Use Messenger Reviver to bypass the Windows Live Messenger 2009 forced upgrade

UPDATE (4/23/2013): Use Messenger Reviver 2 instead to bypass the forced upgrade to Skype.

Microsoft today started forcing upgrades to Windows Live Messenger 2011 on Windows 7.  Unfortunately the 2011 version drops several key features, adds several annoying features, and is not that impressive of an upgrade.  Certainly many just prefer to use Live Messenger 2009 and now you can (again).

You will receive one of the following messages if you’re being forced to upgrade:
A newer version is available.  You must install the newer version in order to continue.  Would you like to do this now?
A newer version has been downloaded and is available.  You must install this newer version in order to continue.  Would you like to do this now?


To bypass the forced upgrade for Windows Live Messenger 2009, download my Messenger Reviver utility below, open the MessengerReviver.exe file contained within the zip file and click Start.  Messenger should automatically exit and then restart normally.  You should then be allowed to sign in again.


Download Messenger Reviver

Replaced by Messenger Reviver 2

Note that Messenger Reviver requires administrative rights and you will be prompted to authorize if you have UAC engaged.

Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 (any edition of these)
.NET Framework 2.0 or higher (already included with Windows Vista and Windows 7)
Windows Live Messenger 2009 14.0.8089.726 or 14.0.8117.416

Frequently asked questions
Does it work with other modifications to Messenger?
Yes, Messenger Reviver will not remove any changes you’ve made to Messenger. However, if you use such a tool later, you may need to re-run the reviver afterwards.

I am receiving a “Updating Messenger failed” message, how can I fix this?
Although Reviver does several checks and offers solutions to some obvious problems, if Messenger has been heavily modified by other tools, it may not be possible to apply Messenger Reviver.  Instead, you may need to repair your Messenger files.  Assuming you are using the last version of Messenger 2009, click Start, then Run, enter the following and click OK:
msiexec /fa {B57EAFF2-D6EE-4C6C-9175-ED9F17BFC1BC}

After the Windows Installer completes its work, try using Messenger Reviver again.

A different solution
If you encounter additional problems or don’t like the idea of someone else tweaking with Messenger, another solution to getting signed in again is setting the Windows Live Messenger shortcut into Windows XP compatibility mode.  To do this, locate the Windows Live Messenger shortcut on the start menu, right-click the shortcut, choose Properties, then choose the Compatibility tab, choose Windows XP (Service Pack 3) and then click OK.  If Messenger is already running, restart it and you should now be able to sign in.  Unfortunately by using this compatibility solution, Messenger will change its behaviour as it would operate under Windows XP (for example, a notification area icon with status instead of in the taskbar, and so on).  Additionally, some features in Messenger may not work properly since it assumes you’re on Windows XP (for example, Remote Assistance).  Messenger Reviver does not have these limitations and I don’t personally recommend using the compatibility technique if you don’t have to.

Version history
06/19/2012 First release of Messenger Reviver (this is version 1.2 as it is based on the original Link Reviver code)


Posted on June 20, 2012, in Messenger, Messenger Tools, Tools. Bookmark the permalink. 246 Comments.

  1. Thanks a lot, this seriously made my day. Msn 2011 sucks…

  2. 🙂 And now it works, messenger starts automatically after reboot. All works now like it’s supposed to. Life is now meaningless.

  3. This is great !! hurray 🙂

  4. Thanks, I love you! WLM2k11/12 are two real nasty pieces of jokes.

  5. i have only just found this most useful ‘anti-hostage taker’ for messenger. unfortunately, it is too late for me as i was forced to run the updated version of messenger installer. apart from a complete removal of the 2011 version and reinstall of the older (in my view, much better) 2009 version, is there any other way of getting it back?

    • Greetings Kev. Basically you’ve described the general process you have to go through (uninstall of 2011, install 2009) but if it was more recently, another option would be to use System Restore in Windows to restore back to when you had 2009 installed. Given how long ago it was forced on people, I doubt that’s an option though.

