Deploying Windows Live Essentials 2011

On Thursday, Microsoft release ‘Wave 4’ of Windows Live Essentials, otherwise known as the 2011 version. Though primarily aimed at home users, there are a couple of applications that are great for schools, particularly Windows Live Movie Maker. There are a couple of gotcha’s: first, only Vista and Windows 7 are supported in the latest version, and a lot of schools are either too scared or too poor to upgrade from XP. Secondly, it’s not the easiest bundle of application to deploy over the network.

This is a technical article which is light on judgemental ranting, so try to keep up.

Inside the main .exe install package are literally dozens of individual .msi installers, plus a couple of .exe and .msu installers, with a strict set of dependencies. Some of them also need calling with custom arguments. GPO Software Deployment is therefore a total pain in the backside.

With the previous version, I used App-V to virtualise the applications I wanted, but I had no such luck this time. The first problem I hit was that the install would simply fail while the App-V Sequencer was running even though it installed fine on the same machine without the sequencer running:

This turned out to be because a required service (Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant) couldn’t be started up during the installation. A similar problem exists for Office 2010 when virtualising with App-V. Once I’d worked around that, there was a bigger problem in store. Windows Live Essentials doesn’t allow you to install to anywhere other than the default location (%ProgramFiles%\Windows Live), presumably because the Windows Live team have control issues and want it installed where THEY SAY SO.

Unfortunately, App-V requires programs to be installed to it’s own Q: drive for supported configurations, and last time around I’d fudged it using a very unsupported method. It seemed OK at the time, but it came back to haunt me when it was time to upgrade to the newest version. Clients quickly stopped picking up either version of the virtualised Essentials programs, and sounded the death knell for my App-V plan.

Deploying using System Center

Time for Plan B – deploying using System Center Essentials (or System Center Configuration Manager). This basically means working out how to call the main .exe installer with command lines variables to silently automate the install. Here’s how to do it:

First you’ll want to download the full installer, rather than the web version, to avoid each client having to download the setup files individually. You can find links to the correct version for various languages on the Windows Live Solution Center.

Once you’ve got the (quite large) wlsetup-all.exe downloaded, you should refer to posts #15 and #16 of this thread on AppDeploy. That pretty much explains the switches you need to call for a silent install with particular applications selected (because you probably don’t want to install Messenger to all the computers the kids use, or let your 1,000+ users cripple your school’s Internet bandwidth by syncing with Live Mesh). This was the command line I ended up using:

wlsetup-all.exe /q /NoLaunch /NoToolbarCEIP /NoHomepage /NoSearch /AppSelect:Writer,MovieMaker

You might be forgiven for thinking that the /No arguments are only necessary if you’re installing the Bing toolbar (and I’m not that crazy), but I found that after my first reboot without them, I was prompted to make these choices manually. You can find the full list of values needed to select individual applications on the aforementioned AppDeploy thread.

Uninstall (if you need to automate it) is trickier. There is no master uninstall program, so you need to call the uninstall for each component in turn. You can find them by searching through the registry for “Live” under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall key. Check the Uninstall value for each key you find. For the .msi installers, you’ll find something like:

MsiExec.exe /I{1B8ABA62-74F0-47ED-B18C-A43128E591B8}

To change that to a silent uninstall, change the /I to /X and then add /qn to the end, like so:

MsiExec.exe /X{1B8ABA62-74F0-47ED-B18C-A43128E591B8} /qn

Luckily, in normal circumstances, you won’t actually need to do a full uninstall, as when the next version comes around it should install perfectly happily over the top (famous last words).

User preferences

There are a couple of things I wanted to tweak for my users to provide the most seamless experience for them, which involved adding some values to their personal registry settings. I did this with Group Policy Preferences, but you can do it using login scripts too if that’s the way you roll.

Suppress the EULA

Microsoft probably won’t like me doing it, but I do not want my users to have to agree to a licence the first time they use the software. I’m installing it, and I’m accepting the licence on behalf of the organisation. To stop them seeing it, add the following:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Common

Skip prompting the user to sign in to their Live account in Photo Gallery

It’s not a required step, so in my book it’s not required at startup. Add this to get rid of  it:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Photo Gallery

Don’t ask the user to change file associations for picture and photo file types

I’d rather they left their file associations alone so I don’t get calls about how to change it back later. Add this to prevent them being prompted:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Photo Gallery\Library

(This value is a single REG_MULTI_SZ entry, not separate registry entries for each file type.)

