Fixing Games For Windows Live For Windows 8

My, my here we go again. There just is no end to issues plaguing gamers who have to deal with Games For Windows Live. This has to be the single worst piece of software ever created.

I once posted a fix for games like Fable III and Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition and if you’re not using Windows 8, that fix should still work for you and can be found by clicking here.

If  you are using Microsoft’s latest operating system however, you may run into a new issue that blocks that fix. It seems that Microsoft Flight, the once quickest fix for a non working Games For Windows Live is no longer the be-all, end-all solution. Having finally decided to play Dark Souls on my Windows 8 PC, I encountered the same issue with Games For Windows Live not actually starting up with the game and allowing me to update it therefore fixing any and all future problems with the service. After all, that is the issue. The damn thing just won’t update correctly.

I tried the Microsoft Flight fix but I encountered a new error where the game is telling me that Games For Windows Live could not initialize because it is either corrupted or running already. I tried several fixes but what finally worked for me was the following. I hope it indeed helps you overcome these terrible issues with a truly terrible service.


  1. Install Dark Souls (or any other Games For Windows Live title).
  2. Try and start it. If it stays as a black screen and then crashes, that’s fine.
  3. Uninstall Games For Windows Live — both the Marketplace client and the Redistributable. You can uninstall programs from your Control Panel.
  4. Go to this link and install the old version of Games For Windows Live: GFWL v3.3
  5. After you start the old Games For Windows Live, you’ll be prompted to update the service by clicking on a link. Do so.
  6. Install the new executable file as an Administrator (right click on the file and select “Run as administrator).
  7. The install will ask you to shut down any other running Games For Windows Live programs (it’s seeing the old client still running), select Ignore until the installation completes. The installer will close and so will the old version.
  8. The installation this time will run longer and you’ll see the installer actually downloading and installing the newest version of GFWL.
  9. Play Dark Souls (or whatever you’re trying to play).


This method worked for me. It seems that v3.3 of Games For Windows Live actually updates correctly and points you in the right direction for the correct updates. Since the Microsoft Flight fix is no longer viable to Windows 8 users, at least it seems that way, this is likely the best fix.

If you find yourself still having issues, there seems to be a possible fix by editing, deleting, and changing filepaths in a System32 folder called CatRoot but it involves an advanced knowledge of using Windows. I tried it myself and it did not work but others are saying they have seen results.

I can attest that the above method I describe worked for me and I have since been able to kill demons in Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition (along with the lovely DSfix mod that makes the game playable).




There are 18 comments

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  1. microsoftwillalwayssuck

    OMG.  If you are having xlive.dll issues this REALLY works.  Those of you who’ve re-installed gfwl over and over try THIS!
    I had downloaded from the Microsoft store the GFWL installer and reinstalled over and over in different compatibility modes. I about jumped out of my seat when I saw this work for myself!
    Thank you so much for posting this online, we appreciate golden info nuggets like this one.

  2. toastsoda

    Youre a boss. Thank you so much, this got my Games for Windows Live working perfectly on my Windows 8 Aspire c: much love, youve warrented a fan

  3. I_Am_Pedro5684

    Thank you so much. You wouldn’t believe how much you’ve helped, I’ve been trying to fix the Windows Game for days!

  4. Solarae

    Thanks so much, at first it didn’t look like it was working but when I got into GTA I was able to get on LIVE. Going to try Dark Souls after. Awesome, sir. I’ve been trying so damn long to find a fix for this…

  5. jalb

    Nope. Didn’t do it for me. Still says it can’t download the update, insists my connection is bad, and gives me a useless error code.

  6. Anon

    I had the missing .dll problem as well and this method worked for me. I still don’t have any xlive.dll file in my System32 folder though, but I suppose it’s somewhere else now, don’t really care – it works and I won’t have to waste more hours on this ridiculous problem anymore.


    • Ron Hoffecker

      Author here,

      This is a chance that the latest updates for Windows 8 such as 8.1 and whatever else Microsoft throws into daily updates have made this fix outdated. There are still people getting this to work, but I’m seeing more and more comments come in saying it does not work.

      Unfortunately I have not found a new fix, which is a shame. I guess the only thing we can be happy about is that more and more games are dropping Games for Windows so this issue won’t appear in the future.

  7. MichaelMurchie

    Doesn’t work any more, no connection available (which clearly there is).

    Oh well, looks like I will not be finishing Dark Souls anytime soon unless I buy it on PS3

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