Installing Live Mesh on Windows Server 2008

Live Mesh logoYesterday, I was chatting with Eileen Brown and she asked if tried the Microsoft Live Mesh preview yet?

I didn’t think it was available outside the United States yet but it seems that it is… (in any case, there is a workaround) and within a few minutes I was logged on to a Live Desktop in three browsers on two computers – using IE8, Chrome (on a PC) and Safari (on a Mac). That’s all very well, but the beauty of Mesh is when I can share my data directly between computers, so I tried to install the Live Mesh client software but, unfortunately, it wouldn’t install on my Windows Server 2008 workstation (despite recognising it as Vista x64).

Just as when I installed Google Chrome a few days back, I found that I couldn’t install directly from the IE8 download prompt:

This installation is forbidden by system policy. Details about this problem can be found here.

Running the installer as administrator invoked UAC but it still failed, telling me that:

Installer encountered errors. Please verify your network settings and attempt to reinstall.

Then I found a blog post suggesting the use of the livemesh -force to skip version checking but it was still complaining about my network settings. I did wonder if the problem was that this computer also runs Hyper-V (so the network stack includes a virtual switch) but it seems that I need to completely turn off UAC for the installation (it’s back on again now) and that temporary elevation or TweakUAC are not enough.

Once I’d switched off UAC, rebooted, installed Live Mesh (with the -force switch), re-enabled UAC and rebooted once more, the Live Mesh was client was up and running (on Windows Server 2008). Life is Good.

Live Mesh preview with meshed folders on the desktop and the live desktop as well as the view of connected devices.

It’s early days yet, but my first impressions are that this is very cool. Think about the usability of Groove’s collaboration features – and then some. I have folder sharing, news (e.g. Mark has added this file in this folder), a live desktop and remote desktop capabilities but there is one question, now I have 5GB in Mesh, what do I do with my Skydrive? Can I have all this data in one place?

The other thing I’ve noticed is that upwards syncing over ADSL is slow but once I have some more devices on the local network with the Live Mesh client installed, it should sync up directly (at least, I think that’s what happens). The Windows Mobile client should be here soon but I’m really waiting for the Macintosh client, after which I can really start to get stuck in to what Mesh could do for me to make sure that everything I’m working on currently is available to me, regardless of the device I’m using at the time.

3 thoughts on “Installing Live Mesh on Windows Server 2008

  1. If you follow the more information link in the error message, then you discover that LiveMesh does not install because the DisableMSI policy key is missing by default on W2K8.

    To get this to work without disabling UAC or rebooting, just add the DisableMSI key described at with a value of 0. Next, run the livemesh installer with the -force option.

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