The Windows Live Messenger 2011 (MSN Messenger build version 15) has been released for quite some time. However, there are still many users, especially people who started to use since MSN Messenger, have been complaining, felt annoying and cannot get used or accustomed to some major feature changes, such as no more block list and unable to change display name (nickname).

As a result, many WLM (Windows Live Messenger) users have decided to stay at Windows Live Messenger 2009 (build version 14) by not upgrading to newer version. However, Microsoft has started to prompt Windows Vista and Windows 7 users running Windows Live Essentials 2009 to install and upgrade to Windows Live Essentials 2011 as a part of a recommend Windows Update.

Here’s a few workarounds, tricks and patches which allows users to continue using Windows Live Messenger (Essentials) 2009, and avoiding continuous reminders or notifications from Microsoft for the “free upgrade” offer.

Tip: Download Windows Live Essentials with Messenger 2009

Method 1: Hide the Windows Live Essentials 2011 entry in Windows Update

  1. Open Windows Update.
  2. Click Check for updates.
  3. Wait for a few seconds for Windows Update to populate the available updates. Once this information appears on screen, a new option will appear displaying total number of updates are available. Click this feature to proceed.
  4. Right-click the Windows Live Essentials 2011 update and select the Hide option.
  5. Windows Update will not prompt user to install the upgrade in future.

Hint: To revert and restore the hidden updates, just go back to Windows Update and click “Restore Hidden Updates”, then select the update you want to restore and press “Restore”.

Method 2: Change compatibility mode of msnmsgr.exe to Windows XP or earlier

Windows Live Essentials (and Messenger) 2009 is the last version that supports and available for Windows XP operating system. Hence, the upgrade is not available for Windows XP system. Thus, the hack is to let the Messenger client program to assume that it’s running on Windows XP or older operating system.

To do this, navigate and right click on msnmsgr.exe executable located in %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows Live\Messenger folder, and select Properties in the context menu. Go to Compatibility tab. Tick the check box for Run this program in compatibility mode for and set its compatibility mode to Windows XP (Service Pack 3) or Windows 2000.

Method 3: Manually modify the version number inside the executable with a resource editor

This method is not easy and tricky, and so not recommended for novice users. And it’s not foolproof for future newer versions such as Windows Live Essentials with Messenger 2012/2013/2014/2015 and so on that is going to be released.

For the technical savvy, follow the step-by-step guide:

  1. Download and install a resource editing program (Google).
  2. Run the resource editor.
  3. Open msnmsgr.exe executable located in %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows Live\Messenger folder.
  4. Navigate to Version Info -> 1 -> 1033 tree branch (normally on left pane).
  5. Modify the value of ProductVersion to 15.4.3502.0922 (or any newer version number when released).
  6. Compile the script.
  7. Save the file and quit the resource editing program.
  8. Windows Live Messenger will not display the update in future (until newer version that fresher than modified version number appear).