      If you’re having difficulty uninstalling 2011, I have a tool in beta that should be able to help you out if needed. If you’re hesitating because of how poor the installer for 2011 was, the uninstaller actually is slightly better (at least performance wise).

      Also, here’s a link to the 2009 installer. Finally, you can use the installers here to do a manual installation, but 2011 still has to be removed first sadly.

      • many tnx for reply, Jonathan. i guessed that would be the option. i think i read where there is to be a ‘phasing out’ of live messenger. is that correct or am i thinking of something totally different? the point being that if that is the case, maybe wait until i am informed that i must update to something else, then perform the uninstall/reinstall. having done it before, i know getting rid of a version is a real pain. what you think? am on win7, by the way

        • Anything related to “phasing out” of Live Messenger is rumour and speculation, there’s been no announcements or any indication one way or another that I’ve seen. However, one thing to keep in mind is that Live Messenger (and the advertising therein) is the only revenue stream to pay for the Messenger service. So I don’t really expect them to cut off their income, especially since they just released Live Messenger 2012.

          However, I think there’s a real possibility that Windows Messenger (this is the client that originally came with Windows XP) will soon be prevented from signing in sometime soon, but that’s about it for the short term. There really is nothing for you to wait for that I can think of right now.

          • tnx for further response. will have to give things a try then. can i just chk i have the procedeure correct?
            uninstall the 2011 version completely. install the 2009 version, or rather the parts i want to use. connect to the internet. open and sign into messenger to let the upgrade message appear. leave messenger and the upgrade message on screen. open and run your exe. all good to go again afterwards. anything i have missed or done wrong?

            • That would work fine, but you’ve actually made it a tad more complicated than it has to be. After you install the 2009 product(s), just run Messenger Reviver immediately and then you’re good to go to sign in. You do not need to connect to the internet, sign in, and get the upgrade notice first.

              Beyond having 2009 installed, there’s no special process required to use Reviver besides just using it. Just give it a shot, you’ll do fine 🙂

            • tnx Jonathan. that’s me all over. never make things easy, haha. appreciate the help.

  6. Just downloaded the windows live essentials 2012 and messenger reviver and that tells I dont have messenger 2009… ofc I dont have, cause I cant download it anywhere! Essentials downloaded almost an hour :O dont want to do it again with “messenger 2009″(which could become essentials too on my windows7)

    • Well you don’t need Reviver if you’re using 2012 – you can just use Messenger “as is”. But if your goal is to use 2009, you will have to uninstall 2012, then download and install 2009 (download link).

      On the plus side, the 2009 installer is significantly faster than the 2012 one.

      If you’re thinking of something else, just reply back with what your goal is and I’ll be happy to try assisting you into getting the configuration you’re looking for.

  7. Thank you! I’m glad I found your information. I had updated my Windows Live/Messenger, and lost my e-mail notifications; I just heard the sound but lost the pop-up box with the sender. Very good!

  8. Greetings from Australia! Thank you so much for the work you’ve done in keeping 2009 alive! Quick question though, have you looked into the handwrite/ink part of 09? I’m bit of a creative individual and really enjoy drawing things to my friends (one of the reasons I’m reluctant to ever use 2012 with the removel of ink).

    In 2009, I think if the drawing is too complex then it will not send and give back the “the following message could not…” message and as someone who uses a tablet my drawings naturally become “complex” with the smoothed edges and pen pressure. I went back to try on 7.5 and it worked perfectly fine no matter how detailed my drawing was, this problem only ever occurs on 2009.

    Thank you again =)

    • Greetings Desmond. I too find ink incredibly useful for quick diagrams and similar functions.

      To be honest, I think you just got lucky in prior versions. I had the same “complexity” problem back then. Also in the past versions you had the additional problem after using inking, eventually after a day or so, you would be unable to send any messages (text or ink) without restarting Messenger – happily this bug was finally fixed in 2009.

      With Messenger now officially on life support, best be to attempt to focus our energy on getting inking into Skype (although they never listen anyway).

  9. And now they’re going to sink messenger. From then on my only connection to outer world will be la-radio. Thanks again, microsoft.

