Windows Essentials is a suite of free programs that has evolved a lot over the years. At first, it was named Windows Live Essentials. Now it has been rebranded to a shorter, simpler name. To make things even more confusing, the number of programs included in this suite has evolved a lot over time. That's why, in this article, we will explain what Windows Essentials are and how to download and install the free applications included in this suite.
What Are Windows Essentials?
Windows Essentials is a suite of free tools offered by Microsoft to Windows users. The latest version includes the following applications: Microsoft OneDrive, Mail, Writer, Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and Outlook Connector Pack.
The first thing you need to know before installing Windows Essentials is whether your computer meets the minimum requirements: Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 installed, a minimum 1.6 GHz processor, 1GB of RAM or higher, a display with a minimum resolution of 1024x576 pixels. In order to use Movie Maker you should have a video card that supports DirectX 10 or higher and Shader Model 2 or higher.
If Windows runs fine on your computer, with all its visual features enabled, then you should have no problem running the applications included in the Windows Essentials suite.
How To Download & Install Windows Essentials
In order to download the setup file, access the Windows Essentials website and click or tap the Download now button.
The wlsetup-web.exe file will be downloaded. This file serves as a downloader and installer for the Windows Essentials suite.
Run the wlsetup-web.exe file to begin the installation process. You can choose to either install all the Windows Essentials tools or choose a specific subset, according to your needs. Considering that the Windows Essentials suite includes an application that was phased out (Messenger) and replaced with Skype, you should always go for the second option: "Choose the programs you want to install".
Now you see a list with all the available programs. If you want to install a program, check the box near its name. Notice that Photo Gallery and Movie Maker are bundled together. You cannot install them separately, for reasons known only to Microsoft.
Press the Install button after you have selected the applications that you want installed.
Next, a progress window is displayed. The installation process can take longer if you have opted to install many programs or if your Internet connection is slow.
Click or tap the "View details" button in order to learn more about the installation process. The completion percentage is shown, as well as the program currently installed.
When done, click or tap Close. Unlike previous versions of this suite, a computer restart is no longer required.
If you have chosen to install Messenger, even if this program is phased out by Microsoft, you will also be askedto enter your Microsoft account details, so that you can sign in.
Now you can start using the applications that you have installed.
IMPORTANT: If you want to install a non-English version of the suite, you can. Microsoft makes this suite available in about 65 languages, from German to Turkish to Romanian and other languages. You can find all the localized versions here: Windows Essentials: Worldwide Downloads. The process involved for installing and launching them is identical to the English version.