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Inside the world of Microsoft's Live Mesh

OK, so the launch of the Live Mesh mobile client wasn't exactly smooth. But first things first: This is beta software, and glitches are inevitable. Let's keep that in mind.

Now that everything's up and running, let's take a look at Live Mesh. We'll mainly focus on the new mobile client, but we'll also take a brief look at the desktop version.

A little background

Live Mesh is a beta service from Microsoft that's part of the Live Services implementation that will be the backbone of Windows' cloud OS (opens in new tab) currently known as Azure.

Live Mesh does several things. Here's the oversimplified version:

And that makes sense. It takes time, data usage and storage space to keep folders synced to your.

As you can see here, it just takes a couple of clicks to actually sync the contents of a folder to your device. How long does it take? Depends on what you're syncing. As I type this, I'm watching 108 photos from my storage card sync relatively slowly back into the Mesh over a 3G connection with AT&T. I presume this will be a one-time wait, and that as I take more photos, only the new ones will be synced.

Only syncing over WiFi might be something to consider if you're going to be moving a lot of data.

Once you do choose to sync a folder to your phone, you get a choice to either sync to the device itself, or onto a storage card. Nice, and necessary.

Edit - and another thing: Unlike Live Mesh on the desktop, it's not a "pushed" sync on the phone. And Live Mesh isn't built into the shell of the operating system. So, you'll have to have it running in the background if you want to sync continuously. And you can adjust how often you want it to sync in the settings. As often as every half-hour, or as long as every four hours, depending on your needs.

Sync a new folder from your phone

Syncing files from your desktop to your phone is great. But we've got to be able to do it the other way around.

And it's dirt-simple.

See shortcut No. 2 in the photo above? "Add Existing Folder." You navigate to the folder you want to sync, hit "select," and that's it.

As for those 108 photos that are still transferring? They're going at about one photo every 25 seconds. Presumably text files and the link would go a little faster the first time around.

Wrapping it up

As we mentioned earlier, Live Mesh and the entire Live Services family are going to be a big part of the future of Microsoft, Windows and, presumably, Windows Mobile 7.

We learned back in July that Microsoft was going into the hosted Exchange business. Between that and mobile Live Services, Redmond could well be poised to take on Google to be King of the Cloud. OK, maybe just with the business-types and "power users."

But is that such a bad thing? We've all been kicking and screaming for Microsoft to step up its game. It might not be flashy, but it appears they're well on their way.

WC Staff
WC Staff
13 Comments
  • We miss anything? Have any questions? Ask away.
  • Nope, but I did find an old Engadget article about a prototype of Xbox Live Anywhere being shown off in 2006... I can't wait for them to include the Xbox and Xbox Live into the Mesh! The Tegra devices and WinMo 7 might actually bring some kind of handheld Xbox experience to WinMo! Zune is going to be there, so music will be covered.
  • Is it just me or is this a security nightmare waiting to happen? It sounds like the Mesh client lives on a persons local computer permanently, allowing the VNC/file sharing from anywhere capabilities? What happens when virus/trojan writers start looking for these shares/folders? Does this all run over port 80? If I'm in charge of computer security for a company, how am I going to stop someone accidentally sharing out their entire hard drive, or perhaps even shared network drives, short of just completely blocking the Mesh site?
  • Again, I'll refer you to the Live Mesh blog.Behind Live Mesh: Authorization and encryption
    That help?Is it just me or is this a security nightmare waiting to happen? It sounds like the Mesh client lives on a persons local computer permanently, allowing the VNC/file sharing from anywhere capabilities? What happens when virus/trojan writers start looking for these shares/folders? Does this all run over port 80? If I'm in charge of computer security for a company, how am I going to stop someone accidentally sharing out their entire hard drive, or perhaps even shared network drives, short of just completely blocking the Mesh site?
  • Not everyone is allowed to use the mobile client just yet.. After installing I got this message:Live Mesh is not available.
    Live Mesh for Windows Mobile Client is only available to a limited number of users. You are currently not allowed to add your mobile phone to Live Mesh.
  • ok so I have some questions about Mesh, after testing and using it for a while.
    I think I'm the perfect user profile for Mesh - big fan of all things MSFT, use a couple of PCs along with my 800w. I'm also currently using (and LOVING) the paid service from SugarSync that does much the same thing as Mesh (maybe better?).
    So on to my questions - really, just one main question:
    Am I correct in interpreting the way Mesh works currently, that I can't simply tell Mesh to sync my EXISTING folders I have on my main PC - ? That's how SugarSync works, and that's how I want Mesh to work. I don't want to have to create NEW folders to add in to my Mesh; I just want to keep up with what I already have in place, and to sync those existing folders (and it also seems like I can't yet simply add FOLDERS into Mesh - that's evidently a coming feature).
    Am I seeing things right? Just sync with what I already have going. I don't want to make new folders - just sync what I've got, and keep up with them over time as I add/delete, etc. Again, that's what SugarSync does, and I like it. I also really like SugarSync's mobile client that allows sending of files via their service - very nice.
    I'm hoping Mesh is as good if not better than SugarSync. Clue me in o Mesh-heads here.
  • @JohnnyMac
    You absolutely can add ANY existing folder into the Mesh. Once you're hooked up, just right-click on the folder and choose "Add Folder to Live Mesh."
    Here's a pic.
  • I am loving this so far. I have it setup to sync with my documents and important files on my phone. Whenever I take a picture its automatically in the folder that is setup to be synced. I can either manually sync or have it automatically do it and within a minute or two its on my desktop in the synced folders. Whats great is that it works both ways too.
  • ok I got it - the folder sync does indeed work when using File Explorer, as Phil showed. I was trying to set folder sync from within the Live Mesh app on my PC, and it was not letting me.
    All good now. As I'm starting to use and test this, I'm still not sure I prefer Mesh over SugarSync - time will tell though.
  • guess im going to rule out google docs. was going to switch because of its cloud storage but now mesh has that. thanks microsoft even if you are late to the party
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