Making the most
By Marc Saltzman
CHANCES ARE, YOU’RE a PC user who relies on
Windows 7—the best-selling operating system in
history—and takes advantage of its intuitive user
interface, fast and reliable performance and many
built-in features that help you in so many activities.
But guess what? This is only half the picture.
If you’re using Windows 7, you can take advantage of Windows Live Essentials, a collection of free
programs and services that help you take full advantage of the power of your PC. Here’s a look.
you can share whatever is on
your desktop with others.
Making the most of your photos and video
You probably have hundreds—if not thousands—of digital photos and videos stored on your
hard drive. Windows Live Photo Gallery can help
you organize, edit, view and share these memories.
For example, you can easily “tag” a photo with
someone’s name, and Windows Live Photo Gallery
will scan the rest of your photos and look for that
person’s face. To find all photos of that person, just
type in his or her name. You can also edit photos
with simple tools, create a slide show or home
movie, or quickly upload to sites such as Facebook.
A fun and powerful feature, Photo Fuse, lets you
replace one part of a photo with a better one—such
as a picture of your child smiling nicely instead of
looking down—so the family portrait will show
everyone looking at the camera at the same time.
With Windows Live Movie Maker, you can
assemble your videos and photos onto a timeline,
add transition effects and captions, music and narration, and then share your masterpiece.
Storing in the cloud
You can protect your important files, such as documents and
photos, by uploading them to
Windows Live SkyDrive, a password-protected service that lets
you store up to 25 GB of data, free.
Storing your files in “the
cloud” (online) offers three key
benefits: You can access them
from virtually any online computer in the world, your files are
safe from local risks (such as fire
or theft) and you can easily share
specific folders with others online.
Keeping in touch
Windows Live Messenger is an instant messaging tool that lets you type, talk or video-chat with
friends, family and co-workers over the Internet.
Imagine holding up a newborn to your Web
camera so your overseas relatives can see the baby—
in high-definition clarity. Teens can do homework
together by collaborating on a document, all the
while chatting, sharing photos and perhaps playing
a game when it’s time for a break.
Windows Live Messenger also lets you easily
access social networks, such as Facebook or
LinkedIn. You can also pick up your e-mail here, as
well as review calendar entries and contacts. And
Logging in remotely
Another tool is Windows Live
Mesh, which gives you the ability to log
in to your PC remotely to access your
Windows 7 desktop.
For example, you could access all of your
media, such as music, photos and videos, on another
PC while away from home. Or log in to your home
PC while on a business trip to grab a PowerPoint
presentation you forgot to take along.
You can also synchronize folders between multiple computers. Update a Word document on your
laptop, for example, and it’ll automatically synchronize with your desktop PC.
Finally, while it’s not part of Windows Live
Essentials, I would be remiss not to mention
Microsoft Security Essentials, a free suite of Internet
security software that can safeguard your PC and
help protect your personal identity. You can get
These are all helpful everyday tools that are
part of the Windows 7 environment. They’re worth
checking out to see if they meet your computing
needs. For more details on Windows Live Essentials,
electronics or computers
you purchased at
Costco? E-mail them to:
Or send them to:
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
or fax to (425) 313-6718.
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected ques-
tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
questions cannot be
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter “Connection.”
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The Costco Connection
Costco sells a complete range of computers, from
laptops to desktops, from various manufacturers
using the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system,
in the warehouses and online at Costco.com. All
PC purchases come with free technical support
from Costco Concierge Services.
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