Enable transfers/sharing of files with potentially unsafe file types in Windows Live Messenger

Windows Live Messenger possesses  some very unique “features” which can also bring a lot of frustration to its users. One of those features that I’ll cover here is the ability of WLM to block the so called “unsafe file types”.

This is actually a good step towards a more secure platform, since those blocked file types can indeed be misused to spread viruses. The point I want to make here however, and also provide a solution to the proposed problem, is that there is no clear option for the user to just disable this file blocking behavior.

Now you can imagine the situation where you want to send a file to your friend that has a file extension that is blocked by default. The frustrating thing is that not only executable files with for example an EXE file extension are blocked but also the frequently used ZIP and RAR files. In that situation you will probably get the following warning notification:

The options that Windows Live Messenger provides is to install Windows Live OneCare safety scanner, which might raise some security doubts. Or, to provide a self-defined virus scanner.

Now it is possible that you just do not have a virus scanner for some reason and then you might think that the story is over, but fortunately WLM does actually allow the transfer of files even if no valid virus scanner is provided. So you can for example provide Notepad as your wonderful and very secure antivirus software.

Actually, providing any string should get the job done. So the steps that you would need to perform are as follows:

  1. Go to Tools >> Options >> File Transfer
  2. Check the box Scan files for viruses using:
  3. Now put any string into this field, click OK and you should be able to send any file from now on.

When sending a file from now on you will still get a warning dialog, but at least you can now send your “unsafe” files over. 🙂

Note that when you receive a file from someone you will get a message that the Virus scan has failed and

The virus scan could not be completed. Please check your settings in Tools > Options > File Transfer

Nevertheless, the file is received and you can open it by manually navigating to the folder where you receive your files.

Windows Live Essentials Offline Installer

Introduction
The current Windows Live Essentials 14.0.8117.0416 you can get by downloading the online installer from the official website. The installation files of all the components are downloaded during this setup. You might want to store these component files like Windows Live Messenger for offline installations for some reason. In this post I will describe my short analysis on how you can retrieve these installations for offline usage and maybe automate this information retrieval. Finally I will provide actual download links of both WLE and WLM from the official download site.

Windows Live Essentials Watcher Page
Before I continue with the analysis I just want to mention that you can find a complete list of all the available Windows Live Essentials components on the Windows Live Essentials Watcher Page. I will try to update the page with more older and newer versions when they come available.

Analysis
After analyzing the setup log of the online installer of Windows Live Essentials (version 14.0.8117.0416) I managed to extract some interesting information about the whole procedure the installer uses to download all the components. The location of the setup logs is dependent on the operating system you are on. The paths per operating system should normally be:

On XP:

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\WLSetup\Logs

On Vista/7:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\WLSetup\Logs

Furthermore, all the components that are downloaded by the setup are read from a XML catalog file. See here the catalog file for the current English version 14.0.8117.0416 that is used.

The downloaded components have the following link structure

http://wl.dlservice.microsoft.com/download/../../../ID/LANG/FILE

which is generally used for all the language versions.

If you want to backup your current and/or future versions of Windows Live, then you can find the downloaded files after the installation is done in the following cache directory:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Windows Live\.cache

Official Windows Live Essentials 14.0.8117.0416 offline setup

Download Windows Live Essentials 14.0.8117.0416 (134MB)

  • Size: 141.399.376 bytes (134 MB)
  • MD5 hash: 4f079107f0d6fa1921f8a2f989864ac4

Download Windows Live Messenger 14.0.8117.0416 (23.9 MB)

  • Size: 25.148.416 bytes (23.9 MB)
  • MD5 hash: 819ff00b35959f5100ff787ef9484936 (MSI file inside the downloaded cab)

Official Windows Live Essentials 14.0.8089.726 offline setup

Download Windows Live Essentials 14.0.8089.726 (135MB)

  • Size: 141.402.440 bytes (135 MB)
  • MD5 hash: 0ff7f12bb44f91cad117632e3edd13ae

I also found out that there exists the same version of this full setup but with another file size from the official website. It seems older, and it is very strange that the version is exactly the same. Anyway, you can find it here (Size: 141.394.760 bytes – MD5 hash: 7a9f0e19f9d7ac193c8efd9d7f351b4a). The WLM cab is not downloadable from the same folder.

