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Windows Live is the branding use for Microsoft's Hotmail, Messenger and other services. I'll review how to control how much Windows Live you get.

Is it still possible to have MSN messenger and Hotmail separate from Windows Live like it all used to be? (Windows Live interferes with everything.)

Yes and no.

And normally I'd say "But mostly ..." and then tell you yes or no. Unfortunately, I can't even say which applies more since you didn't indicate exactly how Windows Live interferes.

Microsoft rebranded several of their offerings under the "Windows Live" brand, and also ended up packaging several of the downloadable components into a single installer.

I'll look at what level of granularity you can get.

First off Windows Live Hotmail is simply a web site that you go to when you want to read your email. With your Hotmail account (which doubles as your "Windows Live ID") you can login and deal with your mail however you like without involving any other Windows Live components.

"If all you want is Hotmail, you do not need to install anything on your computer ..."

Things get messier when we start looking at some of the downloadable components under the Windows Live umbrella; most notably Windows Live Messenger, formerly known as MSN Messenger.

When you download Windows Live Messenger you're actually taken to a site to download "Windows Live Essentials". These so-called "essentials" include Windows Live:

  • Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger)
  • Mail (a replacement for Outlook Express)
  • Photo Gallery (photo organization and online sharing)
  • Toolbar (for Internet Explorer)
  • Writer (a utility to make blog posting easier)
  • Family Safety (parental control tools)
  • Microsoft Office Outlook Connector (use Outlook with your Hotmail account)
  • Microsoft Office Lice Add-in (connecting Word, Excel and PowerPoint to various features in Windows Live)

Naturally, by default the installer wants to give these all to you.

And, naturally, one solution is to be more picky about what actually gets installed.

When you fire up the Windows Live Essentials installer you'll be given a dialog like this:

Windows Live Essentials feature picker

Put very simply: uncheck everything you don't want.

If all you want it Windows Live Messenger, then uncheck everything but Messenger. You'll note that a few things will be installed with it - these are components that Messenger requires - but everything else will not be installed.

You can later change your mind and install additional Windows Live components, or remove Windows Live components, by returning to this dialog in the "Add/remove programs" or "Programs" sections of control panel: look for "Windows Live Essentials".

A couple of other observations:

If all you want is Hotmail, you do not need to install anything on your computer, and do not need to deal with Windows Live Essentials at all.

Your "Windows Live ID" is your login to all Windows Live services. Typically, it's your Hotmail email address and password. That same ID - namely that same email address and password - can be used with all the Windows Live services including Windows Live Messenger. Looking at it a different way, a different email address implies a completely different and separate Windows Live ID and thus a completely separate Hotmail and Messenger account.

At this point, it's my understanding that older versions pre-dating the Windows Live migration are not available, and will not work. If you want to use these services you must use Windows Live.

Hopefully, though, you'll now be able pick and choose which parts of Windows Live to install, if any.

Article C4327 - May 30, 2010 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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5 Comments
Steve
June 1, 2010 8:46 AM

Can you download Windows Mail for Win 7 32/64 by
going to Windows Live Essentials...???

I don;t want Windows Live Mail as my email client for pop'ping my Yahoo or Gmail account...but I do like the Windows Mail that was in Vista...
But now with Win 7...the folders for Windows Mail are there but you can't run Windows Mail...
Make sense???

John Needham
June 2, 2010 12:46 AM

You must be using the expensive YahooMail Plus. Otherwise you wouldn't be pop'n anything. Not from Yahoo, not legally anyway... And certainly not reliable in any case.

j

Joan
January 18, 2012 7:06 AM

I have Windows Live Messenger 2009 version on the bottom right hand side of my PC but when I open it and it shows me that I have some emails in my hotmail account, I click on that - then the Windows Live ID comes up and says I am signed into two places...I don't want the second Windows Live Messenger to come up but it doesn't seem to want to be deleted or de-linked cos there is nowhere to stop it. Please help. Going bonkers.

Maz
February 10, 2012 8:20 PM

I have 2 hotmail addresses, and I had it set up that the messages from one would be forwarded to the other. Now I noticed that I don't get the messages from the second address anymore. The first one has Windows Live. I cannot log into the second one as I forgot my password, and in order to log on I need the windows live id which I haven't got for that email address. Can I just uninstall windows live and then reset the password?? I am pretty fed up with the whole setup. Any help would be appreciated.

chris
January 21, 2013 8:43 AM

yes it is, start messenger, right click the messenger icon next to your clock, bottom right of screen, select email inbox. If this takes you to the windows live page, you will see a couple of links, one says go to inbox, one says options. click options and you have the option to either set it to go to the windows live page OR directly to inbox, select inbox, job done. hope this helps

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