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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Windows Essentials

Before the software tour begins, however, a word about Windows Essentials.

If you can believe it, Windows 8 doesn’t come with a desktop email program. It doesn’t come with a chat program, video-editing app, or basic photo-management software, either (only the Photos viewing app in TileWorld).

It’s not because Microsoft doesn’t have the talent; it’s because of the lawyers. Microsoft grew sick and tired of defending itself in antitrust lawsuits (“If you include all the software anybody would ever need, you’re stifling your competition!”). So nowadays, Microsoft leaves out all those controversial programs.

But even if they’ve been left out, they’re not actually gone. These programs are one click away, a one-shot free download from the Web, in a package called Windows Essentials (formerly known as Microsoft Lawsuit Bait).

Most of them, anyway. The Windows Essentials suite includes these apps:

  • Windows Live Mail. Yes, it’s the classic free Microsoft email program. Once, long ago, it went by the name Outlook Express.

  • Photo Gallery. This is Microsoft’s “digital shoebox” program for managing, organizing, and touching up all your photos.

  • Messenger. It’s the chat program that uses Microsoft’s chat network, rival to AIM and Yahoo IM. (Microsoft is replacing it with Skype, which it bought.)

  • Movie Maker. Simple video-editing program. (DVD Maker, alas, has gone to the great Circuit City in the sky. Steve Ballmer giveth, and Steve Ballmer taketh away.)

  • OneDrive. Turns your free online ...

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