Download Windows Live Messenger 14.0.8089.726 (24.0 MB)

  • Size: 25.240.576 bytes (24.0 MB)
  • MD5 hash: 500e43ce39cede387e263ed886d24a74 (MSI file inside the downloaded cab)

Other seperate components – Windows Live Essentials version 14.0.8117.0416
Download Family Safety (x86)
Download Junk mail filter update
Download Microsoft Application Error Reporting (x86)
Download Microsoft Application Error Reporting (x64)
Download Microsoft Search Enhancement Pack
Download Microsoft Sync Framework Runtime Native
Download Microsoft Sync Framework Services Native
Download Microsoft Choice Gard
Download Microsoft Office Outlook Live Add-in
Download Microsoft Office Outlook Connector
Download Toolbar
Download WLXSuite
Download Windows Live Movie Maker
Download Windows Live Communications Platform
Download Windows Live Call
Download Windows Live Upload Tool
Download Windows Live Sign-in Assistant / Windows Live Login Browser Helper Object
Download Windows Live Sync
Download Windows Live Writer
Download Windows Live Mail
Download Windows Photo Gallery

Requirements:
Download .NET Framework
Download DirectX (x86)
Download DirectX (x64)
Download Windows Imaging Component
Download Windows Imaging Component Hotfix (Vista – x86)
Download Windows Imaging Component Hotfix (Vista – x86)
Download Windows Imaging Component Hotfix (Vista – x64)
Download Microsoft Visual Studio Runtime (MSVCRT)
Download Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition 3.1
Download Microsoft Silverlight
Download Segoe Font

Other seperate components – Windows Live Essentials version 14.0.8089.726
Download Family Safety (x86)
Download Junk mail filter update
Download Microsoft Application Error Reporting (x86)
Download Microsoft Application Error Reporting (x64)
Download Microsoft Search Enhancement Pack
Download Microsoft Sync Framework Runtime Native
Download Microsoft Sync Framework Services Native
Download Microsoft Choice Gard
Download Microsoft Office Outlook Live Add-in
Download Microsoft Office Outlook Connector
Download Toolbar
Download WLXSuite
Download Windows Live Movie Maker
Download Windows Live Communications Platform
Download Windows Live Call
Download Windows Live Upload Tool
Download Windows Live Sign-in Assistant / Windows Live Login Browser Helper Object
Download Windows Live Sync
Download Windows Live Writer
Download Windows Live Mail
Download Windows Photo Gallery

Requirements:
Download .NET Framework
Download DirectX (x86)
Download DirectX (x64)
Download Windows Imaging Component
Download Windows Imaging Component Hotfix (Vista – x86)
Download Windows Imaging Component Hotfix (Vista – x86)
Download Windows Imaging Component Hotfix (Vista – x64)
Download Microsoft Visual Studio Runtime (MSVCRT)
Download Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition 3.1
Download Microsoft Silverlight
Download Segoe Font

Update
The most recent full Windows Live Essentials Standalone Installer can also be downloaded from the link below. I also provided the Windows Live Essentials 2010 Beta link.

Windows Live Essentials 2009 – Wave 3 (most recent version)
Windows Live Essentials 2010 Beta – Wave 4 (most recent version)

http://g.live.com/1rewlive3/en/wlsetup-all.exe

“Show my webcam” not available and grey webcam during video call problems in Windows Live Messenger 14.0.8117.416

Introduction
A minor update to Windows Live Essentials was recently released with some bug fixes and “minor changes”, while introducing new bugs and having people not very liking at least some of these “minor changes” like the one option that is left out where you could choose to only show your webcam instead of making a full video call.

Grey box when making a video call
In the recent version 14.0.8117.416 of Windows Live Messenger there exists some type of bug through which one might get a grey box when making a video call. I’m not sure which webcam’s this problems concerns, but I came across one laptop model where this was the case. I also found that there are also other people having this same problem.

“Show my webcam” not available
In this new version, the option to only show the webcam without having to start a video call is left out. Again, there are some people complaining about leaving out this used future.

Solution
The solution for any of the two problems is rather simple. You have to remove your current version (currently newest 14.0.8117.416) and install the older version 14.0.8089.726.

It seems as Microsoft does its best to not provide any downloads for the older (working) versions. Trying to keep your installers of your older versions for later use gets complicated as you can only download the online installer that always downloads the necessary files from the internet of the latest version. It is probably possible to get and save these installer files somehow, but for “normal” people I suppose this would be a hell of a struggle.

