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October 15, 2008

How to Install and Use Windows Live Writer – Windows Live Tools Beta 3

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Microsoft has been building the Live brand and site for years in hopes of consolidating many services under one umbrella for consumers. They have been steadily releasing free tools that casual and even not so casual users would like to use, but from other vendors were not exactly free. These include tools for blogging, email, photos, movies, and even options to keep your kids safe while they browse online.

In this article I am going to walk through installing the Live Tools package on Vista Ultimate and also run through some of the basic functionality of Live Writer.

Where to Download Windows Live Tools

Before you can start enjoying all the new Live tools you need to download and install the tools from: http://download.live.com/

Once you download the suite, let’s go ahead and install it.

How to Install Windows Live Tools

You can install the tools individually, or as a full suite, I am going to go ahead and install the full suite.

1. Click on the Install file that you downloaded.

2. After a second you will get to choose the programs you want to install, and if you have already installed some of the applications you will see the ones that will be updated.

Choose what you want to install and click Install.

Installing Live Writer - Windows Live Tools Beta 3

3. If you have any applications open that need to be touched you will get an error message telling you what applications you need to close.

Go ahead and close the applications or the installer will close them for you and click Continue.

Installing Live Writer - Windows Live Tools Beta 3

4. After what could turn into a lengthy install you will come to a page that allows you to set some default settings. For my demo, I am going to uncheck everything and click Continue.

Installing Live Writer - Windows Live Tools Beta 3

5. The next window will welcome you to using Windows Live and ask if you have a Live ID yet (your Hotmail email login will work too).

If you need one you can click on Sign up to get one, but if you already have one then you can click on Close.

Installing Live Writer - Windows Live Tools Beta 3

6. You will now find all the tools under the Windows Live Folder in your program menu.

Installing Live Writer - Windows Live Tools Beta 3

Now let’s take a look at Windows Live Writer.

Working with Windows Live Writer Beta

Windows Live Writer allows you to blog from your desktop and post to a variety of blogging platforms such as:

  • Windows Live
  • WordPress
  • Blogger
  • Live Journal
  • TypePad
  • And Many more

It allows you to easily add photos and videos to your site with a WYSIWYG preview that will show you the way it will look once published. It is an extensible platform and has plug-ins to extend the functionality with other services.

Let’s take a quick look at the program, by using it to post to my personal blog at http://www.davelawlor.com:

1. The first time you start the program it will ask you if you have a weblog already setup and give you an option to set one up on Windows Live if don’t have a blog. Since I already have one setup, I am going to choose I already have a weblog setup and click Next.

Working with Live Writer - Windows Live Tools Beta 3

2. The next screen asks you to configure the writer for the type of blog you are using, since I am using WordPress for my CMS I am going to choose Another Weblog service and click Next.

Working with Live Writer - Windows Live Tools Beta 3

3. Now Live Writer asks you to enter your home page and user id and password. Go ahead and fill in your values and click on Next.

Working with Live Writer - Windows Live Tools Beta 3

4. At this point you may get an error if you haven’t enabled XML-RPC publishing protocol on your blog CMS.

If you do get the error, enable the XML-RPC and then try again, if it detects the XML-RPC is enabled you should see the following and you can go ahead and click Finish.

Working with Live Writer - Windows Live Tools Beta 3

5. The next screen shows you the Live Writer interface, which would remind you of most Desktop word processing programs with some additional features.

Much like working from the CMS interface I can do any of the following:

  • Setup a publish later date
  • Write a post
  • Write a page
  • Upload a photo/video
  • Connect directly to the Dashboard
  • Post as a draft

Working with Live Writer - Windows Live Tools Beta 3

6. One of the coolest features is that you can preview the way the post will look by clicking on the Preview tab at the bottom of the screen, which will show the post in your template.

Working with Live Writer - Windows Live Tools Beta 3

7. Once you are ready to publish your post you can just click on the word Publish in the top left corner.

Working with Live Writer - Windows Live Tools Beta 3

Extending the Platform with Plugins

Much like the best blogging software, Live Writer lets you add plug-ins to extend its functionality for use with a multitude of services. You can see the current plug-ins at: http://gallery.live.com/default.aspx?pl=8

Some of the more popular plugins allow you to easily add Flickr pictures, programming code, events from Eventful.com, or any number of cool services.

Summary

All in all this program is a very slick interface for creating posts locally while disconnected from the internet or even for those that want the familiarity of a desktop word processor to create your posts.

While not having counterparts for all plugins you might be using I can certainly see using this regularly to make posts to multiple blogs.

About the Author

(MCTS, MCP, A+) has been working in the IT field since leaving the U.S. Army in 1996.  Working his way up from printer hardware repair to running a corporate datacenter for a multinational corporation, Dave has seen many environments throughout the years. Focusing on web sites and search engine optimization the last few years, with the release of Server 2008 it has renewed his passion for the Wintel platform and server technologies. David also runs Windows-Server-Training.com where he posts free videos and walk-throughs for a variety of server technologies. David currently works as a freelance technical consultant and writer for a variety of companies in the Chicago area.

Author's Website: http://www.DaveLawlor.com


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