Windows Live Messenger  8.5.1235 Beta
Windows XP SP2
OK OK I know Windows XP SP2 is definitely not new (in fact it is almost 3 years old), what is new is that Messenger 8.5 Beta1 has bumped up the minimum OS requirement from Windows XP SP1 to Windows XP SP2.
Setup - the look
The next thing (or probably the first thing) you will notice is Messenger Setup looks different than previous Messenger releases. However it is the now same as the new setup experience for WL Mail and WL Writer
Setup - the desktop short cut
During Messenger setup you may notice that you are not prompted to create a desktop shortcut for Messenger. If you have an desktop shortcut from a previous release it will continue to work. Let us know what you think about this change here.
Setup - the start menu short cuts
After setup you will notice that the start menu short cuts are included in a Windows Live folder so you can easily find all your Windows Live clients. If you had Messenger installed previously your other start menu short cut will still appear.
Setup - Microsoft Update
If you read through the setup screens carefully you will notice that updates are going to be published through Microsoft Update - affectionately known in the office as MU pronounced "moo". Meetings about this are entertaining - we sound like a bunch of cows chatting it up - moo this, moo that, etc. Any moo, during the beta we will be testing this out with your help of course.
Sign-in - the look
Right after setup of course you need to sign-in. A picture is worth a 1000 words (according to someone) so I will let the picture do the talking here. This reminds me of those games in a magazine where you are supposed to spot all the differences.
Menus - the look and feel
After installing a Beta the first thing you might do is look through the menus to see what has changed... for this Beta the menus haven't changed but you will get to them in a different way.
Contact Window - the look
After you sign-in you will likely want to find someone to IM with.
Conversation Window - the look and a little feel
Now on to IMing, you will notice the typing indicator and "Last message received.." information has moved. After you have used if for a bit, let us know what you think by voting in the poll (note if you are reading this in an RSS reader - click here to see the poll). We collect feedback in multiple ways - the poll is an unscientific but fun method so you may not see changes based on it. If you are really passionate about it head on over here to provide detailed feedback.
New Emoticon - the bunny
While you are IMing you will likely want to send an emoticon or 2 or 100
Windows Live Writer
Most of the MessengerSays posts are created through Windows Live Writer including this one. If you haven't used Writer yet let me tell you it really rocks!