Anyway, I felt that I should provide the offline installer files for this older version. There is a full Windows Live installer that contains

  • Windows Live Family Safety
  • Windows Live Mail
  • Windows Live Messenger
  • Windows Live Movie Maker (Windows Vista and Windows 7 only)
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery
  • Windows Live Sync (integrated with Toolbar and Photo Gallery)
  • Windows Live Toolbar
  • Windows Live Writer
  • Microsoft Office Outlook Connector
  • Microsoft Office Live Add-in
  • Microsoft Silverlight

but also a seperate Windows Live Messanger setup. You can download them both below.

Official Windows Live Essentials 14.0.8089.726 offline setup

Download Windows Live Essentials 14.0.8089.726 (135MB)

  • Size: 141.402.440 bytes (135 MB)
  • MD5 hash: 0ff7f12bb44f91cad117632e3edd13ae

Download Windows Live Messenger 14.0.8089.726 (24.0 MB)

  • Size: 25.240.576 bytes (24.0 MB)
  • MD5 hash: 500e43ce39cede387e263ed886d24a74 (MSI file inside the downloaded cab)

Update
* As FuGu pointed out in the comments, the other party you’re communicating with should probably also have the same or older version to  get this to work. If the other party has the newer version 14.0.8117.416 it will simply block the request if you just want to show the webcam instead of making a video call.

Windows Live Messenger Uninstaller v0.01

This is the first public version of the Windows Live Messenger Uninstaller (v0.01).

What the tool does is basically remove a broken Windows Live Messenger installation. It really uses only the windows installer (msiexec.exe) to do the job combined with the CLSID of the installation that uniquely identifies the WLM version.
The symptoms might be that when you want to reinstall the application it might say that it is already installed, while actually it is not. When trying to remove it with the usual Configuration – Add/Remove software steps, it might not even appear in the list, while the setup of the WLM says it is really installed.

I decided to build this tool since there are a lot of people strugling with this problem [1][2][3][4]. All these existing solutions presented by people on these sites use the single command with a CLSID key (eg. msiexec /x {B1403D7D-C725-4858-AACC-7E5FA2D72859}), but since the key is different for each WLM version such a solution might only be useful if you have that exact version. It can also be done manually by changing the registry keys, but I thought this would speed up the work significantly since there might be a lot of keys to search in (The location we are talking about here is: [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\])

I heard of people formatting the entire hard drive because of not being able to resolve this, so I really hope this gets around and avoids a lot of headaches.

You can download this first version of the tool below.

Download binary | Download source code (pascal)

MD5 hash binary: 7525a442da4b4515c8166debfc4a4d01
MD5 hash source code: 28efa8f882c5354c6c4845393724e99a

Requirements
The tool is tested on Windows 7, Vista and XP.

Usage
The tool is very simple to use. If it finds an installation it will give you the uninstall command that you can use to manually remove it. You can also press RUN and it will run the command automatically for you.

Note: This software comes with absolute no warranty! By using this program you agree that I am not responsible for anything caused by this software whatsoever.

Future releases
If you have any comments, suggestions or bugs, please put them here in the comments. If it is useful I might add/fix it in the next release.

Currently I’m planning to build a more general remover for the Windows Live series, since there are also other components that could get broken.

References
[1] http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_uninstall_windows_messenger.html#comments
[2] http://ayumilove.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/how-to-install-remove-windows-live-messenger-2009/
[3] http://www.mydigitallife.info/2006/02/11/remove-and-uninstall-windows-messenger/
[4] http://www.vistax64.com/live-messenger/185883-cannot-uninstall-windows-live-messenger-beta-2009-a.html

Untrue descriptions on other sites linking to this page
The link to this topic is already published on several sites, but unfortunately the presented description of the tool is misleading. For it says that I’m claiming to have a better tool than all the other existing solutions, which is of course not true. This is only another alternative that may solve the problem.
In my description I was only referring to the existing solutions presented on the topics and comments on these that I used as references (see above [1][2][3][4]) and not on any other existing tool that probably uses other methods.

Softpedia certification

The tool can now also be downloaded from Softpedia.

Windows Live Essentials Uninstaller
If you also want to remove other Windows Live Essentials components like Windows Live Mail or Windows Live Movie Maker, then try a similar tool that I have built called Windows Live Essentials Uninstaller. This tool can remove any component installed by Windows Live Essentials.