If you have registry tips for other parts of the Essentials package, leave them in the comments.

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About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

37 responses to “Deploying Windows Live Essentials 2011”

  1. ICT_Tech says :

    Nice guide there, need to keep that handy when we move to Windows 7 ;-)

  2. Gerard Sweeney says :

    Top post, Sir..

    Our local authority is one of the aforementioned too scared/poor parties, but I’ll keep this in mind for when we do make the move which should happen soon, I’m sure… Whine.

  3. Bramvdp says :

    Thanks for the info. Wanting to deploy the new moviemaker as well :)

  4. budchawla says :

    Excellent walkthrough – worked flawlessly using SCE2010. Bravo!

  5. Brecht Monkerhey says :

    excellent, prevented me loads of angry fist shaking with the No – switches.

  6. Frustrated says :

    Any chance you were successful in sequencing the RTM version of Windows Live Essentials 2011? I have tried several times and the sequencing is OK, but the apps crash when trying to run on a different App-V client computer.


    • AngryTechnician says :

      No – as detailed above, I ran into several issues, one of which sounds like the one you’re describing. I thought it was down to interference with the previous version that I has sequenced, but now it sounds like a wider issue between WLE and App-V in general.

  7. Andy King says :

    Hey, excellent guide, and I appreciate it greatly.

    My only issue is in the settings to stop the Accept prompt, etc…

    I can’t seem to get them to work, even applying the reg settings manually in testing, it always prompts the user to accept the first time run, and if run by a non-admin, it requires UAC.

    Oddly enough, if the user clicks Accept, and then cancels the elevation prompt, it opens fine.

    Any thoughts on the situation would be great.

    Thanks again, love the blog.

    • AngryTechnician says :

      My suggestion would be to use Process Monitor to find out what’s getting changed during that prompt, and pre-populate it. It’s not impossible that the installer has changed slightly since I deployed it.

  8. efe says :

    thanks man i was so fcking angry with microsoft have 60 clients and couldnt find standalone version

  9. X3 says :


    I am seriously against 200% WLE 2011.

    1) Live messenger will and does break all your contacts ability to see you online, some contacts you will never be able to re add or fix in a way that it works you can message them and they message you and messages are somewhere lost in limbo without ever reaching either side.

    2) downgrading doest fix this, only clean reinstall and even then once you’ve upgraded your still stuffed.

    3) Whoever designed the UI for the new picture drop to share with via msn screws up your window chat size to such extent your forever adjusting the 50 pixels wide chat you end up with and its constant adjusting.

    4) Live email, great interface, however emailing someone on contact list errors out, need to actually type email by hadn or copy and paste email because e.g. judith_Garner will never send email to the mail attached to that name e.g. works, typing name on TO field results is chaos.

    5) What was MS thinking when they released a product which I block from all computers on network so it never upgrades to 2011, oh ya I know its buggy its crap, lets release it and get everyone miffed maybe they give up and use another email and chat solution that works.

    3) Windows live

  10. Matt says :

    There is actually an uninstaller for all Windows Live Essentials, which can be run silently:

    C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Installer\wlarp.exe /quiet

    You can copy this exe onto your server, and specify it as the uninstaller.

  11. varnik says :

    The shortcuts can you find not in “Windows Live” but direct among other in upper part of “All programs”.

