Games for Windows - LIVE

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Games for Windows - LIVE
GfWL logo.png
Developer(s) Microsoft
Digital Distribution

Key points

Advantage Use the same Microsoft account and gamertag across other Xbox services.
Disadvantage Only available in Xbox LIVE Countries and Regions; players outside these areas must use a local profile.
Information DRM: varies; see List of Games for Windows - LIVE games.
Information The Marketplace was closed on August 25, 2013 for new purchases; existing purchases can still be downloaded.[1]


More information Latest version can be downloaded here

Issues unresolved[edit]

Information If you still have any issues with GFWL, please use XLiveLess

Issues fixed[edit]

Backing up saves[edit]

Fix Back up XLive folder

  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]

Information If you rename your gamertag or switch to a different one your existing saves won't be shown in-game.[2]

Fix 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.
Disadvantage Some games specifically block saves being moved between profiles so this may not work for all games.

Backing up installers[edit]

Information Installation files are normally deleted after installation is complete; you can back them up to avoid having to download them again.
Information Games reinstalled from backups will not show up as installed in the Marketplace client but will otherwise work normally.
Information 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.

Fix Backing up installers for games purchased through the Marketplace

  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.

Fix Backing up patch update installers

  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]

Fix Update client

  1. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable.
  2. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows Marketplace.
  3. Install the Games for Windows Marketplace Client.

Fix Make sure you logged in the desktop client at least once

  1. Open start menu/screen
  2. Type Games for Windows
  3. Open the client and log in there

Fix Install the Sign-in Assistant

Information 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.

Fix Ensure Sign-in Assistant service is running

Information If the Sign-in Assistant is installed but not working the service might not be running.
Information 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.

Error 80048821 when using two-factor authentication[edit]

Information If you have enabled two-factor authentication for your Microsoft account you must sign in with an app password.[4]

Fix Generate app password

  1. Create a new app password.
  2. Sign into Games for Windows - LIVE using this password.

Password contains special characters[edit]

Information Passwords need to be under 16 characters; using non-alphanumeric characters such as $%&%^>< may cause sign-in problems.

Fix Change incompatible password

  1. Go to
  2. Set a new password that is 16 characters or less and has no non-Unicode 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.

Fix Attempt workarounds

  • "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.
Information This problem arises because GFWL tries to alter your network connection's MTU before using it.


Many people have problems with GFWL crashing in-game or when launching. See Games For Windows - Live Crashing SOLUTION for a fix.

Creating a local profile[edit]

Advantage Local profiles don't need internet access.
Information Multiplayer, achievements, DLC downloading and in-game patching are unavailable.
Information Local profiles can't be used for games that are multiplayer-only or always-online (e.g. Age of Empires Online).

Fix Create local profile

  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]

Fix Run Zdp.exe[5]

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


  1. PC Marketplace closing | PC Marketplace -
  4. Games For Windows live marketplace Code: 80048821 - Microsoft Community
  5. Fix: Dark Souls Prepare to Die Games for Windows Live Zero Day Protection not unlocking | Screened by Slimm