Yahoo Messenger for Vista patched to work on X64

Update: Or Yahoo could release their official update to include X64 update a day after, that works too.

It took Yahoo almost 12 months to deliver a pre-beta build of its Yahoo Messenger for Windows Vista with hardly any features but worst of all, isn’t even compatible 64-bit Windows. In contrast, it took just a little over an hour for a hobby software developer to write a patch making it so.

I don’t know what sort of show they’re running over at Yahoo, but they seem to partying and spraying champagne over live electronics more than writing code by the looks of things.

(Left) Photo from the official Yahoo launch party with sandwich and cookies.
(Right) Photo from the unofficial X64 launch party with yogurt.

Yahoo Messenger for Vista patched to work on X64Rafael Rivera Jr., who some users might be familiar with for his work patching Microsoft’s UXTheme library for Windows, took a good look at Yahoo Messenger’s executables to figure out why it did not work on X64.

First of all, the installer actually prevents the user from even progressing in the install if it detects its run on an X64 machine. To get around this problem, users can download the actual installation files from Yahoo itself. After the installation completes, if you try to run the application it will halt with an error immediately after the splash screen. As it turns out, it’s not as serious as it sounds.

The root of the problem is that the application was compiled incorrectly. Rafael has the technical explanation, but to put it simply Windows throws a boulder at it when all it needs is a pebble. The fix basically patches the application so it tells Windows “I can has pebble?”, give or take some quantum mechanics.

In summary, to get Yahoo Messenger for Windows Vista (build 2007/11/30 420) working on your X64 machine:

  1. Download the manual installation executable from Yahoo
  2. Download Rafael’s patch
    (You can find the file in the folder “other-patches”)
  3. Extract the patch to the installation directory
    (default: %USERPROFILE%/AppData/Local/Yahoo!/Messenger for Vista)
  4. Run “Wizard.cmd” in the directory

So now I have to ask why 16 full-time Yahoo employees (counted from photos) couldn’t figure this out in twelve months. Writing X64-compatible applications should a be given in this day and age. And it’s not even like this is a major design problem preventing it to work, it’s just a stupid oversight ticking a checkbox or two when compiling the code.

If yesterday’s disappointing release wasn’t enough, now I’ve lost hope for the success of this project in general.

27 insightful thoughts

  1. yeah I’ve seen this as an embarrassment too. However, I’ve just been at the yahoo messenger blog and, this thing caught my eye:

    “This is a preview version only (pre-beta) so not everything is in here that you might be used to seeing in other versions of Yahoo! Messenger”

    It isn’t even beta. It’s in the same state as a preview of longhorn from PDC 05. Get the picture?

    WinLive messenger works great for me, and I don’t use yahoo at all. But this just comes from my sense of good and evil xD

  2. Wow, just wow. For shame Yahoo Team. Put down the beers and actually start producing some code.

  3. Yeah yeah, “preview.” That’s the nomenclature everyone wants to use when they put something out there that barely passes as being “OK.”

    When start-ups pull that kinda stunt, they crash and burn, hardcore. When established corporations do it, “it’s just a preview.”

  4. Ouch. From frog designs writeup: “This process of overlapping work streams *enabled the application to be built in a dramatically shorter timeframe* than possible in the traditional software process.”

    Oh my…

  5. That simply hurts MS’s potential to drive the WPF platform even more. I hate to see it happen; here MS creates a potential albeit buggy next generation tool for Windows apps and then someone as large as Yahoo can still seem to not get it right.

  6. Maybe the program doesn’t install on x64 by design. You and others have commented on it being buggy and having problems. Perhaps, they were not wanting to commit to supporting it’s use on 64bit systmes as the 32bit environment wasn’t working out all that well to begin with.

    Lots of companies deliberately limit their market for reasons of support, or in other instances issues dealing with licensed content. I’ve seen enough people complain that things like XBox Live’s video marketplace isn’t available in certain parts of the world, while not considering that content licensing might be an element of the reason among many other things.

    I’m be interested in knowing the reason here, but seeing as it was a simple fix, I’m assuming there might be more to it than they simply didn’t know how to do it.

  7. You guys are retarded. Eric Burke is one of the foremost experts on WPF technology and you guys are saying they couldn’t figure out how to turn on a checkbox. Windows Vista and Windows Vista 64bit are seperate products, maybe they thought very few people especially of the ones that use their product, an IM client, actually would have it installed. Windows Vista 64bit is targeted at scientific customers, not casual IMers.

  8. @Someone

    Windows vista 64 was targeted for 64bit procesors. And the purpose of those procesors is to put 32bit in retirement.

    so don’t go off saying that 64bit is reserved only for scientists. It’s NOT. It should replace 32bit – remember how it was difficult to switch to 32bit in the first place? Now, everyone is using it.

    Heck even I have a 64bit procesor, but the irony is, games don’t run on it. Well, not many atleast.

  9. The reason it didn’t have a 64-bit release at its initial launch yesterday may be because of the 32-bit Sidebar gadget. I noticed when I installed it, it shut down the sidebar and relaunched. When I investigated further, I realized it shut down the 64 bit sidebar program and loaded the 32 bit version. That said, the 32 bit gadget does appear to work in the 64 bit sidebar, if you load it there manually.

  10. @Someone

    So, only scientific customers want to use more than about 3GB of RAM? There’s quite a few gamers and graphic designers out there who’d like to differ.

  11. @milan

    A desktop PC OS that doesn’t run games? If it doesn’t run games, why would home users be using it at all, much less for IM? Especially when you can only have one or the other unlike Mac OS X that runs on both 64bit and 32 bit systems while running both 64bit and 32 bit executables simultaneously. Why would anyone opt for an OS that can only have benefits for non home users in their home?


    Considering that games don’t work in 64 bit Vista, why home users would be using it is beyond me, clearly the same conclusion is what the messenger folks came up with.

  12. @Wes: That is not the case. As you said, the gadget works fine. The new client is merely a recompile with the 32-bit IL flag set.

  13. Does anyone know how to get voice working on yahoo messenger ? i have vista os system 32 bit edition.


  14. hey ,

    looks like other patches folder isnt there any more …when i click the link it goes to some weird website

  15. I have a 64 bit operating system that will run in 32 bit for games, sound and imaging if the system can’t run it in 64 and yes it is vista

  16. Too bad the patch link doesn’t work anymore. Yahoo seemed to work just fine on my x64, until about 2 weeks ago. Out of nowhere, it wouldn’t open at all. (And that’s with the UAC and DEP both turned off)

  17. I cant get the messenger to work in 32 bit vista home premium operating sys. maybe it has something to do with running dual processors .

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