How to Use Windows Live Mesh
Cloud computing is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s technology, and of course, Microsoft is on the leading edge with Windows Live Mesh.
Mesh is an online desktop that is synchronized with your other computing devices including your PC, Mac, and even your Windows Mobile phone. Mesh even allows you to remotely control your PC using remote desktop through your web browser.
Mesh works by installing a small piece of client software on your computer that synchronizes your files with your online desktop. You can have it sync to multiple computing devices, but as of now you are limited to 5GB of space.
Also, you can specify the folders on your computer you want it to sync with your online desktop. This will make these files available via a web browser and your Live Desktop.
Windows Live Mesh is still in beta testing for some of its full functionality. I’d also bet, if it catches on and people like it, we might even be able to install applications to the online desktop once beta testing has ended.
First we need to go to mesh.com and login with your Windows Live ID. If you don’t have a Windows Live ID you will need to create one to continue.
Also, make sure you are using Internet Explorer as some of the plug-ins don’t function properly in other browsers yet.
Once you have created your Windows Live ID and signed in to Windows Live Mesh you should now be at your online desktop.
Here you can add new devices to sync with and you can also upload files to your online desktop.
Let’s start by adding a computer to sync with. Click on the orange Add button, choose your operating system, and then click Install.
This will start the installation process for Windows Live Mesh.
Then you will be prompted to enter your Windows Live ID and password into Mesh. I also like to check the 3 boxes underneath to Remember me, Remember my Password, and Sign me in automatically.
Now give it a friendly name so you can recognize it easily. You can use something like “home PC” or “work PC”.
Synchronizing Files and Folders with Windows Live Mesh
Now that we have everything installed, let’s start synchronizing some of your important files and folders. The easiest way to sync a folder is to right click the folder you want to sync, and choose Sync with Live Mesh. In this example I’m using a folder called “Stuff” on my desktop.
You can also expand the synchronization options by clicking the down arrow in the bottom left corner of the window. This allows you to control how the folder you created synchronizes with your devices.
The folder will turn a light blue color to let you know it is a folder that syncs with Live Mesh.
Now any file or folder you add to the “Stuff” folder will automatically upload to your online desktop.
Accessing Your Live Mesh Files from a Web Browser
We have a folder setup to synchronize to our online desktop, so now what? How can you access these files remotely?
It’s pretty easy… open Internet Explorer and login to mesh.com with your Windows Live ID we setup in the previous steps.
Once you login you should see all your devices and your Live Desktop. Click Live Desktop to view your synchronized folders.
Here you will see what looks and acts similar to a Windows Vista operating system and your Live Folders.
As you will notice the “Stuff” folder we created earlier is on my Live Desktop. Open the folder you created earlier and look at the files that it synchronized.
You can add other folders to your Live Desktop but the limit right now is 5GB as it is still in beta testing.
Remotely Controlling your PC with Windows Live Mesh
Windows Live Mesh allows you to also remote into your computer using a web browser. While logged into your Live Mesh account, click Devices from the top buttons. This will take you to your home screen with your devices and Live Desktop.
Click the computer you want to remotely control and click Connect.
The first time you connect you will be prompted to install an ActiveX Control on your computer. If you don’t allow this to install, you will be unable to remote into your PC. Click on the Information Bar and choose Install ActiveX Control.
You also might be prompted a second time to install the plug-in.
Now you should be remotely controlling your computer just as if you were sitting in front of it.
What’s Next for Windows Live Mesh?
As I mentioned above, Windows Live Mesh is still in beta testing for now and has its limitations. Pretty soon you will be able to install Mesh on your Mac, and on your Windows Mobile Phone. I’d also like to see applications run in Mesh through the web browser, just as if you were using your computer.
Applications like Office would be great to see in Mesh. Even better would be a full screen mode that fills your screen for easier usability.
Keep your eyes peeled on this new technology from Microsoft as it makes its way mainstream. More storage, more synchronizations options, and applications running on your Live Desktop should be coming very soon as they get prepared to launch Windows 7.