conclusion

I personally used Windows Live Sync to keep several of my folders synced between my PCs and I was happy with the program overall. Windows Live Mesh 2011, however, is a dramatic improvement. It is much easier to use, contains some useful additional features, adds the ability to access your PCs remotely – a huge boon! Maybe Microsoft can make some decent software after all.

  1. Gust
    January 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Live Sync gives users more feeling to control. And it's faster.

  2. M.S. Smith
    November 29, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Yep - that's probably the easiest way to do it. Dropbox is a very handy program. I recently completed an in-depth Dropbox guide: http://www.makeuseof.com/pages...

  3. Guest
    November 24, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Please - Windows XP is too damn old. The fact that they've supported it this long is evidence that they are a customer friendly company. If you have XP, it's time to upgrade. You can't expect Microsoft to keep providing you free software indefinitely...

    • Yoantanhakatan
      November 29, 2010 at 1:41 pm

      what about if i'm working in a large insitution and i can't upgrade because i don't make the IT decision here? i want to sync my files at the office with files at home and can't do that anymore because mesh will not support my office XP. so horray MS, i have win7 at home and on my laptop, but i'll just leave win-sync and mesh and go check out dropbox, right?

    • Corporate User
      January 17, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      The only reason I use live sync is to coordinate files from work and personal without having to carry 2 laptops around with me when I travel. If they would just keep live sync up for a bit longer, I am happy to leave it once corporate IT moves to Win7, but in the meantime, very frustrating to have live sync stop working. And in case microsoft is listening, we cannot influence corporate IT to speed up the upgrade to win7 so please don't put the users at the brunt of it.

  4. Benner_lena
    November 5, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    It's a real shame that you can use Mesh to connect to XP machines. This is a big limitation and is really just MS trying to bully its customers into upgrading and spending more money. To me this is not the sign of a customer friendly company. Which is why I use Proxy Networks to perform such tasks. http://www.proxynetworks.com

  5. Flippertie
    October 30, 2010 at 8:32 am

    The article failed to mention that as part of the upgrade from Live Sync to Live Mesh Microsoft have removed the ability to connect to PCs using XP.

    It's a shame really - these days MS are producing software that's a pleasure to use (Win 7, Security Essentials, etc) but some teams seem to have missed the memo about not irritating customers by enforcing unnecessary limitations on their products...

  6. Flippertie
    October 30, 2010 at 6:32 am

    The article failed to mention that as part of the upgrade from Live Sync to Live Mesh Microsoft have removed the ability to connect to PCs using XP.

    It's a shame really - these days MS are producing software that's a pleasure to use (Win 7, Security Essentials, etc) but some teams seem to have missed the memo about not irritating customers by enforcing unnecessary limitations on their products...

  7. Jessica Cam W.
    October 28, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Found the answer on the Skydrive Synced Storage page: "You can sync folders here even if they have files that are larger than 50 MB, but you can’t view or edit Office documents here online." <-- Awesome

  8. Jessica Cam W.
    October 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    The files that can be synced to Skydrive have to comply with the 50MB file size upload limit, right?

    • Jessica Cam W.
      October 28, 2010 at 3:24 am

      Found the answer on the Skydrive Synced Storage page: "You can sync folders here even if they have files that are larger than 50 MB, but you can’t view or edit Office documents here online." <-- Awesome

  9. Kkkkkk
    October 23, 2010 at 8:09 am

    a combination of logmein and dropbox ?

    • M.S. Smith
      October 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm

      Sure - Microsoft should call it Dropmein!

  10. Livefortechnology
    October 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Works great as I've commented on other syncing options (this replaces my xmarks usage for IE favorite syncing). This also doubles as my parallel to dropbox. Has been rock solid with the only issue being slow login due to immediate sync checking (high disk usage) which can be easily rectified.

  11. Scs_68
    October 22, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    It looks good, if only it worked. I tried launching it but get the error, "There might be a problem with your internet connection." Clearly not the case. The only MS help page I found said to check the firewall, which is not on. Microsoft just seems to fail consistently with quality control. Oh well.

    • jaworskiblog
      November 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm

      Are you on a corporate network or at home? This message will be displayed if your corporate network blocks the .exe or mesh traffic.

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