  12. n0ak95 says :

    this is what i do in my custom messenger install after i extract the live essentials installer with 7-zip

    @echo off
    TITLE Windows Live Messenger Lite 2011 Special Edition
    echo Installing:
    echo Microsoft Silverlight 4.0.60129.0..
    start /w silver.exe
    echo Installing:
    echo Windows Live White Messenger Lite 2011 15.4.3508.1109..
    start /w msiexec /i Contacts.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w msiexec /i d3dx10-x86.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w 8e854ac61cb64181b\DXSETUP.exe /Silent
    start /w msiexec /i pimt.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w msiexec /i UXPlatform.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w msiexec /i UXPlatformLang.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w msiexec /i WLXSuite.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w msiexec /i WLXSuiteLang.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w msiexec /i Messenger.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w msiexec /i MessengerLang.msi /quiet /norestart
    echo Updating:
    echo Messenger Core Components..
    start /w msiexec /update d-Contacts.msp /qn
    start /w msiexec /update d-Messenger.msp /qn
    start /w msiexec /update d-MessengerLang.msp /qn
    start /w msiexec /update d-UXPlatform.msp /qn
    start /w msiexec /update d-WLXSuite.msp /qn
    start /w msiexec /update d-WLXSuiteLang.msp /qn
    if not exist %windir%\sysWOW64\shell32.dll goto 32Bit
    if exist %windir%\sysWOW64\shell32.dll goto 64Bit
    echo Installing:
    echo 64bit Messenger Lite Components..
    start /w msiexec /i crt90_amd64.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w msiexec /i crt90.msi /quiet /norestart 
    start /w msiexec /i wllogin_wlx-x64.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w msiexec /i dw20sharedamd64.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w wusa.exe Windows6.1-KB2120976-x64.msu /quiet /norestart
    start /w wusa.exe Windows6.1-KB2300535-x64.msu /quiet /norestart
    echo Installing:
    echo Messenger Plus! 5.01.706..
    start /w plus.exe
    echo Replacing Icons and Organizing Shortcuts..
    DEL /F /Q "%programdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Windows Live Messenger.lnk"
    start /w micro.exe
    start /w start.exe
    echo Installing:
    echo A-Patch 1.43 build 13..
    start /w addon.exe
    start /w reg.bat
    echo Accepting EULA..
    regedit /s rad.reg
    echo done! have a nice day..
    goto end
    echo Installing:
    echo 32bit Messenger Lite Components..
    start /w msiexec /i crt90.msi /quiet /norestart 
    start /w msiexec /i wllogin_wlx-x86.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w msiexec /i dw20shared.msi /quiet /norestart
    start /w wusa.exe Windows6.1-KB2120976-x86.msu /quiet /norestart
    start /w wusa.exe Windows6.1-KB2300535-x86.msu /quiet /norestart
    echo Installing:
    echo Messenger Plus! 5.01.706..
    start /w plus.exe 
    echo Replacing Icons and Organizing Shortcuts..
    DEL /F /Q "%programdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Windows Live Messenger.lnk"
    start /w micro.exe
    start /w start.exe
    echo Installing:
    echo A-Patch 1.43 build 13..
    start /w addon.exe
    start /w reg.bat
    echo Accepting EULA..
    regedit /s rad.reg
    echo done! have a nice day..
    goto end
    @echo off
    reg.exe delete "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run" /v "msnmsgr" /f 2>NUL>NUL
    echo .....Done!

    and the tweaks i apply to messenger and messenger plus!

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Common]
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Yuna Software\Messenger Plus!\Windows Live Messenger\GlobalSettings]

    and this is the result:

    * Includes only Windows Live Messenger components requiered to run without any issues.
    * It won’t change your browser default homepage, install any toolbars, change the windows update settings or start the windows update service (if you have disabled it).
    * Includes A-Patch 1.43 build 13 Integrated in the Application with Multilogin Support, Advertisment Removed, Photo Sharing Disabled and Enabled Multiple File Transfer.
    * Includes Messenger Plus! 5.01.706.
    * The default Messenger Icon has been replaced.
    * The shorcut is organized in the Start Menu like the older version, you will find it in Windows Live folder.
    * Removed Silverlight installer and added Microsoft Silverlight 4.0.60129.0.
    * EULA Accepted.
    * Disabled show me as “Away” when I’M inactive for (x) minutes.
    * Don’t start Messenger when I log on to my computer.
    * Show the menu bar.
    * Don’t show me promotions associated with Messenger Plus!
    * Includes the lastest KB 2520039 update.

    I used ur tweaks and captured the rest of the tweaks with registry workshop but i couldnt get 2 tweaks Disable Show Expanded Footer in Conversation Windows and disable tabs in Tools -> Contacts -> More Settings – Show the tab bar, to disable adds cause adding to the host file in doesnt work too well, thanks i like ur blog!!

