Left Hand – Meet Right Hand…

Once again, Microsoft demonstrates that its left hand seemingly hasn’t got a clue what its right hand is doing.

The OneDrive team has been making “improvements” to the OneDrive service. A couple of weeks ago they blogged about these.

A couple of days ago, Martin tried to send some photos of the garden to a friend. He uses Windows Live Mail (WLM) as his email program. This has a very nice feature that allows the easy creation of a photo album in an email, and it uses OneDrive. What happens is that WLM will create a folder in your OneDrive to hold the full-size photos, upload those into OneDrive for you, and use thumbnails in the email message. So the email is small and efficient, and the recipient can view the photos in the OneDrive folder.

As I say, it’s a nice feature, and very easy to use.

Except that this time, the email got stuck in WLM’s outbox; it would never complete the publishing process. We tried it a couple of times, and the result was always the same.

It turns out that this problem is hitting a lot of people who are using the Photo Album feature in WLM. It’s been caused by a change made by the OneDrive team in the OneDrive service.

Clearly, no-one in the OneDrive team uses Windows Live Mail. It’s probably too old-school for them. I have a strong suspicion that Microsoft would love to drop WLM and the rest of the Windows Essentials software suite. It hasn’t had an update for several years now.

The big question now is what will Microsoft do? Will the OneDrive team fix the issue, and restore the photo album feature to WLM users? Or, as I fear will be the case, will this just be ignored in an attempt to shift users away from WLM and onto the Mail app that will be delivered in Windows 10? Conspiracy theorists will probably surmise that this breaking of WLM is a deliberate move on the part of Microsoft. I suspect it was probably unintentional, but it does now provide a useful lever to Microsoft to drive users away from future use of WLM. So I don’t think we will see a fix…

Addendum: 8 July 2015. Well, I may be wrong. It looks as though the issue has been fixed. No official word from Microsoft, one way or another, but photo albums do now seem to be getting through…

Addendum: 13 October 2016. It turns out we only had a temporary reprieve. What appears to be happening is that Microsoft is making changes to its Outlook infrastructure in the cloud, and these break the photo feature in WLM. There’s no chance that Microsoft will reverse these changes, and equally no chance that they will adjust WLM to fix the issue. Sigh.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
This entry was posted in Computers and Internet, Photography. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Left Hand – Meet Right Hand…

  1. Matt Healy says:

    This illustrates a key advantage of open source tools: nobody can take them away from you.

  2. Ludwig says:

    The problem is widespread as you point out. I don’t think it is intentional, Microsoft is just not that good or clever. They aren’t even smart enough to realize that their new dabbles don’t come close to the quality and features of the old Windows Essentials suite – all the old pieces are far better than anything they have done since then. Their convoluted APIs make updating older software items a nightmare. The Essentials group was disbanded a long time ago according to my “usually reliable sources”, so there is nobody there who cares or knows how to fix problems. Sad, sad, sad.

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