Games for Windows - LIVE

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Games for Windows - LIVE
Games for Windows - LIVE logo.png
Developer(s) Microsoft
First release date May 29, 2007
Digital Distribution

Key points

Use the same Microsoft account and gamertag across other Xbox services.
Only available in Xbox Live Countries and Regions; players outside these areas must use a local profile.
Most games are region-locked on Steam, Latin America Users cannot view or purchase these games.
DRM: varies; see List of Games for Windows - LIVE games.
The Marketplace was closed on August 25, 2013 for new purchases; existing purchases can still be downloaded.[1]


Latest version ( can be downloaded here

Issues unresolved[edit]

If you still have any issues with GFWL, use XLiveLess

Issues fixed[edit]

Crashes, errors, impossible to log-in[edit]

Reinstall updated client[citation needed]
  1. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable.
  2. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows Marketplace.
  3. Install the Games for Windows Marketplace Client.

Backing up saves[edit]

Back up XLive folder[citation needed]
  1. Back up the game's normal save folder.
  2. Back up the XLive folder: %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\XLive
  3. Restore everything to the same locations.

Moving saves between gamertags[edit]

If you rename your gamertag or switch to a different one your existing saves won't be shown in-game.[2]
Move saves to new gamertag[3]
  1. Log into the game with your new gamertag and save the game to make the new folder, then exit the game.
  2. Go to the game's save folder, e.g. for Fallout 3 this is %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves\.
  3. Move everything from the old gamertag's folder to the new one, replacing all existing files.
  4. If it worked your saves will now show up in-game under the new gamertag.
Some games specifically block saves being moved between profiles so this may not work for all games.

Backing up installers[edit]

Installation files are normally deleted after installation is complete; you can back them up to avoid having to download them again.
Games reinstalled from backups will not show up as installed in the Marketplace client but will otherwise work normally.
You may also want to keep a copy of your game keys, accessible from the Marketplace client by going to the item and then choosing View Game Keys.
Backing up installers for games purchased through the Marketplace[citation needed]
  1. Download the game through the Marketplace client but do not install it yet.
  2. Go to the downloads folder, found in the following location by default:
    • Vista and later: %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\GFWLive\Downloads
    • Windows XP: %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\GFWLive\Downloads
  3. Copy the installation files somewhere else then install the game normally if you wish.
  4. To reinstall the game from your backup extract the CAB file(s) and run the MSI inside.
Backing up patch update installers[citation needed]
  1. Allow the game to download the update in-game when prompted.
  2. Cancel the UAC prompt or installer window when it appears.
  3. Go to the updates folder, found in the following location by default:
    • Vista and later: %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\XLive\Updates
    • Windows XP: %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\XLive\Updates
  4. Copy the installation files somewhere else then allow the game to retry the update installation if you wish.
  5. To reinstall the update from your backup extract the CAB file(s) and run the EXE (or MSI if there is no EXE).

problems[edit]

In-game interface does not open[edit]

Reinstall client[citation needed]
Make sure you logged in the desktop client at least once[citation needed]
  1. Open start menu/screen
  2. Type Games for Windows
  3. Open the client and log in there
Install the Sign-in Assistant[citation needed]
These steps do not apply to Windows 8 and later.
  1. Install the Sign-in Assistant:
  2. Launch the game again and the interface should now open normally.


Fails to install if Windows Update service is disabled
Ensure Sign-in Assistant service is running[citation needed]
If the Sign-in Assistant is installed but not working the service might not be running.
These steps do not apply to Windows 8 and later.
  1. Go to Services:
    • Vista and 7: open the Start screen/Start menu, type services.msc and press Enter.
    • Windows XP: press Win+R, type services.msc and press Enter.
  2. Open the Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant entry on the list.
  3. Ensure Startup type is set to Automatic.
  4. If the service is Stopped, click Start and wait until the Service status says Started.
  5. Close the Services windows and try again.

Code: 8015403A error[edit]

Try to log in website[citation needed]

Code: 80048821 error[edit]

If two-factor authentication is enabled, create a new app password[4]
Try "Sign in with a different gamertag" in the Windows Live ID dropdown menu[citation needed]

Password contains special characters[edit]

Passwords need to be under 16 characters[5][6]
Change incompatible password[citation needed]
  1. Go to
  2. Set a new password that is 16 characters or less and has only ASCII characters.
  3. Try signing in with your new password.

Cannot connect in-game[edit]

Your Microsoft account might be able to log into other Microsoft services but not GfWL.

Attempt workarounds[citation needed]
  • "Sign in as a different user", then re-enter the same account credentials.
    1. Open an administrator-level command prompt.
    2. Enter netsh.exe interface ipv4 show interfaces and note the number it returns.
    3. Identify your Local Area Connection, then type in netsh interface ipv4 set subinterface 10 mtu=1492 store=persistent
      Replace "10" with the value for your Local Area Connection from the first command's results. This may need to be run every time you want to play the game.
This problem arises because GFWL tries to alter your network connection's MTU before using it.

Creating a local profile[edit]

Local profiles don't need internet access.
Multiplayer, achievements, DLC downloading and in-game patching are unavailable (many games can be patched manually; refer to the individual game pages for details).
Local profiles can't be used for games that are multiplayer-only or always-online (e.g. Age of Empires Online).
Create local profile[citation needed]
  1. While in any game sign out of your existing profile (if you are signed in), then choose Create New Profile.
  2. Choose Create New Profile again.
  3. At the Create Gamer Profile screen, scroll down and click the "create a local profile" link.
  4. Name your profile and click Submit.
  5. Customize the profile now if you want to, then click Done to save your profile.

"Games for Windows – LIVE has encountered a corrupted file" error during ZDPP check[edit]

Run Zdp.exe[7]
  1. Go to the game's installation folder.
  2. Go into the Zdp folder.
  3. Run Zdp.exe.

Games not saving under Windows 8/8.1/10[edit]

Uninstall & reinstall client with Windows 7 compatibility and as Admin[8]
  1. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable.
  2. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows Marketplace.
  3. Reboot Windows.
  4. Download the Games for Windows Marketplace Client installer.
  5. Right-click the above installer, go to Properties and click the Compatibility tab. Tick the "Run this program in compatibility mode for:" box and select “Windows 7”. Also tick the "Run this program as an administrator" box. Click Apply and then OK.
  6. Now run the installer.
  7. Once installed run your GFWL game and retrieve your Gamertag profile if necessary.


  1. PC Marketplace closing | PC Marketplace -
  4. Games For Windows live marketplace Code: 80048821 - Microsoft Community
  5. Microsoft No Longer Accepts Long Passwords, Shortens Them For You | The Next Web
  6. security - Is it true that Microsoft doesn't allow more than 16 characters in their Hotmail password? - Web Applications Stack Exchange
  7. Fix: Dark Souls Prepare to Die Games for Windows Live Zero Day Protection not unlocking | Screened by Slimm
  8. How to fix Games for Windows Live on Windows 8 Pro x64 (And Windows 10 too!)