Wrong forced upgrade for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP x64 users (solutions inside for os_check: 0x80280004)
Over the past day, if you’ve attempted to log into any version of Messenger on Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP x64, you will receive a notification to upgrade Messenger:
If you choose Yes, the latest installer of Windows Live Messenger will download and attempt to execute. You’ll then be presented with the following “Sorry, you cannot install the programs you’ve chosen on this operating system. Error: os_check: 0x80280004”:
You see this message because Windows Live products are not supported on these version of Windows (but will work anyway). This sort of thing isn’t new, Messenger has been blocked from installing on some Windows versions before.
There are two solutions you can take to solve this problem, depending on your preference. You can force your current version to keep working, or you can force the latest version to install. The choice is up to you.
Solution 1 – Forcing your current version to continue working
You can continue to use your current version of Messenger by setting it into Windows XP compatibility mode (yes, even on XP 64-bit). Since the instructions, paths, and shortcuts will change depending on which Messenger and Windows version you’re using, I’ve created a quick application you can run to make the necessary changes.
- Download msngrcompat.exe and run it
- Say Yes at the prompt make the changes
- Messenger will run a repair (this is normal and will only happen once) and then pop up
You can now sign in as per normal. You will not need to run the msngrcompat.exe again.
Solution 2 – Forcing the latest version of Windows Live Messenger 2009 to install
Although the latest version of Windows Live Messenger will claim not to install on your version of Windows, you can still install it. You’ll just need to download and run the following Microsoft Installer (MSI) files:
- Windows Live Messenger
- Windows Live Communications Platform
- Microsoft Visual Studio Runtime
- Microsoft Application Error Reporting (32-bit) or Microsoft Application Error Reporting (64-bit)
- Segoe UI Font
After this you’ll find Windows Live Messenger on the start menu.
For the other Windows Live products and some of the optional components installed with Messenger, see my full blog entry on installing and uninstalling Windows Live 2009 QFE2 applications.
Messenger may be considered a consumer product, but these forced upgrades are completely unnecessary and detrimental to Messenger’s user base. Ignoring earlier issues, beginning earlier this year Windows NT4 was blocked from using its [former] supported Messenger client, but Windows 95 continues to work (on the same version). Sure, Microsoft may or may not be able to officially “support” Messenger on these platforms, but blocking the clients only causes users to seek options like the above, or to just use other clients – which won’t have the Microsoft advertising that Messenger depends on.