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How to run Windows Live Messenger on Windows XP x64 and Server 2003

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Sorry, Windows Live programs cannot be installed on Windows Server, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, or Windows operating systems earlier than Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Being a new user of Windows XP x64 that message puts me off quite a bit, apparently Microsoft wants you to install the old and ugly MSN Messenger instead of Live Messenger if you happen to run the state of the art version of Windows XP. However, as you will see, Windows Live Messenger can be used in full, but Microsoft in its infinite wisdom just made the installer incompatible!

Live Messenger 8.0 seems to be the latest version on the Microsoft Download Center where support for Windows XP x64 is specifically mentioned. In version 8.1 only Server 2003 is mentioned. If you download v8.5 you will receive the message above during installation… Notice also that the size of the file is reduced considerably because this is just an installer that then downloads the features you choose to install.

On the official download page for Windows Live Messenger you can read this under requirements:

Windows 2003 Server and Windows XP x64 are not supported.

What is so ironic is that Windows Live Messenger is fully compatible with XP x64, as a matter of fact I’m using it right now. So what you have to do is download the file I mentioned that the unsupported installer downloads. Take note though that you will not get any prompts during the install, it is silent, since you are supposed to make those choices in the unsupported installer… What this means is that you are saved the trouble of unticking the boxes about installing MS toolbars and changing your browsers home page to the dreaded MSN sites.

Also worth mentioning is that Windows XP x64 shares its codebase with Windows Server 2003 x64 and even uses the same service packs!) So this should apply to Server 2003 as well, just like drivers for either OS work fine with each other.

You can download the bare MSI file of Windows Live Messenger v8.5.1302.1018 here. While you are at it check out A-Patch that allows you to disable many annoying features of MSN like advertising – it’s beyond me why MS advertises in their own client. And when you have come to your senses you can may as well download a decent chatting client instead ;).

Oh, and here is the command to uninstall the Windows Messenger (not the same as MSN Messenger OR Live Messenger) that is bundled by default with the OS. Just copy and paste the following into Start > Run and Windows Messenger will be gone: RunDll32 advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection %windir%\INF\msmsgs.inf,BLC.Remove

Written by Per Hansson

February 4th, 2008 at 11:55 am

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