    • typical big company, including Microsoft. as soon as something is working, people are happy with how it works, do their best to mess it up by forcing untested and unpredictable upgrades on to customers and even, as in this case, remove the option of using the software altogether. hope they dont stop it’s availability, even if they stop supporting it. if they force the Skype option, i can see a lot of disgruntled customers moving on. since Microsoft took over Skype, it hasn’t been the same anyway.

      • Hey kev. I would guess that since Messenger is tied to the rest of the Live Essentials, that it will at least still be available – unless they start to repackage the older Essentials with Skype. That seems fairly unlikely given Microsoft past record, although if they were to decide to drop Essentials XP support completely, they could just disappear.

        I, for one, am not that pleased with Skype 6.0 (but that’s another post).

        • hi Jonathan. i know we cant do much about it. Microsoft will do as they always do, what suits them. it just seems such a dumb move, considering the number of people that are using Hotmail, for example, with live. i never was/have been a fan of outlook, so would go a completely different route. i guess loads will do the same. losing such a large number of customers doesn’t seem to be a very good business strategy to me, even for free software

    • Hey Simon. The thing about instant messaging is that you generally end up with your contacts do. For example, in the late 90s, ICQ was king, then AIM, and then finally Messenger.

      Hopefully we can keep Messenger working…

      • Nope. Quick messaging will be over for me. I never liked skype nor I ever will. So I’ll lose all my contacts with foreign friends. Maybe that’s for the best.

  10. u r my hero. 🙂 thanx sooo much!

  11. Hi….what happens if you already have upgraded to that new fricking annoying windows live messenger? do I uninstall windows live essentials 2011 and then download this messenger reviver? when I upgraded to the new one it took over my SaskTel email and it works like a piece of shit and it is driving me nuts. I want my email back to the way it was before yet I don’t want to lose my msn because my hubby and I talk on it all the time to our kids and friends.

    • Greetings Gwen. The process is uninstallation of Live Essentials 2011, installation of Live Essentials 2009 and then use the Reviver.

      Here’s a link for the 2009 installer.

      • and then to download the reviver do I just click on the start of the square river box above or do you have a link for that too?

        • oh yah and will I half to add all my contacts again or will they still be there?

        • Here’s a direct link. I know it can be confusing with some of the ads they put on here.

          • should I or will I have to create a new Hotmail address and password and just leave it alone? I am kind of a chicken shit to do this encase I screw it up and I am not real computer smart…

            • that was suppose to be or just leave it alone.

            • Don’t worry, all you need to do is sign in on the account you’ve always used. Everything stays the same except you’ll be using the older version of the software.

              To boost your confidence I’ll give you some more detailed instructions – just head over to Programs and Features in the Control Panel, choose Windows Live Essentials (or Windows Essentials 2012 if you have the even newer version), then choose Uninstall/Change. A window will pop up asking what you want to do, choose Remove one or more Windows Essentials programs. Check all the boxes to remove all the applications, then choose Uninstall. After that’s completed, you can then go ahead and install Live Essentials 2009, you can choose to install all the programs or just Messenger. Once that installation is done, Messenger will come up. If it automatically signs you in, it might ask you to upgrade, say no/cancel if asked.

              Then download and run the Reviver, Messenger will start again automatically and you should be able to sign in as you always have.

              I promise I will do my best to help you fix any problems if you truly break it 🙂

  12. oh o know how to uninstall….lol….thanks for all your help and trust me if I screw up I will be back to pick your brain….ha ha.

  13. Excellent program. WLM have now sent an update reminder for a newer version ( 2013). Will this program work with that ?

  14. Well this afternoon I got the dreaded ‘toast’ and “A new version of…blah blah…” No amount of ‘reviving’ removes the pop-up or the drop-down in the main messenger window upon login. I’m on the right version for MessengerReviver but I think MS are trying to force people over to Skype (never going to happen!). I know about you all, but I don’t want all my contacts for everything all in one place under one login! I have separate groups of people I contact, some under my real name and email, some under an anonymous one (useful for staying in touch with people I know on forums etc but with whom I don’t wish to share my ‘real-life’ details.

