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After two betas, the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector 12.1 has now been made available in its final format. With this free add-in, you can integrate your Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Calendar directly within Outlook. In this new release, the connector has been improved so that syncing your contacts and email is "faster and more robust," says Alessio Roic, Outlook Program Manager, on their team blog.

If you use the new Windows Live Calendar service, you’ll be happy to know that the Connector will also sync your calendars to Outlook – even if you have more than one. And if you are a member of any shared Windows Live Calendars, those can be synced, too.

However, please note that the new Connector (12.1) replaces the old Connector (12.0) which synchronized with the MSN Calendaring service (a MSN Premium service). If you choose to replace that earlier version of the connector, Outlook will no longer synchronize with MSN Calendar and all the data will need to be moved over to the free Windows Live Calendar instead. (I love it when paid services are replaced with free ones – how about you?)

For anyone who wants to move off the premium service to the new free service, you will first need to migrate your data. The Outlook blog details exactly what needs to be done. 

Then, when you’re ready, you can install the Outlook Connector 12.1 from here.

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