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,
With the new release of Windows Live services, we’ve made a series of changes and improvements across the products. We realize
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.
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
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
Thank you for participating in the Live Mesh beta. We hope you choose to move to Windows Live Mesh.
The Windows Live team
Q: Why is this happening?
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?