Why I Paid $774.00 for Windows Live Writer

Windows Live Writer is Microsoft’s flagship application.  Whether they know it or not.  There are companies being built on plugging the one remaining Mac hole.


When I capitulated to Mac, I wanted to go all-in.  I really did not want to install Parallels.  The only Windows program that either (a) I haven’t realized I don’t need, or (b) I haven’t found a (generally superior) Mac substitute for, is Windows Live Writer.

How crazy is that?  I don’t need Windows 7.  I don’t need Office for Windows.  I don’t need any of that stuff.

But I do need one little free program that writes blog posts.  Because it is infinitely better than the WordPress native editor.  And infinity times infinity better than any of the crappy Mac blog editors.

Which means that I had to buy Parallels 7, which so far is really elegant, and runs perfectly under Lion.  And I had to keep a Windows 7 license.  The latter being no problem since my TechNet subscription is still in effect.

But if it weren’t, I would have eventually forked over a $120 or so, just for the OS that will allow me to install Live Writer on my Mac.

And there’s more.  Knowing that I’d probably have to do this, I bought extra RAM when I bought my iMac.  16 GB, when I would have otherwise settled for 8.

Let’s recap.

Just to install Live Writer, I bought:

Parallels Upgrade $54
Windows 7 $120***
8 GB RAM $600.

$774.00.  Just for Live Writer.  Sounds crazy, I know.  But after suffering through the alternatives for a couple of weeks, it seems like a great deal.

*** I didn’t have to pay any extra because I have a TechNet account, but I would have had it come to that.

I’m not the only Mac user who has installed Windows 7 primarily to use Live Writer.  All of this tells me that some smart developer could create a really good Mac blog editor, sell it for $50 or so, and make a fortune.

27 thoughts on “Why I Paid $774.00 for Windows Live Writer

  1. Kent, I agree there’s not a full feature, “really good” Mac blog editor out there and someone could make some money developing one. 

    However, from my experience Parallels/Window 7 would have run perfectly well on your iMac in 8GB of memory. That extra $600 being implied as “required” for Parallels/Windows 7/Live Writer is perhaps a bit overstated — yes, you did spend it…but you didn’t “have to.”  🙂

  2. Technically you’re right, but here’s my thinking.  I knew I’d want to allocate 4 GB of RAM to Parallels (not for Live Writer’s sake, but to make the OS capable of efficiently running other Windows apps).  I use my computer for a fair amount of music and video production, so I wanted a good amount of RAM on the OSX side.  Apple doesn’t offer 12GB, so my choices were 8 (4 OSX/4 Parallels) or 16 (12/4).  I just couldn’t get comfortable with 4 for my day to day use.

  3. It just goes to show how brilliant a blogging editor Live Writer is doesn’t it! In the same way, Live Writer is actually one of the reasons I wouldn’t transfer to a Mac! It would be interesting to see how much Mac users would give to have a Live Writer version for their Macs! It  really seems strange  then why Microsoft don’t pay more attention and give more prominence to Live Writer as it must easily be the most used program from their Live Essentials Suite! It certainly is on my computer. 

  4. It’s highly unlikely that WL Writer is the ‘most used program from their Live Essentials Suite’.  Also doubtful that you’ve data to support the claim.

    Real Data: (From the Inside Windows Live Blog)
     May 2011
     – More than 300 million people actively using Messenger to connect every month
     March 2011
     – 22 million people connecting Messenger to Facebook with over 4 ***Billion*** minutes of Facebook chat per month

    Just a few. Other sources of data easily availalble via a simple internet search (Google or Bing) that indicate WL Messenger holds (as of June 11) about 40% market share of the IM market (c.f. OPSWAT-Market Share Report Jun 2011- available in pdf). Even Microsoft, last Oct stated there were 1.2 billion pcs using Windows worldwide.

    WLWriter like WL Messenger is available in 48 different languages but has a long way to go to be the ‘most used Live Essential Suite’ program or surpass WL Messenger.any statement otherwise would appear to be a result of drinking too much blue kool-aid or a faulty calculator

    MSFT MVP Windows Live

  5. I think you can modify Sandra’s statement of “Live Writer as it must easily be the most used program from their Live Essentials Suite” to “Live Writer as it must easily be the most used program from their Live Essentials Suite *by bloggers*” and we’d be good. 🙂

  6. Do you know of a website that will show me from start to end how to install WLW on my mac? I need to know details, like what do I need to purchase? Windows 7 the whole package? I have found websites explaining it but they just say install windows after you install virtualbox, but doesn’t windows cost a few hundred dollars? So confused….

