Attention Messenger team: Messenger 8.5 works on Windows Server/Windows XP x64 + petition
The official Inside Windows Live Messenger blog hasn’t been updated in a number of months (feedback on the topics themselves could be another blog entry on their own), but we awoke to an interesting one today.
They’re going to start upgrade notifications for 8.5 to both users of Windows Live Messenger 8.1 and 8.5 beta. This on its own is normal and expected as the upgrade notification is usually not given until 3 to 6 months after the release. The difference this time is the fine print.
"A special note for those of you running Messenger 8.5 Beta on Windows XP 64-bit or Windows 2003 Server: the final version of Messenger 8.5 will not install or run on your OS. We don’t want you to get stuck out in the cold so you will not receive the mandatory upgrade to the final version. However, these operating systems won’t be supported by future Messenger versions. You may stay on your current beta version, or to get to a more stable final version we recommend that you uninstall Messenger 8.5 and go back to Messenger 8.1. "
This is incorrect and a lie as Messenger is fine on these versions of Windows. It is well known that the only problem with these versions is with the new Live Installer and not the actual software itself. Many users have been using 8.5 betas and finals on all the abovementioned Windows versions since their release without any issue. Including yours truly.
How did we install it? Some users either used another Windows version to extract the downloaded Live Installer MSI files or just downloaded it from me. In fact, my version has been downloaded a total of 3250 times. Note that the count may include users of the standard Windows versions too as the Live Installer regularly fails triumphantly and I use the MSI directly as a simple quick workaround to those problems.
Messenger has generally been offered in two places. The first place on the Messenger site itself, and secondly on the Microsoft Download Center. The latter being great as you can bypass all the operating system and locale detection and download exactly the version you want. Although 8.5 did eventually show up (unfortunately as "2008" which confuses people even further), it is not the actual installation but just the Windows Live installer/downloader which doesn’t allow "unsupported" versions of Windows to use it:
Let’s not forget that 8.1 was a terrible release from a connectivity standpoint (not limited to these "non-supported" operating systems either) and on the newsgroup I make a point to upgrade people when they’re having issues. It was not a good release from a user experience standpoint and I’m not quite sure why they would want to push anyone to that particular version.
In the past, most of these Windows versions haven’t been "supported" (supported meaning the Microsoft definition which just means they don’t "officially" support it and if something goes bad they won’t help you) by Messenger but they installed anyway. A large majority of software that Microsoft ships is marked by supporting just Windows XP or Vista yet works just fine on Windows Server 2003, XP 64-bit and Windows Server 2008. Microsoft, your Server users know this, so why change this now? If you can’t fully test or support it on Windows Server that’s okay, but that’s no need to claim it’s unstable on your supposedly most reliable versions of Windows. Never mind that they’re claiming that future versions of Messenger won’t work either. Does this mean that future versions of Messenger won’t work on Windows XP too?
I petition Microsoft and the Messenger team to remove incorrect claims that Messenger 8.5 "does not run" and is "unstable" on Windows XP x64 and Windows Server versions, return the actual MSI installation file to the Microsoft Download Center and at least consider allowing feature versions to work on aforementioned operating systems.
UPDATE 2/28: Still no word from the Messenger team…