If you've been following us closely, you know we've had two different synchronization services: Windows Live Sync
and Live Mesh beta
.  We’ve heard two things loud and clear.  First, people who use either Sync or Mesh rely on the services every day to connect them back to their PCs and sync their important files across multiple PCs.  And second, people want to know why we have two such similar services, and how they connect to Windows Live and SkyDrive.  So, we’ve focused on making Sync a great application for people that use multiple PCs – and making SkyDrive a great service for sharing documents and photos on the web.  Here are a few highlights of the new offering.
- Access to your PC from anywhere – Many people used the remote desktop feature in Live Mesh to access files or apps from a main PC that they left online.  Similarly, people used the previous version of Sync to browse to files on their main PC remotely over the web. We’ve standardized on one solution for remote desktop access in the new Sync. We’ve kept it simple and easy to set up, but made it faster and more responsive by adding data centers and optimizing our protocols. We’ve also improved support for multiple monitors, and added zoom.
- All your stuff on all the PCs you use regularly – With all of the new types of PCs available, we saw more people adding 2nd or 3rd PCs and wanting all their files in sync across PCs. With the new Sync, we’ve focused on making this very simple. Now in a few clicks you can sync Windows folders like Documents, Photos, Music, and Videos across all your PCs.  To do this, we invested heavily in peer-to-peer synchronization so you don’t have to worry about cloud storage limits.  For example, the new Sync beta intelligently chooses the right connection (internet or your local network) to sync files between different computers. We also increased key sync limits, with support for more sync folders, many more files in each folder, and the ability to synchronize files as large as 40GBnow.
- Your most important desktop stuff synced to the cloud – Mesh users told us they liked having files they worked with every day constantly synced to the cloud, so that they could access them anywhere – even if the originating PC was off.  We also learned that they were using the cloud to sync personal files across machines. So, we focused on making cloud synchronization more reliable. We made sure we were providing enough cloud storage to sync a really important folder to the cloud. Although more is always better, we found that 2GB of cloud storage was enough for most of the common cases, while keeping our costs at a level that we could afford to run the service for free. Of course, you can always give other people permission to access any of your Sync folders if, for example, you want to share large picture collections or personal videos with your family.
- Simple document collaboration over the web – You told us it took too much coaching to get others to use Mesh or Sync for sharing with you. You often spent time managing file conflicts because people were online at different times. That’s why we introduced the all new Office Web Apps in SkyDrive. With co-authoring and files that live in the cloud, Office Web Apps avoid most cases where edits collide, simplifying the experience for everyone.  We also brought the social “news feed” from Mesh into SkyDrive.  And all of this is web-based, so it’s easy for anyone to participate. We also saw that many people used Mesh to share OneNote notebooks across PCs. So we worked with the Office team to make OneNote 2010 sync to your SkyDrive right out of the box.
If you're trying out Windows Live Sync for the first time, you can find out more from our Windows Live Sync preview page
and then download the upcoming beta.  Note that, like other products in the new Windows Live Essentials beta, the new Sync beta requires Windows Vista or Windows 7 for PCs running Windows, and requires Snow Leopard or higher for Mac.
If you're using Live Mesh or Windows Live Sync already, you’ll have to uninstall the previous version before you start using the new beta version – we’ve written up a quick FAQ
to help you get started.  We know there are things you love about each product, and we understand it might take some time to get used to the changes.  But we think that, as you use the new Sync beta together with Windows and Windows Live, you’ll soon find it a familiar experience.
Thanks for all the great feedback you’ve provided us on Live Mesh beta and Windows Live Sync. We look forward to your comments on the new Windows Live Sync beta and to making future innovations to the Sync experience. To learn more about Sync, visit the Windows Live Sync preview
page, and then give it a try as soon as the new Sync beta is available.
Vice President, Windows Live