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 184.108.40.206 (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).
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="220.127.116.11,18.104.22.168/24"
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="22.214.171.124,126.96.36.199/24"
Then right-click in the Command Prompt area, choose Paste and press Enter.
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 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206/24 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”).