    Messenger 2009 is perfect as it is but if it’s going to keep pestering me all the time to do something I don’t want to do then I’ll abandon it completely and find another messaging solution (Trillian seems to be a suitable alternative for the time being, although I prefer the simplicity of a stripped-down 2009…).

    Is there any way that Reviver will be able to nuke the current tranche of annoyances from MS?

    • I’ve actually been spending some time in these last few weeks doing some testing to see what will and won’t work for March. Funny enough, I’ve actually not seen this latest notification as I’ve already bypassed it. Also, a friend of mine reported the notification to me a few days ago, I did a quick modify of his Messenger and the notification was stopped. So I feel pretty confident so far.

      My next step is to modify Reviver for with my new changes, but I admit I have a few new problems to contend with, so that may not be for several weeks. If the message is really annoying to you, I’d be happy to quickly modify your Messenger executable to remove it (or send you a modified one, assuming you don’t do any other patches to it) – just let me know.

      • what microsoft are up to atm is pretty poor, really. there is the enforced update to Outlook (even if just the gui?, but options missing that were/are available in Hotmail) and the enforced update to Skype. i have read of loads of people with problems since the upgrade. i did try the Outlook upgrade, hated it and had to image my machine back because of the problms caused when trying to revert back to Hotmail (even though the option was available from Microsoft. it seems to me to be a typical situation whereby microsoft are forcing through updates without testing the various bad scenarios that can occur, just as often happens with windows updates (correct 1 thing, screw up 10 others in the process!) i personally rarely use the video or sound communication optins in messenger, but they are handy to have available. i would prefer to keep things as they are but….. the last thing i want to happen, as has done for a lot of peole, is to lose saved messages and contacts etc. on top of which, i read that Skype is good for the phone call side, but crap for the messengger and mail side. any comments?

  15. just thought i’d give a little feedback on my Skype upgrade experience.
    this morning i decided to take the plunge and go for the upgrade to Skype, more than anything, to see how painless the process was. WOW! what a big mistake! what an absolute nightmare it proved to be! i started by downloading Skype from their website, having been taken there by the ‘upgrade’ option that appeared on the desktop when i opened hotmail. after downloading and installing, i had a choice of merging my skype account or opening a new one (or similar options). as i have not had Skype before, i choice the ‘non-merge’ option. perhaps that is where i went wrong because after it had finished doing whatever it wanted to, Skype opened and VOILA! 90% of my contacts were missing as was every email i had in hotmail. the only option i could find to ‘import contacts’ was a joke. you only are able to do this with a facebook account or from other clients i have never even heard of! i flapped around on the forum and in the support pages but that was as big a joke as the upgrade process. only replies for help seemed to be from other users, which i admire for doing that, but very little, if any, real answers from true support staff. i leaft some choice comments about and proceeded to try to reverse matters. that in itself didn’t go as planned either. after using Revo to uninstall Skype, i installed the old version of messenger, but it just didn’t appear anywhere. after uninstalling again, i went into my name, app data etc and deleted what files i could, then ran ‘zap messenger’. did a reinstall again, ran ‘messenger reviver’ (what a life saver, Jonathon! thank you so much!) and tried it. all working as before! all contacts back, all messages back! PHEW!!!!
    now i need to know if i can update my email address here from hotmail to gmail without problems. anyone know, please?

    • Sorry if this question has already been asked but does Messenger Reviver work for older versions of messenger?

      • Greetings Mike. Not yet. The next version will have broader support, although I admit I hadn’t thought too much about say, 2008 or similar versions.

        Any version in particular you’re looking for support?

        • just wanted to say tnx to you Jonathan, for the work you did in making the older version of messenger available to us for a longer period of time. with the onset of Microsoft basically forcing loyal customers over to Skype and Outlook (even though it’s ‘look’ only) i have spent considerable time moving everything/everyone away from messenger and hotmail. i dont know if you are going to continue your work or even if you will be able to, if so, best of luck to you. i have had enough of Microsoft’s attitude of ‘you will do what we say, so we can make more money, or lose your ability to use the apps, so have gone.

