GAMES FOR WINDOWS LIVE (GFWL): HOW TO INSTALL ON WINDOWS 10

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Chris HoffmanEditor-in-Chief

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He"s written about technology for over a decade và was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The new york Times and Reader"s Digest, been interviewed as a công nghệ expert on TV stations like Miami"s NBC 6, & had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that"s just here at How-To Geek. Read more...

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UpdatedJul 5, 2017, 6:16 pm EST| 5 min read
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Many old PC games seem to work fine on Windows 10, but games using Microsoft’s failed Games for Windows LIVE (GFWL) platform are an exception. They’ll give you an error on Windows 10. You can remove GFWL from many games entirely, though, or just troubleshoot it and make it work properly.

Many games have abandoned GFWL, allowing you to redeem a non-GFWL copy or install a patch that removes GFWL. But not all of them have. For example, Rockstar’s Grand Theft tự động hóa IV and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City still use GFWL, as does Bethesda’s Fallout 3. These games are regularly promoted on Steam sales, so gamers will be stumbling onto GFWL for years to lớn come.


Get a Non-GFWL Copy of the Game

RELATED: Why PC Gamers Hated Microsoft"s "Games for Windows LIVE"

Many games have migrated away from Microsoft’s PC gaming platform to lớn Steam. If you purchased the trò chơi in the past–whether you bought a physical retail copy, digital download, or even a copy from Microsoft’s Games for Windows Marketplace–you can often convert that old GFWL-tainted copy to a modern one that will work properly.


The following games allow you to redeem them on Steam if you have a retail key or one provided by GFWL itself. These are big-name, big-budget games, & that’s no accident. Publishers và developers haven’t bothered removing GFWL from many older games that didn’t do so well.

Batman: Arkham AsylumBatman: Arkham CityBioshock 2Dark Souls: Prepare to Die EditionDead Rising 2Dead Rising 2: Off the RecordDiRT 3Resident Evil 5Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition

If you have a code for one of these games, you can redeem it on Steam. Install Steam & launch it. Click the “Games” menu, select “Activate a hàng hóa On Steam,” & enter the game’s sản phẩm key to redeem it on Steam. The version Steam installs will be the latest one without GFWL.

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Crack GFWL Out of the Game

Some of the bigger, more popular games have third-party tools that can effectively crack Games for Windows LIVE out of the game. These tools aren’t intended for piracy or cheating in multiplayer–in fact, they disable access khổng lồ multiplayer if a trò chơi does contain multiplayer. They’re just intended for removing the hassle of GFWL. Such modifications aren’t available for every game–just particularly popular ones.

You may need a file extraction program like 7-Zip to extract these downloads. Follow the instructions in the download’s readme file to learn how to install whichever modification you downloaded and ensure it works properly.

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Update Your GFWL Client Software

If you’re stuck playing a game that requires GFWL on modern versions of Windows & no alternative versions or cracks are available to help you disable them–or if you’d just lượt thích to use GFWL anyway–you can make GFWL function. Despite Windows 10’s assertion that Games for Windows LIVE isn’t compatible with modern versions of Windows, it can work.

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The problem is that games that require GFWL include their own GFWL installers. When you install one of these games on a modern version of Windows, it installs an old version of GFWL that won’t function properly. Rather than attempting to lớn update itself, GFWL will just fail to lớn work properly without giving you any indication of what’s wrong & games won’t even launch or provide an error message.

To fix this problem, download the latest version of Games for Windows LIVE from Microsoft’s website & install it. After you install the latest version, GFWL-enabled games should launch và function. They may not work perfectly, of course. For example, we had to use the keyboard lớn navigate the GFWL interface in one particular trò chơi on Windows 10, as the mouse didn’t work properly. The “Tab” & “Enter” keys were essential for navigating the interface.

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Create a Local Profile

You can avoid online-connectivity & syncing problems that can interfere with your chơi game by creating a local profile (in other words, an offline profile) rather than an online profile in GFWL. This will work for most games, although you’ll have khổng lồ create an online profile if you want lớn use multiplayer features. This will also allow you khổng lồ play GFWL-enabled games if you’re outside one of the 42 supported countries where GFWL & Xbox services are available. You’ll know if you are, because GFWL will show you an error message.


To vì chưng this, mở cửa the GFWL interface by pressing the “Home” button on your keyboard while in any GFWL-enabled game & choose “Create New Profile.” Scroll down on the Create game thủ Profile screen, click “Create a Local Profile,” and enter the details you want to lớn use.

You’ll thua thảm any save files if you vày this while playing a game. Those save files are associated with your online profile if you’re already using one of those, so you’ll have to switch back lớn the other profile to lớn regain access to lớn your saves. This is best done when setting up GFWL for the first time.

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Fix Online Connectivity Problems

If you’re having issues connecting lớn other players in GFWL games, you may be in some trouble. Microsoft no longer actively maintains this stuff and there’s no guarantee you’ll have a good experience even if you can connect, so just bear that in mind. We’ve had a lot of problems.

However, you can make online connectivity work by messing with your firewall settings. Microsoft recommends three things:


That’s a good place to start, & should solve most issues–at least most solvable ones. Microsoft also provides a long guide khổng lồ troubleshooting GFWL connection problems. Consult the official guide if you need more help.

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For more information, check the list of Games for Windows – LIVE games các mục on the PC Gaming Wiki website. It provides an exhaustive menu of GFWL-enabled games & the state of their support.

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If you’re experiencing other problems, the PC Gaming Wiki website also offers a good article on troubleshooting more obscure GFWL errors that may bite you.


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Chris HoffmanChris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He"s written about công nghệ for over a decade và was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The thủ đô new york Times and Reader"s Digest, been interviewed as a công nghệ expert on TV stations like Miami"s NBC 6, & had his work covered by news outlets lượt thích the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that"s just here at How-To Geek. Read Full Bio »