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.

  1. Download msngrcompat.exe and run it
  2. Say Yes at the prompt make the changes
  3. 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:

  1. Windows Live Messenger
  2. Windows Live Communications Platform
  3. Microsoft Visual Studio Runtime
  4. Microsoft Application Error Reporting (32-bit) or Microsoft Application Error Reporting (64-bit)
  5. 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.

Final notes
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.


Posted on August 26, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Jonathan, First, thank you for taking the time to help us XP x64 users with our Live Messenger issues. I followed the steps outlined in your blog, downloading and installing the files in the prescribed order. It has worked well, except ever since that day my computer has had issues going into and out of sleep mode. Because nothing else was changed in the computer configuration in the last few months, and the appearance of this new problem coincided with the installation of WLM 2009, I feel I am safe in assuming that is the cause of this new problem. Have you heard of any other users having a similar problem? Are you able to help me debug this issue? Thank you, Dana

  2. i tryd all them ideas an still gettin the same error code

  3. Had trouble installing Live Messenger tried your step 1 in solution 2 It worked !!!!!!!!!!! I now have messenger many thanks***

  4. it still doesn\’t work for the first option.

  5. Got an issue.. I remember a couple years ago using this fix “msngrcompat.exe” and was using v9 on XP-MCE with no problems…
    Now after a couple years and 3 re-installs of XP ( XP always gets messed up after about 7 months of use and many programs / utility’s etc installed ) i forgot how i was using v9 before. But then i found your web with google, and wa-la, this compat program was the process i used, and it worked before…

    So now… it doesn’t want to work anymore… i installed all the programs you said, ran compat program, my older v7 messenger opened, so uninstalled that, ran the compat program and the new v9 of messenger opens.

    BUT when i try to log in i still get the “forced upgrade notice” and if i say no, then it wont log me in.

    See screen cap for windows version and messenger open on desktop.

    HELP ( maybe an update to campat program is needed ?

    ( http://img560.imageshack.us/img560/1553/tempp.jpg )

  1. Pingback: Circumventing the latest forced upgrade for Messenger 2009 « Jonathan Kay, MessengerGeek

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