Windows Live Messenger and Windows Vista: Worse together

Windows Live Messenger and Windows Vista: Worse together

Summary: Now that Vista's done, you might think that Windows Live Messenger and Windows Vista might be coexisting more peacefully. If you did, you would be wrong.

TOPICS: Windows

There've been plenty of problems reported by Windows Vista beta testers attempting to run Windows Live Messenger (version 8.0 final and/or 8.1 beta -- take your pick). Now that Vista's done, you might think that Windows Live Messenger (WLM) and Windows Vista might be coexisting more peacefully. If you did, you would be wrong.

I've been chatting with a number of Vista users running the final Vista bits. (How'd they get them already? Don't ask. Actually, the ones with whom I spoke came by their Vista copies legitimately.)

Tester No. 1 (who asked to remain anonymous): "It (WLM) works fine for three hours. Then it crashes all the time. I just had four crashes in a row. I know it's in beta. But normally, even betas don't crash that often."

Tester No. 2 (who also asked not to be named): "WLM sucks on Vista. WLM8 is more stable then 8.1, but its not compatible with all the stuff in Vista (such as song integration with WMP 11). WLM 8 crahsed like once a day on Vista. 8.1 crashes like 10 to 20 times a day. Meanwhile, AIM 6.0 beta runs completely fine on Vista!"

Microsoft knows and begrudgingly admits there's a problem with WLM 8.1 and Vista.

A spokeswoman offered the following advice: "Currently, Vista users can use a workaround to avoid any issues. (And, yes, there will be a long term solution in the future.) The key thing to remember is that Windows Live Messenger 8.1 is in beta. When 8.1 releases out of beta, it will have the final stamp of Vista compatible code."

The Microsoft-suggested workaround:

1. Uninstall Flash Player (Click Start->Control Panel->Uninstall a Program, then select Flash Player)

2. Close Windows Live Messenger and any other programs that use Flash

3. Open Adobe public Flash Player beta site (

4. Click "Download Installer for Windows Active X" to install

It's the Adobe Flash player causing the crashes, concurred Robert McLaws of fame. "If you're on Vista, you have to install the Adobe Flash beta. (Then), it (WLM 8.1) will still crash on exit every once in a while, but nowhere near as bad as it used to."

Now I see why Windows Live isn't part of this whole "Better Together" campaign that Microsoft is planning for Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007....

Topic: Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • I don't understand

    Could someone explain to me how MS, having had Vista in development for over five years and Windows Live Messenger being a basically simple program (considering all the other IM clients out there)and MS having so many excellent programmers can still end up putting out a buggy program? Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture like I do?
    Insight Driver
    • It's the stupid Flash

      player that is causing it.

      The problem is it grabs the media hardware and won't release it properly when it's no longer needed.
      • Why is that befuddling MS???

        Have Messenger's program release the flash player's grab on the media hardware.

        They know the program; they can evaluate the problem from the inside out in both cases.

        That hardly sounds like an insurmountable problem.

        They can post an update to kill the Flash players with poor programming if they are too lazy to add a few lines of code to their own program.

        Then they can let the software guys know the problem and they can release a fixed one.

        What a silly problem to besmirch a new software launch.
    • Well

      First of all, it's Windows Live Messenger BETA. Second, it's the Flash Player causing it.

      You're like Pavlov's dog. You hear the sound of a BSOD or app crash and you start salivating and yelling, "evil empire, money grabbers, crappy software".

      Think for once will you?
  • Live Messenger isn't alone

    Live Messenger and Internet Explorer 7 have regular lockups or app crashes in both Vista and XP that are due to a file named flash.ocx. That's an Adobe (Macromedia) file. So why do we get a headline laying this at Microsoft's feet? Maybe the Adobe Watch correspondent should handle this one.
    • He says, she says...

      Lock out the crap programming and make Adobe fix it (by using patches).

      MS should be at the forefront of these programming irregularities. They are launching a new OS.

