Installing Windows Live Suite on Vista x64

I was excited to see a fresh round of updates (beta releases) in the Windows Live family last month, notably Windows Live Writer and Windows Live Photo Gallery. After using both on Vista x86 machines, I can give a big thumbs-up to those two programs in particular.

So it was colossally disappointing to see that all of the new releases are designed to work only with the Windows Live Suite Installer, which refuses to run under Vista x64. There’s nothing incompatible about the programs themselves; it’s only the new unified installer that’s standing in the way. Well, that and the fact that Microsoft doesn’t support installing them on x64.

Fortunately, there’s a workaround, as explained by the gang at LiveSide. Because I had already downloaded the files to my x86 machine, here’s how I added the Live Suite apps to my x64 machine (usual disclaimers apply – this is beta software, the configuration is unsupported, don’t ask me for help if it screws up your system, etc.):

  1. On the x86 machine, open an elevated Command Prompt window (click Start, type cmd, and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter).
  2. Type the following command:
    start %systemroot%\system32\config\systemprofile\appdata\local\windowsliveinstaller
    and press Enter. (The only space should be between Start and the long path name.) This opens Windows Explorer to the folder containing the downloaded Windows Live installer files. [*]
  3. Copy the MsiSources folder to a location that is accessible to your x64 machine. A shared network folder or a thumb drive works well.
  4. On the x64 machine, open the shared folder and choose one of the Microsoft Installer Package (*.msi) files to install or update each program, one at a time.

Before attempting to install Windows Live Photo Gallery, download and install the SQL Server Compact Edition Runtime. If you skip this step, you’ll get an error message when you try to open the newly installed Photo Gallery.

Alas, the installer package files are not named in any friendly way. Instead, each is in the format Install_{GUID}.msi, where GUID is a 32-bit alpha numeric string.


To choose the right installer, match the first eight characters in the GUID with the program it contains, as found in this list:

  • 1F973A7F – Windows Live Writer
  • 508CE775 – Windows Live Messenger
  • AA436FBD – Windows Live Photo Gallery
  • C6876FE6 – Windows Live Toolbar
  • CB5EA99C – Windows Live Sign-In Assistant
  • EDB619FD – Windows Live Mail

I’ve currently installed the Writer and Photo Gallery betas as well as the Windows Live Sign-in Assistant. The Messenger update threw a confusing network error message when I first tried to install it. The workaround, as it turned out, was to right-click the installer package file and choose Repair. Go figure.

Now, if I could just get an x64-compatible Windows Home Server connector…

[*] The reason I recommend using a Command Prompt in Step 2 instead of trying to open the folder directly in Windows Explorer has to do with file permissions and UAC. If you try to open this folder in Windows Explorer directly, you’ll get a confusing series of error messages and you might end up resetting the permissions on a system folder to something less than secure.

6 thoughts on “Installing Windows Live Suite on Vista x64

  1. Hey there, Ed. I’m a Program Manager on the Windows Live Photo Gallery team. First, thanks for installing the product, even if it meant using the (unsupported) steps online at liveside. 😉 You’re right, the final release of Windows Live Suite will absolutely support Windows Vista x64.

    Also, I wanted to mention that if you come across any issues or have questions and want to send it to us, please ping us via our team blog:


  2. Ed, thanks for all the awesome stuff you provide for us. Yours and Mary Jo’s blogs are two of the few blogs I read every day.

    I too am ANXIOUSLY awaiting a X64 Home Server Connector version that will allow me to back up my 64 bit machines. That’s the main reason my two machines are still on the 32 bit flavor of Vista Ultimate.

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