Microsoft has made Windows Live Messenger (WLM or previously known as MSN Messenger) as part of the product suite of Windows Live package, and no longer provide standalone individual setup installer for user to download and install just Windows Live Messenger itself. The story is the same for the latest public beta for Windows Live Wave 3, which includes Windows Live Messenger 2009.

As usual, user download the unified Windows Live Installer which contains installation files for all software programs inside the Windows Live products, such as Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Toolbar and etc. Most of the programs other than WLM is not needed, yet Microsoft forces user who wants to backup the installer or install WLM on not connected offline PC or distribute the program across corporate network to download the massive 100 MB plus integrated full installer, namely wlsetup-all.exe.

The worst part is that the wlsetup-all.exe, which has all the installation files, cannot be uncompressed, unpacked or extracted into separate .MSI installer for each individual software. While the web installer, wlsetup-web.exe does not have the .MSI packaged in as it will download the required .CAB off the Internet.

For those who insist on want to grab and retrieve a copy of individual stand-alone Windows Live Messenger 2009 setup installer, which can be used to install WLM anytime on any computer without waiting for downloading, use the following trick to get the “Messenger.msi” file.

  1. Download Windows Live Installer from
  2. Install or upgrade the Windows Live Messenger to latest version.
  3. Open Windows Explorer, and set it to Show hidden files and folders and show protected operating system files (uncheck the tick for Hide protected operating system files) in the View tab of Folder Options.

    In Windows Vista, run Windows Explorer as Administrator, and user may requires to take ownership and gain full control permissions for the folders below before able to access them.

  4. Browse to \Program Files\Common Files\Windows Live\.cache\ folder.
  5. There will be a lot of folders made up of 15 characters and numbers. Locate Messenger.msi file inside one of the folder. Messenger.msi is the individual separate standalone setup installer for Windows Live Messenger 2009, which can be backed up or copied to another location. Do note that the Messenger.msi and other Windows Installer Package retrieved this way is silent installer.

    Tip: %ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Windows Live\.cache\cache.ini file contains the paths of all Windows Live software products downloaded or installed on the computer.

  6. If you have any problem with Windows Live Messenger after installation using the standalone individual installer Messenger.msi, try to install the following 3 programs too, all of which in different sub-folders inside the .cache directory.

    Contacts.msi (Contacts)
    dw20shared.msi (DW 2.0 Client)
    crt.msi (Microsoft Visual Studio Runtime)

    Tip: Contacts.msi is a must to avoid or fix 8000FFFF error.

After grabbing the Windows Live Messenger standalone silent installer, optionally user can uninstall the Windows Live Suite (all programs) from Control Panel, and install Messenger.msi (and Contacts.msi too) again to get rid of all other Windows Live components except WLM9, saving time and bandwidth in future installation.

The trick also also work for all other Windows Live products such as Windows Live Sign-In Assistant (wllogin.msi), Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Mail ,Windows Live Toolbar, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Family Safety, Segoe UI Font, Windows Live Call and Microsoft Office Outlook Connector.