Windows Live Installs More than it Tells You

Beware installing Windows Live Writer Beta 3” – warns Tom Raftery. He finds Microsoft’s default of swithching to Live Search and installing a bundle of software outrageous.

If only he knew that if gets a lot worse! Default are an annoyance, I kind of expect them – I consider all install programs booby-trapped, and actively look for what I have to “disarm”. But this time Microsoft crossed the line, going back to the old practice of installing software without even asking, what’s more without even telling the user anything about it.

If you look at my install choices, you can see I unchecked all selectable options:

The above were all selected as deafult, which is what ticked Tom off.

Again, unselected everything above, and I can clearly see the four programs to be installed (or so I think).

Now, let’s look at my Windows taskbar after the installation:

The red arrow points to.. none other but Windows Desktop Search, a program I did not select, was never listed, yet Live Installed sneaked it onto my computer. I clearly have not had it before, and don’t need it, since – as you can see – I already have Copernic Desktop Search installed.

Frankly, I was so shocked, I started to question myself… simply because in 2007 such agressive behavior is unthinkable, so I wondered if in fact there was a screen where I could have unselected it. To double-check, I went ahead and repeated the process on another PC – same results.

Apparently Microsoft doesn’t learn – they are just as agressive and ignorant as they were in the 90’s. The only difference is that now we have non-Microsoft alternatives.

Update: This could be a coincidence, but Firefox disappeared from my Quick Launch bar. IE7 is still there.

Update (10/18): Wow, Microsoft does listen, after all:

Windows Live Photo Gallery no longer requires WDS (Windows Desktop Search) to be installed on XP! Again, we heard the grumblings loud and clear, and took action! Once you have installed the update via Microsoft Update and have build 1299.1010 install you can uninstall WDS if you’re not using it with any other programs.


  1. You selected Photo Gallery to be installed, and Windows Desktop Search (an additional download in XP whereas it’s built into Vista) is required for it to work. If you had not selected Photo Gallery, then I don’t think it would have been installed.

  2. I figured that (after the fact), nevertheless it’s far from obvious, and definitely something users should be warned about.

  3. After how many of these incidents, the only mystery to me is why you still persist in using their software…

  4. Praying it is ‘a coincidence’ is wishful thinking. I can’t tell you how many times Microsoft products have made themselves the default selection without permission, examples of Microsoft’s brazen aggressiveness even more egregious than these.
    I’ve had programs such as Paint, Windows Player, others, become disabled when changing my default choices from Microsoft.

    At least Google pretends being benign by claiming ‘to do no evil’. It would be
    laughable Microsoft ever adopting some similarly idealistic corporate mantra,
    the very notion a complete and utter anathema to the sinister mindset pervading Microsoft. They revel in their corporate persona as the vicious, acid-blooded
    Alien of the corporate world and nothing, not, morality, civility, decency,
    privacy, is going to get in their way.

  5. Mike, I try to avoid it as much as I can. Tried this one, but it did not survive – already uninstalled.

  6. Have yo contacted the Live Writer team directly about this? They should be let know that their is ambiguity as to what is being installed, especially while this is in beta so that it is not there in release code. I know I personally hate it that on a number of downloads for other company products they try to sneak in un-asked for installs like the Google Toolbar, Adobe Updater, iTunes, etc. under the default settings. Gets me upset when others do it and if Microsoft is doing something similar under an install I can certainly understand you being upset and think you should let them know directly while the piece is only beta. Part of trying out beta is feedback as to issues and this is clearly and issue that should be noted.

  7. Michael, it’s not really a Writer issue, as it turns out, Photo Gallery needs Desktop Search. Whether it’s good design decision or not, doesn’t matter; users should be made aware.

    If this is a fundamental architecture issue, it won’t change just because users (including yours truly) complain. But the disclosure may change. Btw, I know I have quite a few Microsoft readers 🙂

    My personal solution: uninstall everything (Control Panel allows to do it one by one) except the one really good product, which is Writer.

  8. Microsoft Updates Windows Without Users’ Consent
    Microsoft has begun patching files on Windows XP and Vista without users’ knowledge, even when the users have turned off auto-updates.
    Let’s hope this catches on.

  9. Cindy Wakfer says

    I am trying to uninstall Windows Live Photo Gallery from my computer, how do I do that?? I have tried using the remove programs but it keeps coming up saying there was a fatal error when installing and it will not let the program be uninstalled. It is a pain as updates keep coming up and I don’t want to download them. So if anyone knows could you please let me know.


  1. […] you use Windows XP and have installed Office 2007 or Windows Live Photo gallery, then you may have already encountered Microsoft products installing a new search tool (Windows […]

  2. […] The product revision in question is Windows Desktop Search 3.01 (WDS), which Microsoft had been pushing out with Windows Live automatically. Some users charge that it seems as if the new version is being […]

  3. […] The product revision in question is Windows Desktop Search 3.01 (WDS), which Microsoft had been pushing out with Windows Live automatically. Some users charge that it seems as if the new version is being […]

  4. […] нескольких сайтов и форумов сообщили (например, что программное обеспечение Windows Desktop Search также […]

  5. […] by definition, you are not concerned about privacy.  It’s something else altogether when Microsoft does it.  I really like Live Writer.  I have bashed a lot of people, some of them my friends, for […]

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