Monthly Archives: November 2008

Solving Messenger install, reinstall and uninstall issues with ZapMessenger

For users of Windows Live Messenger 2011 and 2012:
Please note that ZapMessenger 1.0 is not compatible with Windows Live Messenger (or Essentials) 2011 or 2012.  No damage will result if you have tried to do use the utility, but due to a substantial change in how Messenger installs itself, ZapMessenger will not work.  An updated version is almost ready, but I am looking for testers who can directly report back on if it was successful in solving their problem.  If you’re interested in helping out, please leave a comment below!

A regular issue faced is the dreaded “Another version of the product is already installed”, “Your computer has a newer version of MSN Messenger than the one you are trying to install”, ““Your computer has a newer version of Windows Live Messenger than the one you are trying to install”, “The feature you are trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable” and similar messages.

Additionally, in some cases the installer can’t be found in the Control Panel’s Programs applet or has become damaged with a  Catastrophic failure (0x8000ffff) error or the Windows Installer is prompting for a missing .msi file which you can’t find anymore.

There are fixes for all these problems, but they’re complicated and can be frustrating to some people.

The fix
With all this in mind, I developed ZapMessenger – the one step tool to completely remove Windows Live Messenger, MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger 5.x.  The first thing ZapMessenger will do is attempt to cleanly uninstall Messenger normally and if that fails for any reason, it will forcibly remove Messenger from the Windows Installer engine allowing you to reinstall at your leisure without hindrance.

How to use
To use ZapMessenger, just download the zip and run the executable.  No installation is required.   Please note that the .NET Framework 2.0 or above is required, which you can install from Microsoft if you don’t already have it.  The Framework has been on Windows Update for quite some time and is included in Vista by default, so more than likely it is already installed.

Common questions
Will this remove any of my personal customizations – emoticons, display pictures, etc.?
No, currently ZapMessenger deals with the application itself – your personal data will remain and won’t be touched.  I am considering adding this an option to future releases for those looking to do a complete “clean” install.

I get a “.NET Framework Initialization Error” or “The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000135). Click on OK to terminate the application” when I run ZapMessenger
You’ll need to install at least the 2.0 .NET Framework on your machine.

Version history
11/19/2008 Initial release