Phased Upgrade of Windows Live Messenger 8.x


Hello folks, been a while, ain’t it?

This post will be about Windows Live Messenger – WLM. Call me oldstyle, but I liked the lightness of WLM 8.1. Hadn’t even bothered moving to 8.5.

What do I see today? I cannot connect to WLM because of a forced phased phorsed upgrade instruction from Microsoft to correct a security flaw that had cropped up. Now, I’ve finally decided to upgrade to WLM 2009 and I’ll give you my first impressions.

I think Microsoft has gone haywire. I want to download WLM and what I get is a bloated package of 135MB something with tons of apps that I don’t want. What the hell is that strategy? I refused to comply and searched for a Standalone Installer. Softpedia came to the rescue. The installer there is just WLM in a 24MB package. Much better.

Update: Note you may also need to install other files to get the standalone working, most notably contacts.msi to solve a 80x error message. These, and some info, are available at this MyDigitalLife post.

The installation goes smoothly. Nothing to complain here.

There are some issues with the new WLM 2009 which I don’t particularly like:

  • It’s bloated! 8.1 used to take 15MBish of RAM. 2009 takes 36MB! It’s not terribly bad, but I still like my applications slim.
  • The interface is weird. I’ve been taught that the eye reads from left to right. What the display pictures are doing in the left instead of the right is beyond my understanding. I’d think that the chat text is more important than the display pictures. That’s not what MS thinks apparently. Good thing is, you can hide the display pics like before.
  • Whenever I open any menu, there’s a lag where my PC freezes for a bit. I don’t know if it’s just me, or for everyone else too.

The good points are:

  • Probably more secured.
  • More customizable, specially for the layout and contact list. E.g. The size of the display pictures can be changed in the list.
  • Reworked color schemes. The color frames around the display pictures indicating status is a good idea.
  • Generally more organized and pleasing to the eye.
  • The interface, despite some weird points, is better. Moving the emoticons and other icons down the conversation box and removal of the send button, etc… saves space.
  • You can now display “What you are listening” and your “personal message” at the same time.
  • You can sign in from multiple computers at the same time, and sign off them remotely.

Most things are already updated to work with WLM 2009, like for those of you who use MessengerPlus, it’s already up to date.

That’s about it. I’m not terribly satisfied with the WLM 2009. I liked the 8.1 interface best, but I am forced to use 2009. Let’s hope it’s as good as 8.1.

Your views on this, if you use WLM?

  • pff, forced to upgrade ๐Ÿ™

    I am downloading the standalone version, thanks for the link ๐Ÿ˜‰