Support for Windows Essentials Ends in January

Posted on December 16, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows, Windows 10 with 33 Comments

What's the Future of Windows Essentials?

A moment of silence, please, for a dear old friend: Microsoft will end support for Windows Essentials on January 10, 2017, and without viable replacements for its most still-valuable tools.

I’m not sure if this is news, or “new”: I discovered that this morning when I navigated to a URL that is fixed in my brain——and was redirected to a new support page instead of the old Windows Essentials site.

Note: The page does report that it was last reviewed on September 9, so maybe I just missed this. But I wrote about the need for an update or replacement for this suite back in February.

You can still download Essentials from this support page, but now I’m wondering if that is temporary. Will the download disappear once January 10 has come and gone? I suppose it will.

And that’s bad on a number of levels. The most important being that Microsoft has not issued new tools that satisfactorily replace the ones found in this long-neglected suite of desktop applications.


Consider what is/was available and what Microsoft now offers in Windows 10 as replacements:

Photo Gallery. A powerful tool for organizing, editing, and sharing your photos. Replaced by Photos, a toy app.

Movie Maker. A simple but power video editor. Microsoft offers no replacement for this tool in Windows 10.

Windows Live Writer. A front-end to various blog engines, this one is now open source.

Windows Live Mail. This email, contacts, and calendar solution was like Outlook for consumers. And it’s replaced by Windows Mail, People, and Calendar, which are either toys or decent, depending on your needs or perspective.

OneDrive. This is now integrated with Windows 10. And after a rough start, I think it’s working well.

Windows Messenger. This has been replaced by Skype, which I think we can all agree has never lived up to its promise.

So, rest in peace, Windows Essentials. I miss you already.


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Comments (33)

33 responses to “Support for Windows Essentials Ends in January”

  1. 9077

    All these great programs should have already had Metro/UWP successors and replacements if MS had any actual interest in its own new platform.  I mean they've only had half a decade since Win8/Metro. 

    If they use the desktop converter/rewrapper rather than rewrite these in WinRT10/UWP then it'll send yet another message to developers of how threadbare and useless the new framework is for anything but shopping list apps. 

  2. 556

    Not 100% sure but I use an .MSI installer to remotely install and manage Movie Maker. We don't need the other apps so we don't install those during install. I am assuming the MSI will continue to work since it's on offline installer. You can get the offline installer here:

    (Edit oops its not an MSI but there is documentation on automating install using offline installer, let me know if any one wants info)


  3. 742

    So there's a couple of additional bits of information I found reading around these support pages:

    1. Will Windows Essentials 2012 still be available for download?
    Windows Essentials 2012 suite will be available for download until it reaches its end of support date on January 10, 2017.

    2. Are there any recommended alternatives?
    Movie Maker will soon be available from Windows Store for Windows 10 users.

    That fact is interesting. So it looks like Movie Maker is getting a UWP version (I suppose they could mean that the existing Movie Maker will be packaged as a Desktop app in the Windows Store, but I doubt it). So depending on how good the UWP version of Movie Maker will be, it's really only Photo Gallery that won't have a proper replacement. While Windows Live Mail was good, it only supports POP/IMAP and DeltaSync, so it doesn't work properly with modern

  4. 5187

    You can get the full installer at

    Happy Holidays!


  5. 473

    I think we should petition MS to post links to the full download files between now and when they pull the plug so that we can have the final versions of the setup programs for posterity. I still prefer the Photo Gallery program to the modern app.

  6. 1129

    So I just installed Photo Gallery. It was good for its time, but when I compare the ease of use and functionality, the new Photos (at least on the latest Insider build) has Photo Gallery beat. The only feature lacking is tagging. Fine control of color, lighting, contrast and rudimentary spot healing are all there in the new Photos, one layer away from the "toy" interface. What am I missing? 

  7. 5394

    Photos has actually gotten better in the latest iteration.

    We need a UWP version of Movie Maker. Microsoft makes too many movie video editing tools that are not coherent in how they work. One might have a better feature than the next one. We know that Win32 applications are a dead market. No one is making new exciting Win32 applications anymore. So why can't the at least make UWP apps to ensure the platform becomes a success.

