Microsoft now gives you Vista tools on XP

Windows Live adds Vista-like features to older Windows XP PCs

It seems that Microsoft's Windows Vista might well have an enemy within - Windows Live.

Microsoft recently re-launched a raft of Windows Live services and some of the key guys from the UK development team popped into the offices to tell us all about them. Quite a few of the developments look rather familiar.

Windows living

It's the first time we've had a deep dive into some of Microsoft's services, such as Windows Live Photo Gallery. WLPG borrows much of its look-'n'-feel from the Vista interface and basically gives Vista's Windows Photo Gallery plus Flickr-style uploads to XP users.

So isn't the Windows Live team just annoying the Windows Client team responsible for Vista and giving people one less reason to upgrade?

Apparently not, says Cristiano Ventura, Business Manager of Windows Live Spaces. "If people on XP get a glimpse of Vista through a client, perhaps they will see what Vista can offer them. I see it more as matching different needs and clusters of users."

Unified installation

The Windows Live team don't seem too bothered. "People historically have thought about the PC and Internet as separate" explains Jonathan Hulse, head of the Windows Live Business Group. "Windows Live brings together the best of your PC experience [and] extends Windows with a rich set of tools. Windows is a strong brand."

One of the newer features of the Windows Live experience is a unified installation, so you pick and choose the apps you want to install. The installer detects what you already have installed and upgrades it.

The team also told us that as well as providing desktop-based access to Windows Live Hotmail accounts, the Windows Live Mail app will also be able access GMail and Yahoo Mail accounts eventually while Windows Live Spaces will almost certainly have more Facebook integration.

The team also suggested the SkyDrive online storage app would be beefed up when it moved out of beta. It currently gives 1GB of storage, but the team told us that "storage is not going to be an issue"


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.