So I’ve been using Windows Live Toolbar Wave 3 for quite a long while already. Overall, I’m not so happy with the new toolbar. I do like some of the new features, but I prefer the old version of WLT.
There’s only two ‘improvements’ that I can note for the latest Toolbar. The others are things I like::
1. Sign in bar – I can easily sign into my account right on the toolbar! However, I’ve noticed that if you sign in the regular way (on the web page itself, not the toolbar), it won’t automatically get updated on the toolbar, nor if you press to sign in, it won’t show up on the toolbar at all.
2. Search button is more useful – The drop down menu now shows all the options (including “This Site” and “Search Computer”) as well as search features that some of your buttons might contain.
3. Smart menus – Wonderful feature. It works similar to Activities on IE8. You just highlight a piece of text/graphic and out comes some possible helpful shortcuts that might be useful. Smart menus are much more dynamic than just right-clicking.
- Bar takes up more space – I noticed the bar takes up slightly more space than the original. Not cool.
- “Windows Live” button too big – The Windows Live button itself is too big, and at the moment, Windows Live Home is not so useful. You can’t disable it either!
- Hotmail button doesn’t show new messages – It used to have a number in parenthesis next to it, to tell you how many new e-mails there are, but it’s not there anymore.
- Suggest/History results won’t show up – For some reason, it’s either not included, or got disabled completely. I can’t find how to enable this in the Options menu, and you can’t uninstall Windows Live Toolbar, without uninstalling every other Windows Live Essential (Mail, Writer, etc.) components! This drives me nuts!
- Overall, toolbars just aren’t compelling anymore – Toolbars are getting to be old-fashioned already, and with new modern web browsers that have a bunch of handy tools built-in already (like IE8 with it’s Accelerators, Web Slices, and fantastic Search Box)most toolbars meant to extend functionality just aren’t needed, or come as a less annoying add-on.
I prefer the old version of Windows Live Toolbar to be honest. I used it all the time, and it worked great for me. It was compact, the search suggestions and history were spot on, and I liked it much more.