You know, sometimes I really don’t understand Microsoft’s decision-making process, especially on the Windows Live side of the house. The new Windows Live Wave 3 betas are out, and I went to install them today on my main laptop, which is running Windows Server 2008. But after downloading the installer, I was greeted with a message that said it could only be installed on Windows XP or Vista. Now, there is *zero* technical reason why it can’t be installed on Windows Server, as the bits are practically identical to Vista SP1. Yet, here is this pointless artificial roadblock in my path to trying out great software. Which really irritates me. It took the Live team forever just to support 64-bit, and now, once again, I have to wait.
But then I remembered ProcessMonitor from Sysinternals. I whipped out my other laptop, which is still running Vista, fired up ProcessMonitor, and started the installer from there. About 5 minutes into the process, I was able to see where the MSI files were being copied to, and 25 minutes later, I am writing this post from the new Windows Live Writer, on Windows Server 2008 x64. Here’s how you can do it.
- Install the Wave 3 beta on another machine: Unfortunately, I can’t work around this. You’ll first have to do just what I did, and fire up the process on another computer.
- Select the products you want, and wait until the process is over 50% complete. Don’t worry, the install will take plenty of time.
- Navigate to the “C:\Program Files(x86)\Common Files\Windows Live\” folder.
- Take control of the folder and its subfolders. Right click on the folder in Windows Explorer, select “Properties”, move to the “Security” Tab. Click “Edit”, and then add your user, giving it “Full Control” over the folder. Click OK, then click “Advanced”, click “Edit”, then check “Replace all existing inheritable permissions…” and click OK all the way out of those dialogs.
- Navigate to the “C:\Program Files(x86)\Common Files\Windows Live\.cache\” folder (the dot is not a typo). You will see a bunch of random-named folders. Zip up the entire directory (will be 30-100MB of data) and copy it to your other machines.
- Extract and install. Copy the files from the archive to a working folder. Then sort the window by date, with the newest folder on the bottom. Then, start with the first folder, running the single MSI file (or Windows Patch file) in each one, until you are done. Some will have Installer UI, most won’t.
- Enjoy some Wave 3 goodness.
An interesting tidbit, courtesy of ProcessMonitor: It takes 8.3 million file and registry operations to install the Windows Live suite (not including Movie Maker, I’m waiting for that to be more polished before I try it). That is a lot of operations.
Anyways, I’m going to hound my contacts on the Live team until they take out that installer flag. Have fun with the betas!