      A little more proffessionalism, please...
  • Live Messenger Vista Crashes

    I have been struggling with Live Messenger on my new Vista based Aspire 5610 Laptop. It was very unstable never allowing me to interact with it without crashing with a memory error! Skype is as solid as a rock. I unloaded and installed Flash 3 times ... major pain. Finally I right clicked on the Messenger icon and used open as administrator even though I sign on as the admin.. and it worked!!

    I also noticed that PalTalk wich always ended with a crash when I exited it (worked fine till I exit ) now will close without error if I have opened it as the administrator! Strange and a major time waister this has been!!!!
    • Vista & WLM

      Well I am glad to see from all the posts that I am not the only one having problems with WLM & Vista. On the Microsoft website for Messenger they claim that 8.1 is compatable with Vista, anyone that has got it to work is just plain lucky. At first I thought it may be just an issue with an upgrade to Vista, apparently not. It is ramparant. Solution (don't use it, uninstall it and use the Yahoo IM it seems to work fine so far anyway) I kept getting the same errors and program closings as every one else, mine worked originally for about five minutes when I first installed it. then it crashed. Kept trying to find a solution but it seems that Microsoft doesn't have one yet and it may be awhile. There are a multitude of program compatability issues with Vista, it does seem to load a little faster and does seem to have some good features if you can get it to work, but as of the moment stick with XP if you have it. If you are already entrenched in Vista and don't want to bother going through a complete re-install I guess you will just have to suffer along with the rest of us and if you need IM the I would give the Yahoo version a try it is Version 8.1 but seems to work.
      • WLM and Anything

        I've installed WLM on 4 systems - 2 x XP and 1 x Vista - and it has only worked on one of them. On one XP system starting WLM made the system CPU race endlessly. On the Vista system, WLM simply crashed when I tried to login and then when I rebooted the system needed to do a checkpoint restore in order to start!!! I had both the latest Flash and latest WLM....and on a preloaded Acer laptop. Skype may not bother with WLM given how flakey it clearly is.
  • WLM

    Just got a brand new computer with Vista. WLM will not install and shuts down.
    • What's the point?

      I'm just your "Average Joe" except for one thing, I live in Taiwan. I've got my hands on a brand new computer, complete with Vista and WLM.

      You can imagine my frustation trying to get WLM to work with ALL messages in Chinese (Mandarin). Now, thanks to this website, I now know I need to find a file and unistall it, after which I simply download the latest driver file and all is good.... so I'm told.

      My question is; Why launch a new OS with poor programming???

      learning a new OS in Chinese is challenge enough, let alone Mr. Gates giving me less than usable programs.

      Not happy.
    • WLM and new laptop

      On mine WLM would install, but shuts down as soon as I try to actually login. Then on re-boot I need to do a checkpoint restore to fix a corrupted system.
  • RE: Windows Live Messenger and Windows Vista: Worse together

    doesnt work at all. it is a waste of ur time to install it cause after u finish u have to uninstall it because that shit doesnt work

    I have this issue and i dont know what to do, as most of you, i poen msn and as soon as i am on a conversation the msn freezes suddenly, without error messages. sometimes happens other times dont, i have tried the flash player thing but it wont work. what can i do? is there a patch???
  • RE: Windows Live Messenger and Windows Vista: Worse together

    i think their should be a program to download msn live messenger because i cant see to download msn live messenger i tryied it 4 time still no luck. where can i download it.
    plus i try to download msn live but it crashed on their anyother soultion?

    please get back to me a.s.a.p.
    on this email address ,
    thank you.
  • RE: Windows Live Messenger and Windows Vista: Worse together

    i hav windows vista home premium on my laptop and i have tried to download WLM 23 times. the link in windows doesnt work and none of the older versions work cus it says i need 2 update to continue and it cant update
    pls pls pls HELP!
  • RE: Windows Live Messenger and Windows Vista: Worse together

  • RE: Windows Live Messenger and Windows Vista: Worse together

    What really pisses me off is Microsoft's pop-ups within WLM telling you that the latest and greatest is available. Then when you go to install it, spending the time and bandwidth for those of us who have "CAPS", the program then does a reversion back to the original program. The error message keeps saying that the user aborted the process, which is not so. I'm happy with the messenger I got. I just wish MS would stop harassing me with their damn pop up reminders within the program.