          • Well, I don’t blame you, I’ve heard similar comments from others and I understand completely.

            But it is pretty funny isn’t it? They give you no reason to trust them in future offerings by terminating and disrupting current services for little to no reason. I mean, we are talking about a company that owns one of the largest IT and datacentre resources on the planet, not to mention sizable revenues and advertising businesses and yet they kill off services at a whim.

  16. Well I have never upgraded to the horrible WLM 2011 version,I have stayed with WLM 2009 and then a few weeks dafter that Microsoft brought out WLM 2012 which an even worse version than 2011 version. Now they plan to replace WLM with Skype in March but I am not going to install that either.

  17. Hello there,

    I would like to ask a few questions about the Reviver. First off, I just tried to download it and use it to get rid of the “There is a new version of avaible for download” message every time I log in, however it did not work, Im still getting the message. Im using WLM 2009. Could it have anything to do with the fact that mine is in Swedish?

    Secondly, would this possibly per any chance also be able to force its way around the planned forced update to Skype? I am defenitely not going to switch over to that horror of a program myself, and it would be great to still be able to talk to my own friends.

    Great blog-post in whichever case though! Did you ever try Ressource Hacker? Ive been doing that for around 2-3 years to prevent previous forced updates and toastmessages about updating my 2009 to 2010 and 2011.

    • Greetings Atlas, That’s really weird as you shouldn’t even need the Reviver right now as Microsoft removed the forced 2009 upgrades and notifications, at least during my brief testing recently. The language version shouldn’t matter either. Note that I’m referring to the smaller rectangular notifications, not the huge graphical ‘you need to upgrade to Skype!’ ones – which should be removable but I’m not fully sure how they manage to make it appear as often as they do now. I have to admit I haven’t looked into it much.

      The plan for Reviver 2 is to be able to continue signing in after April 8th. I’ve built working code and I’ve been testing the modification for over a month now, but obviously we won’t know until then if it does the job. Fingers crossed.

      And yes, I’ve been using ResHacker for projects basically since the 90s. I think my primary introduction to resource editing was editing Winamp so I could change it’s UI to my linking (this is prior the introduction of skins into the software itself). Still using it today 🙂

      • Ah, I see. Well, Im both getting the popup window in the lower right corner, the one that looks just like a contact signing in, except it says something like “Download the new version of Messenger now!” as well as the little ‘bar’ of text which appears above your contact list. You can close it, but it appears every single time you sign into the client.

        I could also perhaps note that I am using Apatch to remove all ads and strange limitations Microsoft put in, as well as MSN Plus version 4.9 I believe.

        I’m really thankful for your work, especially at these times with Microsoft doing what they are doing and all. Thanks again!

      • Oh and by the way. Let me add that MSN is not trying to force me to upgrade. But the constant ly appearing messages is a bit of an annoyance, especialy since I have to manually click one of them away.

        • Yeah I hear you. Now that I’ve had some time to think I do recall a few people telling me this was happening shortly after they made the initial announcement they were shutting down the service but never saw it myself.

          In the past (prior to 2009 or so), it was fairly common for the Messenger servers to not necessarily be consistent in their configuration – that is for example, some would have version notifications and others wouldn’t and as your account would be assigned a specific server, there could be differences depending on what account you signed in under. I would hope they would have solved this disparity by now though… but just a thought.

          I’ll see if I can duplicate it some more later.

  18. I love you. 🙂 Thank you so much for this.

    I am a bit curious, though. What exactly is changed by Messenger Reviver?

    • Greetings Mango. You’re very welcome 🙂 I plan to do a follow-up with the more specifics in the near future, but it just modifies one of the Messenger files (which is different depending on version).
      No registry or Windows changes happening here, so it’s a pretty safe change.

      • Thanks for the fast reply.c:

        I was wondering more along the lines of which file, and what it changes in that file. But I can wait for the follow-up, if you’re going to explain it then.

        Thanks again, by the way!

  1. Pingback: Messenger Zwangs-Update umgehen

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