  7. ya it’s unfortunate that no one has made an app just like live writer for the mac. is it really that difficult? it doesn’t have to be free like live writer. i’ll pay up to $50 for a license. too bad.

    i’m curious, you paid $600 for 8GB of ram? what kind was it and is it made of gold?

  8. You’d think.  But that’s just what Apple charges.  I’d never think of paying that for RAM on a PC, but being an iMac newby, I didn’t want to immediately open it up and destroy it, so I paid the Apple fan tax.

  9. now it makes sense. ya i’ve opened my aluminum iMac up and made a youtube video while doing it. it was a pain just to upgrade my hard drive and nerve racking. but i do i agree with your post. i wish microsoft would just make a mac version. i mean they do it for office, why not windows live and charge for it.

  10. I tried using parallels with windows 7, but I’ve got a macbook air with only 4GB on it, so it was completely bogging down my computer…

    Parallels is not an option for me. The main feature I like about live writer is that it can import my stylesheet and show me exactly how my paragraphs will appear on the live post. 

    Is there any other solution to be able to do this? I certainly can’t depend on the wordpress editor to give me accurate results, aside from constantly going back and forth between preview and editor.

    I’ve tried so many  blog editors for mac, and not ONE has this feature. How is that possible?? lol

  11. Did you try MarsEdit? Since you’re such a big fan of WLW, please tell me how to get a ‘blog this’ script working in the Bing toolbar. It used to work just find in the Windows Live toolbar…

  12. ..though looking at your earlier posts: “couldn’t set link targets? Well, you could by setting a custom format (the Format dropdown on top right, then “Edit..”). I’ve got about ten blog-specific custom tag combos set there which can be generated by a keystroke which you can set in System Preferences -> Keyboard so you…

    No, no. You spent the $700. Damn well get your money’s worth out of WLW.

  13. Kent, I do the exact same thing you do: I run Windows Live Writer on in Parallels on my Macs, and it’s the main reason I run Windows. Since I AM running it, though, I take advantage of still using Office 2010, which still kicks the Mac version of Office’s butt up and down the block several times.

    However, you really didn’t need to go with 16 GB of RAM to do this. I run 8 on my MacBook Pro and 6 on my iMac (it’s an older one) and split the Win/Mac memory allocation in half. However, you can easily run Win7 with WLW on just 2 GB of RAM – I do that when I want to give the Mac OS side more memory. It works just fine.

  14. Yeah, I know now that I overbought on RAM.  I was nervous about buying a nice iMac and then hobbling it by giving RAM to Windows.

    I can’t believe how much better I like the whole Mac experience.  Software updates are a prime example of elegant and relatively unobtrusive vs inelegant and intrusive.  I’ve turned my entire family and several friends already.  If that is a trend, it bodes well for Apple.

  15. While I clearly spent more than I had to (see Dwight’s comment below), I couldn’t be happier with what that $700 did for me.  The bummer will come when MSFT abandons Live Writer, as more and more bloggers abandon traditional blogs to be content volunteers at the social networks.  Maybe by then the native WP editor will suck less.

  16. Windows Live Writer is a terrific WordPress editing tool!

    As many others have commented, you really overbought RAM for your Mac. Windows 7 runs nicely in a VMWare Fusion virtual machine with only 2-GB RAM allocated. I have a mid-2011 MacBook Air with 4-GB of RAM and it runs Windows 7 like a champ.

  17. For me, the most
    irreplacable part of Windows Live Writer is its image handling. On my site, every
    post has to have an image – and I want my images to look good. So, I
    want to be able to drop an image on there, resize/crop it exactly how I
    want, sharpen/shadow and DONE. WLW lets one do this just by copy/paste
    from a directory window, or even from the clipboard (in the case of a
    screenshot). I haven’t found any other tools anywhere that have this
    type of functionality, and now that I have a MacBook I happen to be
    typing on, I miss it bitterly. Almost enough to make me want to run a
    Windows 7 VM on it just for WLW.

  18. I agree about image handling in WLW.  That’s also something the native WP editor is especially bad at.  I’m afraid that MSFT will ignore WLW into obscurity (I have a mental pool about which of my favorite obscure apps- WLW or Yahoo Pipes- will be dead-pooled first). I keep hoping someone will take the best parts of WLW and develop a Mac app.  The problem is that it’s a desktop app in a world that is rapidly going mobile.

  19. Then again, you could have rented yourself a Windows machine in the Amazon cloud (http://aws.amazon.com/ec2) which you pay by the hour (the small Windows instance for $0.12/hr is enough) and use it to run Windows Live Writer. You even get a small Windows instance for free for the first 12 months after you sign up (“Free Tier”).

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