Live Messenger misleads users about 64-bit compatibility

Windows Live MessengerIn the small spectrum of software developers who writes compatible software with 64-bit versions of Windows, you’d expect Microsoft to be the last to drop the ball. Today, Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger team did exactly just that and dropped compatibility for 64-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

A reasonable person might be led to believe Windows Live Messenger 8.5 is somehow incompatible with those versions of Windows. Unfortunately, reason seems to be out of the equation.

As part of the automatic rollout of the final version of Messenger 8.5, Jura of the Windows Live Messenger team announced on the blog today,

A special note for those of you running Messenger 8.5 Beta on Windows XP 64-bit or Windows 2003 Server: the final version of Messenger 8.5 will not install or run on your OS. We don’t want you to get stuck out in the cold so you will not receive the mandatory upgrade to the final version. However, these operating systems won’t be supported by future Messenger versions.

It’s almost as if someone held a gun to their head to announce this because as a matter of fact, the final version of Messenger 8.5 does infact install and run on 64-bit XP and Server 2003 as proven by Rafael Rivera and Jonanthan Kay.

To be perfectly clear, the only hurdle prohibiting end-users from doing so is the custom installer application. All you need to do is avoid the custom installer and install the MSI file directly. No ‘hacking’ required.

I really don’t understand why they would lie about the software not installing or running on 64-bit XP and Server 2003. This is not even a matter of support. They could have outrightly said “we do not support these 64-bit operating systems”, but to say “it doesn’t work” is absolutely untrue.

They could have as well just said,

Thanks for beta-testing WLM 8.5 which installed and ran just fine on your 64-bit XP systems. Your efforts to improve the product, for the rest of us, is much appreciated.

Now it’s time to part ways – it’s not me, it’s you – and you should probably downgrade to the older and less featured but “stable” version of WLM. Trust us, the software doesn’t really work on your system. The cake 64-bit support was a lie.

Windows Live Messenger 8.5 remains compatible and supported on 64-bit versions of Windows Vista.

47 insightful thoughts

  1. What it runs on and what it is supported to run on may be different things. If the Windows Live team doesn’t want to commit the resources to providing support for the program on the Server 03 platform (which includes XP x64), then that’s a business decision they made.

    That it works fine anyway (once you jump through a hoop) is a benefit to users on that platform who want to use it. But they don’t warrant that it will, or will continue to into the future…

  2. @hornetfig: You’re right about the difference between “running” and “support”, but they say it doesn’t even install or run when in fact it does. If they announced “we no longer support X64” that would have been perfectly fine, but to say otherwise is a lie.

  3. When I was little, I always wondered if I would ever get the chance to work at Microsoft or Apple.

    As I’ve grown through the years I’ve come to the conclusion that I never want to work at a place like Microsoft. I mean… how do you even begin to explain something like this? I would hate to be, I guess, ‘trapped’ in whatever little corner of hell dominates Microsoft these days…

    Forget that they’re wrong and lying — why even drop 64 bit support if you already have it running? It’s just so… I can’t even put it into words.

  4. That’s ridiculous. Microsoft has been saying 64-bit is the future. I’ve been saying it’s here today! I’ve been shipping software for both x64 and x86 for years and there is almost no overhead in supporting both apart from a larger test matrix. What a bad example. Somebody needs to have a word with the Messenger team.

  5. Does anyone else think they’ve been a bit quiet on WLM9.0 recently? The beta for it started before Christmas (November I think) but there haven’t been any more builds since then. It’s almost as if they’ve started to hang out with the Ultimate Extras team…

  6. Long – “You’re right about the difference between ‘running’ and ‘support’, but they say it doesn’t even install or run when in fact it does.”

    To that extent I guess I’d agree the wording is wrong. But what if not supporting it meant never testing it on Server 03/XP x64? I guess you’d say they still shouldn’t mention it “not working” because they don’t know in fact that it doesn’t.

    Howabout a counterfactual: What if they merely said it doesn’t “install” on Server 03/XP x64? This is true – the installer is set to prevent it.

    Or another: What if they chose the words “designed to run on [Vista x86/x64/XP x86]”? This might cover them both ways – it says nothing about working on XP x64 and comes with the tacit implication that if it runs on other operating systems then that’s sheer luck. It doesn’t really deal with the “but *why* didn’t you design for XP x64?” question (which is the same question that would be asked if you use the word “support”) though.

    I’ve been reading Raymond Chen’s lamentations of how everyone twists Microsoft’s words too much, I think….

  7. >As I’ve grown through the years I’ve come to the conclusion that I never want to work at a place like Microsoft.

    A fair conclusion but not if it is only based on a lying comparison to Apple. Jobs and Co. also do a fine job of outright lying.

  8. If they have said “we don’t support it”. Then that would be acceptable.
    If they have said “we didn’t test it, run at your own risk”. That would be acceptable.
    If they have said “it doesn’t install”. That would be correct.

    I’m not saying they should design all applications to run on X64, I’m no X64 advocate. But when it does run, and they say it doesn’t and users should avoid doing so with no apparent repercussions, that’s very irresponsible on their behalf.

