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Oh, how I wish I could use Windows Live Writer

June 27, 2010

The beta of the new Windows Live Writer has just been released, which (at first) made me really happy. I’m working on doing more personal blogging, and I’ve always loved working with WLW, so I thought playing with the new version would be a great incentive to do some more writing. So yesterday I downloaded the Windows Live Essentials installer, and updated my Writer, and even decided to try out the new Messenger and Photo Gallery.

They’re all pretty slick. Too bad I had to do a system restore to get rid of them a few hours after installing them.

For some reason, Microsoft is bundling something with its new software that breaks the authentication used for Samba shares. Now, for the average Windows user, this isn’t a big deal, since most people probably don’t have a clue what a Samba share is. Essentially, a Samba share is a local network connection between a Linux (or Mac) computer and a Windows machine. And for me, it’s how I watch a large portion of my television: Boxee running on an Ubuntu installation on an old laptop, pulling video files over the network from my main Windows 7 desktop.

But installing any of the new Windows Live Essentials breaks that network connection. And I don’t understand why it needs to mess with local network authentication. Windows Live Essentials should be worried about authenticating with web-based services, not with other machines on my local network.

I had the same problem with Microsoft’s recent Office Live Add-In update (which shows up in Windows Update as a “Critical Update”). It breaks my Boxee too. At least with that update, I finally figured out that I could uninstall the Windows Live Sign-In Assistant program that came bundled with the update. Whatever it is that’s breaking the network when I install WLW seems baked right in to the program, so it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.

Sorry, Microsoft, but I’ll have to choose nothing. At least until you either fix what you’ve done to local network permissions, or let third parties know what you’ve changed so they can update and adjust.

Composed using the new Windows Live Writer beta on my netbook, since it doesn’t need to network with my media centre laptop at all. WLW really is a great editor.

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