    OneDrive is limited if you don't want to pay for the storage, which is expensive compared with other plans.

    Windows Messenger needs to come back. Another case when the newer version is worse than what it replaced like Edge.

  8. 5501

    I used to use Movie Maker a lot, but recently decided to switch to a paid Win32 program called VideoPad (because I needed some more advanced functionality).  It's actually quite good, IMO.

  9. 5496

    if you click on learn more, it says that the download will only be available until end of support.

    it also says maker will be available in the store soon.

    all of these tools have been replaced by new apps.

  10. 7510

    Can anyone comment on whether Windows Essentials 2012 will install in Windows 10? Though I don't personally use Windows Essentials, not liking Windows 10's "Photo viewer" I changed the default (in Settings\System\Default apps) to "Windows Photo Viewer" which is what I used in Windows 7 (they better not remove that from Windows 10!).

    You can download the offline installer for Windows Essentials 2012 even after January 10, 2017. Go to . You can even download Windows Live Essentials 2011 for Vista (or the version for XP):

    At least Windows Essentials has replacements (quality notwithstanding) in Windows 10 (and supposedly it can even be installed in Windows 10 despite its lack of support). Contrast this to Microsoft not yet providing WinHlp32.exe ( for Windows 10, something which a while back I saw a long list of people angry about this at

  11. 3884

    Windows Essentials was a wonderful collection of programs back in 2012.

    I was always surprised how Live Mail had features that even Outlook didn't have. I once was transferring a clients mail from Gmail to Outlook (using a custom domain, back in the day when that was a thing...) and there was no simple transfer tool. Live Mail enabled me to set both accounts up and then really simply just copy and paste all the emails/contacts/calendars from one account to the other with no fuss. Oh, and copy a bunch of stuff from some PST archive files too. It was magical. I don't know if this ability ever made it to Outlook proper.

    Movie Maker, like Paint, has been unfairly maligned over the years when people remember what it was like 15 years ago or something - but the last update was actually pretty great. Still - time for an updated UWP I think.

    Photo Gallery had so many features before they became mainstream in Facebook etc. and it's such a shame they've still not made the transition to the Windows 10 photos app. Sure, the app is getting better (aside from the lapse in UI judgement in the most recent update) but it's still lacking.

    Oh, Messenger - the halcyon days of 2008 when I could do all the things I can do now in WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. But oddly either not in Skype at all, or only with limited success.

    Still, 2016 has seen all the built-in Windows 10 apps really jump in quality and all signs point to 2017 (and the Creator's Update) jumping further. Hopefully we'll see some comparable features reappear... Particularly from Movie Maker and Photo Gallery...

  12. 746

    6 months ago I posted something which is worth reposting "After it killed so many good things so far, Microsoft continues its suicidal policies, the most recent one being the killing of Windows Live Mail, in my humble opinion, vastly superior email client to the one that comes with Windows 10. Another one from the same package is of course Photo Gallery. This piece of software will allow you to automate face detection on your photos in the best possible way by writing that metadata in the file properties, it will read the GPS coordinates and identify geographical location based on it. On photos without GPS it will allow you to set the geographical location (but unfortunately it will not translate this back to GPS coordinates in the properties of the file). It allows you to quickly search all of your photos by person, location or date and now the only question is, since it has not been updated for 4 years, when will Microsoft kill it." New W10 Photos may offer improved photo editing compared to the Photo Gallery, but it does not read geographical location, does not allow you to edit one, not to mention face detection, ability to search through your photo collection based on the date, person and the location. Come on Microsoft, please do not shoot yourself in the foot and the rest of your loyal users who enjoyed using some very useful software. I would be prepared to pay for something like Photo Gallery and expect just a bit of an update every now and then.

  13. 1243

    Just last week, I finally got my parents off of Windows Live Mail, which they've been using since 2011. 

    I simplified Outlook as much as possible and they seem to be catching on. 

