How to stop the built-in Messenger from signing in on Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Updates to this article:

Mar 30/2012: There have been multiple changes to Metro Messenger this past month and the below no longer is sufficient to stop Messenger from signing in. However, these changes seem to have finally added MPOP support (that is, allow you to use Metro Messenger and the normal Messenger client at the same time) and so it’s not nearly maddening as it was initially. I may go back and review this in the coming month.

Mar 2/2012: After redoing my investigation, I figured out that I had missed another connection. It seems to also connect to 65.54.52.45 (otherwise known as beta.xmpp.messenger.live.com) to start the Messenger connection process. Blocking this stopped the below mentioned signout problem. I’ve tweaked the command lines above to reflect this and changed the name of the rule. Based on this information it seems the new client uses XMPP, but that will be the topic for a later article.

Mar 1/2012: Messing around more this evening with Windows 8 has caused my “classic” Messenger client to sign out a few times, even though the built-in Messenger client still claims it can’t connect. I will investigate more shortly to see why that is, although the above still should provide some satisfaction, but probably isn’t a perfect solution just yet.

It’s only been out for a few hours now, but the built-in Messenger client in Windows 8 Consumer Preview is causing me severe mental anguish.  I’ll withhold my opinions of the client till later, but it seems to want to constantly connect and there does not appear to be any immediate way to turn this “feature” off.  Furthermore, I don’t really want to use this client for Messenger purposes.

So after being rapidly compelled to find out what it is trying to connect to, I think I’ve sorted out a (temporary) solution to disable this built-in Messenger client using the Windows Firewall.

To do so, open an elevated Command Prompt by moving the mouse to left-hand corner until the Start box appears, then right-click and choose Command Prompt (Admin).

Elevated Command Prompt

Confirm the operation, and then copy one of the following application lines into the clipboard:

For 32-bit Windows 8:
netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="MetroMessengerXMPP" action="block" dir="out" program="c:\program files\windowsapps\microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_16.2.3237.215_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe\LiveComm.exe" remoteip="65.54.52.45,65.54.48.0/24"

For 64-bit Windows 8:
netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="MetroMessengerXMPP" action="block" dir="out" program="c:\program files\windowsapps\microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_16.2.3237.215_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe\LiveComm.exe" remoteip="65.54.52.45,65.54.48.0/24"

Then right-click in the Command Prompt area, choose Paste and press Enter.

Paste Menu

Pasted Firewall Rule

You can close the Command Prompt now.  Messenger should no longer be able to sign in any more, but the rest of the Windows 8 features should continue to work (including Mail).  This works by restricting the LiveComm.exe process from communicating with the Messenger servers at the 65.54.52.45 and 65.54.48.0/24 blocks of IP addresses.  Hopefully they won’t decide to change the addressing scheme any time soon.

Note: As I’ve only had a few hours to test this, there may be unforeseen connection problems or it may even stop working later on.  You can remove or edit this firewall rule by using the Advanced Firewall configuration (run “wf.msc”).

Posted on February 29, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. It says a specific value is not valid

    • Greetings Konner. Sorry about that, unfortunately I had done my testing too quickly using just a text file, it was the CSS on the blog was messing up the quote characters. I’ve modified the HTML so it should be fully copy/pasteable now.

  2. Nice tip. I guess the outgoing firewall added since Vista is now useful for blocking MS’s own apps. :) As an easier/GUI alternative, can you try if Windows Firewall Control from Sphinx Software works to block the same EXE? It’s coolest feature is it blocks all outgoing apps by default but detects when an app is trying to connect and shows notifications for outbound connection like like the built-in Windows Firewall does for inbound ones.

    Will be a real problem if the Classic messenger client can’t connect after blocking this.

    • Greetings there xpclient, nice to see you here :)

      I’ll give it a go later on in the week to see what happens with that, it’s a really good idea as I think something is still managing to sign in from time to time and hopefully it will prompt to catch it without having to waft through a packet sniffer.

      Classic Messenger shouldn’t be affected at all as it uses wlcomm.exe for connectivity (as opposed to livecomm.exe) and appears to connect a lot differently.. and I was using it all afternoon/evening ;)

    • Gave Windows Firewall Control a shot and yeah, you could use that but the free version seems a bit too limited (and a bit overly annoying, but I suppose that would pass as you set up rules for everything :)). Unless you don’t care about Mail (and anything else that possibly uses LiveComm.exe) or you want to be bugged constantly about every connection, you’ll want something that lets you be specific about what IPs per process can connect. However, it seems the Plus version of that particular software does that and other software will too of course.

  3. ave Windows Firewall Control a shot and yeah, you could use that but the free version seems a bit too limited (and a bit overly annoying, but I suppose that would pass as you set up rules for everything :) ). Unless you don’t care about Mail (and anything else that possibly uses LiveComm.exe) or you want to be bugged constantly about every connection, you’ll want something that lets you be specific about what IPs per process can connect. However, it seems the Plus version of that particular software does that and other software will too of course

  4. So I stumbled on your blog and it may be awhile buy I thought I might enlighten you. Livecomm is the engine behind the communications package you referenced in the command line above. It would be simpler to just right click on the mail app in the Start Screen and un install it. Problem solved. Although it does just feel better to hack at the command line :)

    • Hello. I know what livecomm is. Anyway the point here was to continue using Mail but just disable Messaging. As such, uninstalling Mail or even deliberately blocking livecomm itself would not work to obtain that goal as you would break or remove Mail too.

      Regardless it’s all redundant now as Release Preview and RTM applications thankfully have an off switch in the settings for Messaging. Of course I myself am using Windows 7 full-time again.

  5. You can also remove the account now via settings, acounts.

  6. Thanks for the tip, worked great! gave me the string i needed to create my own app to create quick firewall rules! cheers

  1. Pingback: Windows Firewall mittels netsh konfigurieren « Das nie endende Chaos!

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