Saturday, March 01, 2008

Direct link to Windows Live Messenger

Lately, Microsoft has gone the way of Adobe, and has implemented annoying installer stubs for their downloads. For example, if you want to obtain Windows Live Messenger 8.5 aka WLM 2008, there is no direct download link from Microsoft. Instead, you first need to download something called Windows Live Installer, which will attempt to install toolbars and enable other "please send me spam" options.

I really don't understand why companies try to alienate users like this. It's such a clear indication that they want to serve the interests of their advertisers, and their own interests before yours. Plus, it is also a waste of bandwidth and time.

But fear not, I'm going to show you how to bypass this Windows Live Installer rubbish, and get your own standalone WLM installer:

1. Download the WLM .exe file from Microsoft's Windows Update servers via this link. The version listed here is Windows Live Messenger (8.5.1302.1018). You can save it with any name you like, but retain the .Exe extension. This Exe file does not work; if you launch it, nothing will happen.

2. You will now need to extract the MSI (Microsoft Installer) file from that Exe file. You can do this with XN Resource Editor, a free program. It's just a quick download, about 1.2MB. You can either choose the installer version, or not. The program doesn't care where it is installed, and it can just be run as is.

3. Launch XN, and load the .Exe file using File->Open . Expand the BootStrapPayload tree, then expand the MSNMsg.Msi tree. You should see only one entry - Language Neutral. Right-click on Language Neutral and click on "Export Resource". XN will ask you for a filename. On my system, it suggested "MSNMSGS.MSI", which was fine by me. You can save it with any name you like, but retain the .MSI extension.
4. And voila! you now have your very own WLM 8.5 standalone installer. Just double-click on the MSI file to launch, and it'll work just like earlier installer versions. If you have problems launching MSI files, you may need to download and install Windows Installer 3.1 first.

Raymond.cc lists a slightly different method for getting a standalone installer. Basically, it's the time-honoured tactic of fishing out .Msi files from the Common Files folder. However, his method involves running Windows Live Installer, which I am trying to avoid. On the other hand, Raymond's method saves you from mucking around with XN Resource Editor, or any other util. But I like mucking around with XN Resource Editor.

Anyway, there you have it, not one, but two methods for obtaining a standalone installer for WLM.

Note: I got the direct WLM link from another site, but the page has been listed by TrendProtect as "may be unsafe", so I'm not going to link to it.

Update, Aug 18, 2008: In certain cases under Windows Vista, the installer does not display any dialog boxes or provide any other indication that it has worked properly. Don't worry though, WLM has probably been installed correctly. Just check under Start->All Programs->Windows Live.

Previously:
Direct link to Adobe Reader (Acrobat Reader)
Block Ads in Windows Live Messenger

See also:
Windows Live Messenger ports and URLS

11 comments:

Thrungus said...

great help! Thanks!

acu said...

Can you give the turkish version link

Froh Baum said...

Worked perfectly, although I was a little confused at first because there were no dialogs in the installation process other than a single progress bar. I didn't even have to click an annoying license agreement!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a mill,
^ ^

T.K.
Singapore

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely helpful and straight-forward (at least to me :P).
Thanks a lot!!!!

Heng

Anonymous said...

Hey! Thanks. It finally worked! Wasted my whole afternoon trying all sorts of ways!!

Amer...There and Back Again said...

Thanks very much. The Windows Live Installer is failing to install Live Messenger for the last 24 hours on my machine.

Falcon said...

This was pretty useful... I couldn't install WLM on a PC I'm setting up, for some unknown reason. The "windows live installer" was acting really stupid. First it couldn't remember which product I chose (Live Photo Gallery, actually), then after ticking the boxes for WLM and Photo Gallery, it crunched away at figuring out if any Live programs are installed (WHY? Is it so hard to look at the installation keys?), then stopped and marked both as "canceled". Uh, I didn't cancel those... so it didn't download any MSIs or anything. Downloading the EXE from that link, and reshacking it out, worked just fine. Now, if only I could find the installer for Photo Gallery...

I find it quite ridiculous that the software I have the most trouble running on Windows is Microsoft's own software.

Falcon said...

Ah, I shoulda come back here to update :)

After installing WLM using this technique, then letting Windows Update run from the website (which found some Windows Update files were "missing"), Live installer ran fine to install Photo Gallery.

Of course, I'm not installing Photo Gallery for the darn Photo Gallery functionality, but rather because it is pretty much the same photo viewer from Vista with improved viewing functionality and a whole lot of useful improvements. I hate Vista, but I love the improvements to the photo functionality. Ha-ha on you, Microsoft, for releasing the one selling point for Vista as an XP add-on.

ryan said...

Wow thanks a lot, i hate the new module microsoft has incorporated into live.

I will be using this method again.\
Cheers from Scotland

Fox Prime said...

Work very good ;)