  14. 2611

    Windows 7 compatible applications?  No one needs those.  I still find Photo Gallery efficient at taking a directory of photos and running the auto adjust.  Usually has good results for me.

  15. 5397

    I still use the Mail application and I love it. It uses screen real estate so much better than the UWP application. It is sad how less functional Windows becomes (system itself is better but the UWP apps are way worse).

  16. 5530

    believe it or not, I still use Movie Maker because it's still one of the fastest and most effective way to cut a video on a whim. RIP.

    I'm still so mad that they killed MSN Messenger. It was the one good actual desktop messaging client - and it actually had a userbase which my friends were on! Everyone left after Skype fucked everything up.

  17. 1485

    You could also download the full installer by changing (on the old page) the url. This way you can still install there great tools and use them (using the Photo gallery and movie maker myself).

    • 305

      In reply to Rob Jansen:

      I'd love to download the full for futire use if necessary, especially movie maker.  What do you mean by changing URL on the old page?

      • 1485

        In reply to itmaster68:

        Go to the page on the Microsoft Support site where the Downloads are located (via, then download options on the Microsoft Support site).


        Right click on the language you want and copy the link.

        Then paste it in the URL bar and change the 2 references with ''web'' to ''all''.

        It downloads then the full installer.

  18. 5842

    Messenger was nice but everything else was just meh. Good to see old stuff go. We have enough crap already.

    • 9077

      In reply to illuminated:

      Movie Maker was actually really good as a swiss army knife sort of video tool for prepping vids for YouTube etc.

      Shame that all the new crApps in 10 don't have any functionality nearly on this level of Win32 programs from ages ago. 

  19. 8728

    I downloaded the offline installer for later use, so when the download link is gone I still have the full install.


  20. 3385

    Heaven forbid if you used WLM for email contact groups and you wanted to export those groups out to another email app. Good luck with finding an EASY way of doing that. There is a somewhat labour intensive method of getting those groups information out of WLM and into a format that say one can import into Thunderbird.

    • 5234

      In reply to PcGuy8088:

      Windows Live Mail was one of the only programs that supported contact groups that would sync with  Microsoft's incessant unwillingness to allow external client programs to support contacts groups from is just backwards thinking.

  21. 1888

    I still use photo gallery all the time.  It's my primary picture organizer.  If photos was even half-way decent I'd move there but it isn't.

  22. 3309

    Ok, so how do I download and store the actual applications for later use. It doesn't matter if it is not supported.

    The Windows 10 Photo applications is better than Photo Gallery in some ways, but falls well short in more.  I hope it is an App that Microsoft keeps working on and the way it is now is not the "final version".

    The available Movie apps (for free) don't have nearly the same capabilities.  For my latest project I think I have to dig up my Linux box and use one of those applications!  And I haven't even gotten into burning it on DVD, which from what I've read online is in a worse state than the movie apps available!

    Live Mail, OneDrive and Windows Manager are either integrated, good enough or dead (Messenger dead for other solutions, usually 3rd party).

  23. 131

    Does anyone know if the UWP photos app recognizes the days of work I've put into my photos by tagging people?  And what about the generic tags?

  24. 545

    I still use Photo Gallery to do most of my printing of pictures, haven't really gotten to use Photos app much but it seem more limited in basic editing/tweaking before I print.

  25. 8051

    Just last week I just had to re-download Windows Essentials, and saw this notification. A friend needed help capturing video from a MiniDV camera with firewire, so I let him use my 2009 laptop (running Windows 10) so that he didn't have to buy a firewire add-on card for this specific task.

    Photo Gallery & Movie Maker was the easiest free software I could find that allowed for importing from this type of camera.

    • 3309

      In reply to poit57:

      Yeah, at some point I have to put together something for getting video off of my camcorder which connects via Firewire.  Guess I better get that system set up sooner rather than later!

  26. 1775

    >Movie Maker. A simple but power video editor

    Simple, but not in a good way.  Even after it was updated, MM2 still lacked features common in other low-end editors.  Today, it's a non-starter.  No loss here.