Windows Live Messenger and Windows Vista: Worse together

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.

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 (http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer9.html)

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

It's the Adobe Flash player causing the crashes, concurred Robert McLaws of Windows-Now.com 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....

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