    • Kvad says :

      To disable the expanded footer



      But the key is random – 236045237

  13. doah78 says :

    Good website to find the latest wlsetup-all.exe file

  14. Jaska says :

    this is not working?
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Photo Gallery\Library

  15. David says :

    I just wanted to say thank you. You saved me a lot of time with this information.

  16. itskvad says :

    How are you updating to the latest wave via sccm ?

    Just do an install over the top with a new package?

  17. Søren Porse says :

    Thank you very much for this. By the way, if you’re only interested in Windows Live Messenger, it’s really easy to select just that component:

    wlsetup-all.exe /q /NoLaunch /NoToolbarCEIP /NoHomepage /NoSearch /AppSelect:Messenger

  18. FreeM says :

    To uninstall all stuff quietly through msiexec:

    MsiExec.exe /X{CAFA57E8-8927-4912-AFCF-B0AA3837E989} /qn
    MsiExec.exe /X{586509F0-350D-48B5-B763-9CC2F8D96C4C} /qn
    MsiExec.exe /X{8E5233E1-7495-44FB-8DEB-4BE906D59619} /qn
    MsiExec.exe /X{AED2DD42-9853-407E-A6BC-8A1D6B715909} /qn
    MsiExec.exe /X{850C7BD3-9F3F-46AD-9396-E7985B38C55E} /qn
    MsiExec.exe /X{A7496F46-78AE-4DB2-BCF5-95F210FA6F96} /qn
    MsiExec.exe /X{D2041A37-5FEC-49F0-AE5C-3F2FFDFAA4F4} /qn
    MsiExec.exe /X{22B775E7-6C42-4FC5-8E10-9A5E3257BD94} /qn
    MsiExec.exe /X{C4D738F7-996A-4C81-B8FA-C4E26D767E41} /qn
    MsiExec.exe /X{52B97218-98CB-4B8B-9283-D213C85E1AA4} /qn
    MsiExec.exe /X{3175E049-F9A9-4A3D-8F19-AC9FB04514D1} /qn
    MsiExec.exe /X{E0A4805D-280A-4DD7-9E74-3A5F85E302A1} /qn
    MsiExec.exe /X{205C6BDD-7B73-42DE-8505-9A093F35A238} /qn

    • Joseph Hume says :

      In my experience, using the GUID to uninstall a piece of software only works on the specific computer. Because of that I built a custom vbs array uninstaller that loops through the MSI display names and executes the .Uninstall silently. But beware, there is a component of the windows live that prompts a reboot in the middle of the uninstall.

  19. Paul says :

    I’m getting a popup to select setting for MSN home page and “help improve” and both are checked by default. I suspect this is because I did not use the /NoHomepage switch with the installer. I’m trying to snapshot out the reg key that changes when the popup is manually dismissed. Any suggestions?

    I’ll post back any conclusions I find.

  20. deKay says :

    Thanks for this. Just to let you know that (for just MovieMaker and Photo Gallery install at least) your guide also works for the new Windows Essentials 2012 with just one tweak.

    For the EULA registry key, change “15” to “16”:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Common

    FWIW, the switches I used to install it via System Centre Essentials 2010 were:

    /q /NOToolbarCEIP /NOhomepage /nolaunch /nosearch /NOMU /AppSelect:moviemaker

  21. vegardogkate says :

    Im trying to sequencing Messenger Live with App-v 4.6 SP1. The sequencing prosess goes fine with som minor tweaks. And im running the Messenger fine on a App-v Client for testing. But when im trying to login to Messenger, I get the message “we cant log you in, cannot connect to server”. Seems like som signin assistant problem. Is there any workarounds for solving this in a test envirment? Im so close! – Sequencing on Win7x64 and Testing on a Client running the same.

    • Cameron says :

      I ran into the same problem trying too virtuale MSN with VMWare Thinapp! If anyone has any ideas that would be greatly appreciated.

  22. Jason Jackson says :

    Have you deployed Windows Essentials 2012? It silently downloads updates and I haven’t found any way to disable it.

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