  9. I don’t know how anyone could prefer the interface of 8.5 over that of 8.1, anyway. Besides, they haven’t even included a Vista 256×256 size icon yet 😛

  10. @David: What did you expect? They even advertise Vista features (like Movie Maker) with the old XP icons on the Windows website. 79000 employees but not one designer 😉

  11. Wait. What about Vista x64? Because, I mean, it’s not so bad (still is pretty dodgy, but) if it only doesn’t work on old versions of MS’s OS.

    but yeah, they do often have old stuff on their websites (“Download NEW Windows Media Player 9!”)

  12. Pfft! I was just looking at their design site – even that’s outdated (Live Services Wave 1.0 look, hardware at least three or four years old…)

  13. The Windows Live Messenger team really needs to drop their balls, you know, run through some puberty and grow the hell up and start supporting some decent operating systems. Wait, they’re too busy with Windows Live whatever-the-hell their next project is because they don’t give a damn. Seriously, Microsoft, pull your head out of the damn cloud.

  14. I agree with Jimbo about Windows Serrver 2003, not so much on XP x64… that was a test that went bad.

  15. 64-Bit Forum Forums
    have a ASUS Mother Board “M2N-E” with a AMD 64 Athlon X2 processor
    has two Memory Chips in it, two 2 gig chips = 4 gig in two of the four slots. what I want to do is to hook up a old VCR so I can edit the video then put it on DVD. I have Windows xp Professional x64 Edition.(64 bit)

    Please give me some idea of what kind of Capture Card and software you recomend to make this work. It must support (64 bit)xp pro

    Im sher RCA plugs are involved.
    I also want to plug in a old cassette tap player so i can dub sound into my movies. email me your input , or helpful ideas on this.

    thank you sincerly


  16. Hello all,

    I just came across this thread when installing messenger on my sister’s computer.
    I can’t really believe Microsoft breaks software compatibility so easily because their stupid installer. This is such a joke!

    If you would like to take real profit from your x86_64 processor, I really encourage you to try some GNU/Linux distribution. At least all programs are 64bit, the only ones you’ll have to run as 32bit are some proprietary programs like vmware and the adobe flash plugin (which is proprietary anyway so its not the Linux community fault).


    Seriously, I’m not here to flame the thread.

    PS: If you are interested in trying Linux or have questions, you can contact me to [email protected]
    Although there is a huge pile of tutorials/documentation regarding this matter on google : )

  17. I am so pissed with Microsoft, they make a IM but not make it compatible with their 64bit versions of windows?

    Are they on crack? The lecture and preach about people should be making 64bit apps – and what do they do? Slap their iusers in the face – Typical Microsoft!

  18. Oh for the above, its moronic to not be on a 64bit platform, how can you photoshop on less than 4gigs of ram?

    Getting 8gig soon, and with a 1gig graphics card id only get 3gig of ram under a 32bit os – go figure on the future – ur looking at 64 bit

  19. Didn’t you just stop to think about it and realize they are intending by any means that you “up(*cof*)downgrade” to Vista?

  20. Let this be a lesson. Anyone who buys an x64 system — or for that matter, any new system — from Microsoft is crazy. The x64 version of Windows XP is NEWER than the 32-bit version, but Microsoft has all but dropped support for the system. It may be as Hornetfig says, “this is a business decision,” but buyers of Microsoft’s new systems should beware that such business decisions are likely to screw them. In other words, Microsoft essentially treats new architectures as experimental (in a business and marketing sense) and has no qualms about leaving purchasers of such system out on the limb if sales don’t match up to expectations.

  21. Hello!

    This is news to me, that with the MSI it can be installed.

    Can’t find the MSI though.

    Could someone please upload it, so that I may use it to install on XP 64-bit?

    Thanks in advance,


  22. ok so once u download that installer, then what? cuz when i click on it it still tells me it cant install it. this is what everyone seems to be leaving out. what do u do once u have the installer. i dont get it.

  23. Don’t remember exactly how I did it, but I think I typed this into run: %TEMP%

    Then double click the file (it should have a .msi extension). You can turn on view extension by opening explorer (eg My Documents) going Tools->Folder Options you should find it somewhere on the list.

    Hope this helps,


    PS: Fuck Microsoft for stuffing around with 64-bit support!

  24. it must be forced on them – im running server 2008 64 bit; doubble incompatibility, and it works just as good as on every os!

  25. I am so god damn confused that half of it would’ve been too much.

    I feel so buttraped by Microsoft. Why the hell would they release an operative system that they not much later, would stop supporting? I mean.. When I bought x64 bit Windows, I did it because I thought it would be THE new stuff along with Vista?

    Why create something you wouldn’t back up?

    Seriously… Fuck microsoft. God damn retarded shit company. Im going Mac!

  26. we today you cant run 8.1 either. at least i cant. i get a window saying new version availalbe. so i donwload it thinking cool they finally updated 64bit xp version.

    doesnt install

    messenger keeps repeating the same window.

    new version available….

    cant login.

    ms sux once again. and to think i actually stuck up for 7. i like my mac more and more every day.

  27. try this site contains a link to where a compatible ver for 64 bit can be downloaded and it works on my 64 bit

  28. First install windows live messenger 8.5, and allow it to update itself. After update finishes, restart the computer and it will work.

    This worked for me, I hope it will work on your systems too.

  29. hi guys! i am running windows 7 home premium, i have installed windows live messenger 2011..but it is very slows, it stuck most of the time…i thought it may be a problem with anti virus, i uninstall it and still i am facing the same problem…any help please!!……

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