Saturday, August 8, 2009

How to retrieve all .MSI files from the Windows Live 2009 installer

In order to install Windows Live Messenger you must go through the process of running the web installer from http://download.live.com, check the Live components that you want to install, and then wait for the installation to complete while the installer downloads the actual .MSI files.
In some cases I need to install the same program on multiple PCs, or I need to re-install the app. Due to these reasons, I like to keep all programs stored on my file server. However, web installers are useless. I need the EXEs or MSIs. Good news is that the Windows Live web installer doesn’t delete the installation cache on the computer after installation, so the MSIs are retrievable! Here is how to find them:
Download Windows Live Installer from download.live.com.
Install or upgrade the Windows Live Messenger to latest version.
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, UAC may require you to take ownership and gain full control permissions for the folders below before able to access them.
Browse to \Program Files\Common Files\Windows Live\.cache\ folder.
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 so once launched, there is no GUI displaying that the MSI is installing the app.
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.