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Microsoft kills off Windows Live Mesh

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By Barry Collins

Posted on 14 Dec 2012 at 09:04

Microsoft has announced plans to close its Windows Live Mesh synchronisation service.

First introduced in 2008, Windows Live Mesh was an instant hit in the PC Pro office, allowing users to synchronise selected folders across different PCs.

Unlike similar services such as Dropbox and Microsoft's own SkyDrive, Live Mesh allowed you to synchronise existing folders, rather than having to drop files into dedicated sharing bins.

There are now less than 25,000 active users of Windows Live Mesh

Despite Live Mesh's popularity - Microsoft's blog says the service was used by a "few million" people at its peak - it always seemed unloved within Microsoft.

In June 2010, Microsoft rolled Live Mesh into another similar product, called Windows Live Sync, with the merged product adopting the Live Sync name. However, just three months later Microsoft had a change of heart and rebranded the service Windows Live Mesh.

However, the writing was on the wall for Live Mesh with the emergence of Microsoft's SkyDrive, which provided many of the same features. SkyDrive is now fully embedded in Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and will soon be appearing on the Xbox console.

Now, Microsoft says too few people are using Live Mesh to keep it going. "With the significant investments in bringing the DNA of Mesh together with SkyDrive, there are now over 200 million people that have used SkyDrive, and more and more are making the move every day," Microsoft's product marketer, David Kornfield, wrote on the SkyDrive blog.

"So while Windows Live Mesh was at one point used by a few million people, most have made the move and there are now less than 25,000 active users of Windows Live Mesh."

"As a result, we’re announcing today that Windows Live Mesh will be officially retired on 13 February 2013, and we’re starting to communicate with the remaining Mesh users and provide a set of instructions on how to keep their files in sync and alternative options for some of the features they’re still using."

The blog provides instructions on how to replicate certain Live Mesh features with SkyDrive, with Microsoft even suggesting LogMeIn Pro as an alternative to the full remote desktop feature offered by Live Mesh.

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User comments

It's was nice

Of MS to offer such a service for FREE for so long (Unlike another company).

By rhythm on 14 Dec 2012

Shame...

I only used it to sync specific folders between my main PC and laptop and never bothered with the online or remote desktop parts. Is there an easy way to replicate this facet without having to use the 'single bin' approach of Dropbox and Skydrive?

By The_Scrote on 14 Dec 2012

No Mac support for Windows Live Sync

I'm probably one of the few people making full use of the fact that Windows Live Mesh worked on both Windows & Mac OSX (because it was originally created as "FolderShare" to be cross-platform).

So I'm slightly disappointed by them dropping it.

I'll now have to look at alternatives such as Google Drive and see if that achieves a similar solution.

By miles_roper on 14 Dec 2012

+1 The_Scrote

That's the exact reason why I prefer Mesh to other services such as Dropbox. I would like that feature in Skydrive.

By qwerty on 14 Dec 2012

SkyDrive syncs any folder

I'm amazed that no one's twigged that the new SkyDrive ISN'T a one bin approach; you can add any folder on your PC to sync with SkyDrive and, indeed, another PC/laptop.

By Bureaunet on 14 Dec 2012

The_Scrote

You can still get SyncToy 2.1 from the MS download centre.

By jonathandk2 on 14 Dec 2012

Mac version

Their email didn't state it, but MS have made a Mac version of the SkyDrive software...maybe I won't have to give it up after all.

By miles_roper on 14 Dec 2012

@The_Scrote

Yes you can. There is Ubuntu One, I found this because I switched to Ubuntu and was looking for an alternative to Live Mesh. Works perfectly, select any folder to sync (must be in C: drive i think or something, just set up a link if you need to sync folders from else where)

By monotok on 15 Dec 2012

I use Vice Versa Pro it is not free but can sync any folder / file of your choice in real time keeping both copies up to date without having to move anything.

By curiousclive on 15 Dec 2012

This is one of the pitfalls of relying on a cloud service which might not be there a year from now. Cloud services may be awesome, but they could be withdrawn or changed at any moment.

By eggjones on 18 Dec 2012

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