Windows Live Writer fails to open

I use Windows Live Writer to create most of the posts for my Blog(s).  I recently updated to the latest version and I do think it is a good product, and seems to work very well with my WordPress blogs.  (I contribute to 3, but this is the main one.) 

I have occasionally had trouble getting Writer to open.  I will click on the shortcut, the splash screen comes up and then I get an error.  Then it is gone.  I finally got around to digging into the cause and did a search and found this post from one of the Microsoft guys that builds this tool:

http://jcheng.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/windows-live-writer-2009-wont-start/

We’re getting ready to ship an update that fixes the problem, but in the meantime, there is a straightforward workaround to get Writer running again:

  1. Start | Run
  2. On Vista, enter this command:
    %AppData%\Windows Live Writer\Keywords
    On XP, enter this command:
    %UserProfile%\Application Data\Windows Live Writer\Keywords
  3. You should see a bunch of files whose names begin with “keyword” and end with lots of letters and numbers. Delete all of these files.

That should fix it.

The problem, as you may have guessed, is that one of these files is getting corrupted. This is due to a race condition in our code where the settings file can be closed while it’s still in the middle of being written. Our update will both fix the race condition, and also deal more gracefully with corrupted settings files (by ignoring them).

Well, that didn’t fix it for me.  In that post, Joe has updated to say that version 14.0.8064.206 includes the fix for this problem.  That happens to be the version I am running.  :(  So back to searching…

I was digging around trying to figure out if I had just missed something, but instead I found a log file.  In my case the log is in the \AppData\Local\Windows Live Writer\ directory and it is named, funny enough, “Windows Live Writer.log”.  I looked in the log and found lots of stuff, but the part that stuck out was:

The network location cannot be reached.

That got  me to thinking and after doing some testing, I went back to Joe’s blog entry and left this comment:

Joe,
Another potential cause of the for the problem, Splash screen and then error and then nothing, could be My Documents redirection.
The company I work for as a policy doesn’t back up user machines, but we do redirect the My Documents to a network share. Most of our users have their My Documents set to be available offline. I don’t.
When I tried the steps that you recommended, it didn’t fix the problem, but then I remembered that I have had this problem before, and that it seemed to work fine when I was in the office.
I have two work arounds for this:
1. Open Windows Live Writer while still at the office and don’t close it. Hybernate the machine until I get home and use as normal.
2. Use Run As to run it as a local account so that it doesn’t fall victim to my My Documents being unavailable.
This is a good reason (among others) that it would be nice to have the option to change the default location for post data to be saved.

So, there you have it.  Another reason to NOT use My Documents redirection…  “Let me tell ya about My Documents redirection…”

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