Windows Live Sync replaced by Live Mesh beta replaced by…

Windows Live Mesh — It all started with a little company by the name of ByteTaxi and a service known as FolderShare. FolderShare was one of the first consumer level multi-computer online folder synchronization services. After installing the FolderShare software on each computer, sharing and synchronization was configured through the FolderShare website. Each client computer would then contact the FolderShare servers, retrieve a list of folders to synchronize, and then with assistance from the FolderShare servers a peer to peer connection was established between each client computer to perform folder synchronization. No ports to forward and no technical background required. In 2005, looking to build a portfolio of web based services, Microsoft acquired FolderShare. Shortly after acquiring FolderShare Microsoft re-branded the service as Windows Live Sync. Aside from new branding FolderShare remained relatively unchanged until 2009.

Facing increased pressure in cloud computing Microsoft began aggressively pursuing online services. Suffering from a fragmented product line a decision was made to combine and streamline many of their offerings. One of the victims of this reorganization was Windows Live Sync. The termination of the service was announced and the replacement, Live Mesh, was announced. Live Mesh was still in beta but since the end of life was announced for Windows Live Sync and Live Mesh was being billed as it’s replacement users began migrating to Live Mesh beta. Live Mesh combined several of Microsoft’s existing offerings into a single product. Users still had the option to synchronize folders via peer to peer connections just like with Windows Live Sync while adding new cloud storage options courtesy of Windows Live SkyDrive, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office settings synchronization, and Remote Desktop access. Although Live Mesh was billed as a replacement for Windows Live Sync there was no direct upgrade path from Windows Live Sync to Live Mesh. As a result users had to create a Live Mesh account and reconfigure all of the folders they wanted to sync. Live Mesh also dropped support for operating systems other than Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Max OS X 10.5+.

Nearly two years since Live Mesh’s inception the service is emerging from beta status. It features some shiny new branding; Windows Live Mesh…and a shiny new setup process…and a shiny new client…and the lack of an upgrade path from Live Mesh beta. Noticing a pattern? Microsoft sent out the email below outlining the changes that come with their new service.

Dear Live Mesh beta participant,

You’re receiving this message because you used the Live Mesh beta from Microsoft. On March 31, 2011, the beta of Live Mesh will end,
and the Live Mesh beta will stop working. After March 31, you won’t be able to access any files stored online in your Live Desktop
or connect to your PCs remotely using the Live Mesh software
. Microsoft will not be able to help you retrieve any files you have stored
online after this date. Your files will also stop syncing between your computers and your
Live Mesh online storage. Please read below for actions we recommend you take.

With the new release of Windows Live services, we’ve made a series of changes and improvements across the products. We realize
they will have an impact on you and we want to make that as easy as possible for you. We thank you for your continued support
of Windows Live services.

Why is this happening?

To deliver a better product for all our customers, we combined several services into a new product called Windows Live Mesh.
Windows Live Mesh has several performance and reliability improvements compared to the Live Mesh beta, and with Windows Live
Mesh, you can also sync your program settings for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office. Learn more.

What you need to do before Live Mesh beta shuts down

To prevent loss of any of your files, please sync all files from your Live Desktop so that you have them on your
computer when the Live Mesh beta service is shutdown. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. On your Live Desktop, right-click any Live Mesh folders not yet synced with your computer, and
    then click Sync with this computer. Make sure all the folders on your Live Desktop have desktop shortcuts.
  2. Select where you want each folder to sync, and then click OK. If a folder has a lot of files,
    this might take a while. Open each folder and make sure all the files are downloaded.

What you can do moving forward

If you enjoyed the functionality of Live Mesh, we encourage you to install the new Windows Live Mesh. You will first need to
uninstall the Live Mesh beta, and then go to
http://explore.live.com/windows-live-mesh to get the latest version of Windows Live
Mesh. Before you do this, note the folders that you’re syncing on each computer and if they’re shared with anyone.
After you download Windows Live Mesh, you can set up these folders to sync again.
Learn more about how to upgrade

Thank you for participating in the Live Mesh beta. We hope you choose to move to Windows Live Mesh.

Sincerely,

The Windows Live team

Q: Why is this happening?
A: For the last couple of years, Microsoft has offered two similar services for syncing your files:
Live Mesh beta and another service, called Windows Live Sync, which let people sync large folders of files
between PCs. To deliver a better product for all our customers, we decided to combine these sets of features
into a new product called Windows Live Mesh.

Note: Windows Live Mesh is available only for Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Mac OS X version 10.5 or later.

Q: What can I expect between now and the date the beta service shuts down?
A: The Live Mesh beta service will continue to run until March 31, 2011. However, we will no longer
accept new beta participants. You won’t be able to share Live Mesh folders with someone unless they already
have Live Mesh installed. On March 31, 2011, you will no longer be able to sign in to Live Mesh beta on
your PC, Mac, or on the web.

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