Windows Live Family Safety Filter is an enormous pain

Windows Live Family Safety Filter is an enormous pain.   I was called by a friend telling me that she couldn’t get into her Internet banking.  Turns out that some kind of Windows Live ID screen belonging to the WLFSF is obstructing every possible Internet access.  Including coming up in the middle of games.  Frequently.  Very frequently.  As in every 10 or 30 seconds.   She had absolutely no idea how it started happening.  And she was quite vague as to when this started.

Every Windows Live ID and password that she knew about made no difference.  I created a Windows Live ID myself and was told I wasn’t part of the family.  Well frig.   Ok, that makes sense but geez, I’m trying to disable this very frustrating screen.

Next to no help on the Windows Live ID screen that was popping up.  I certainly don’t recall seeing any and I looked.

So I start searching Windows Help.  Nothing. 

Oh, and I can’t research this problem on the Internet because it won’t let me on the Internet.   Aaarrrghhhhh

Did this have any thing to do with Windows Parental Control?  Didn’t look like it.

I tried disabling all the Windows Live toolbars and other “helpers” in IE.    No difference.

Finally I started looking through the registry for the word family.  Ahh, some registry keys with DLLs with that word in there.   

Well, DLLs have to be installed I assumed so I poked about in the Add/Remove Programs (or whatever the equivalent is in Windows Vista.).   Aha, Windows Live Essential Tools and a few other downloads installed about eight days ago.   And there’s an option to uninstall just the WLFSF. 

Now I’m quite expecting Microsoft to automatically send down updates in a few months which will re-install the entire thing including the WLFSF.  <sigh>

I charged her $10 for the hour and a half.   It’s not her fault. 

89 thoughts on “Windows Live Family Safety Filter is an enormous pain”

  1. Tony, why are you letting a friend use IE?

    Also, I believe that all add-in toolbars are bad because you can’t control what they are doing. The Google Toolbar communicates unknown information to Google, for instance.

    And the toolbars increase browser load time, as well as taking up valuable screen real estate.

    And, frankly, I’ve never seen one that added more than one or two useful features — most of what they add is just promotion of their services.

    But, again, why aren’t you telling friends to use a proper browers, like FireFox?

    David W. Fenton
    David Fenton Associates

  2. David, well she’s not that much of a friend. More along the lines of someone who occasionally hangs out in the coffeeshop.

    I agree with you on the toolbar stuff. I don’t have any running myself.

    The Google toolbar page ranking indicator sounds like a nice idea. Until you realize that Google now knows every page you visit. Removed.

  3. its a suicidal program iv been trying to get rid of it for about 2 months now and still no good. iv deleted all i could and it keeps popping up from nowhere.

  4. I hate the widow live family safty! I can’t disable it because I can’t find it under anything. It won’t let me (the parent) see any site that I don’t have to ask myself for permission. Qwest can’t help because they don’t know anything about the program and msn can’t help because I got it through Qwest. The online support keeps telling me the same thing, to unistall the program. Great if I could find it I would. What a pain in the neck.

  5. Wardy and Shelley – go to the Control Panel >> Add/Remove Programs and uninstall either the entire Windows Live Essential Tools program or just the Windows Live Family Safety Filter item.

  6. Sam, 1) I was totally unable to access the Internet in any fashion until I uninstalled the Family Safety Filter. So I couldn’t download FireFox or browse the Internet trying to figure out this problem.

    2) I have no problems with IE as a browser. Not a lot of difference between the two as far as I’m concerned.

  7. More secure? That’s a matter of opinion.

    Less system resources? Right now, IE is open to two web pages, one of which is this blog website and one to Firefox open to one web page also IE is taking 43,675 kb. FireFox 71,284 kb.

    More user friendly? A matter of opinion but they’re about the same as far as the basics go.

    Opera I haven’t bothered to look at yet.

    Now do note that this blog is about Microsoft Access and not the merits of IE vs FF.

  8. winner, you can uninstall the program from the Add/Remove Programs button in the Control Panel. Although it’s called something else in Windows Vista.

  9. Ok my Father inlaw got in the WLFSF mess. He has no clue. I try deletting all th Window Live files, Tried the service.msc. still the internet is blocked any suggestions?

  10. Hafuz. It’s not my family safety filter.
    Soninlaw. Please reread the initial posting. You need uninstall the program or at least the Family Safety Filter part of it.

  11. Way to uninstall Family Safety Filter:

    Control Panel → Programs and Features → Windows Live Essentials → Uninstall/Change → Uninstall → Uncheck the Family Safety Filter item → Continue → Done.

    Note: These Operations are under Windows 7, maybe different under Vista.

  12. For Vista users: (no big difference)
    Control Panel → Programs → Programs and Features → Windows Live Essentials → Uninstall/Change → Uninstall → Uncheck the Family Safety Filter item → Continue → Done.

  13. Here here! couldn’t agree more don’t know where it came from but gets in the way of EVERYTHING, i’m no youngster & only one using this computor so totally pointless to me! however in vista go to control panel, select uninstall/change program, click on windows live essentials, window that opens from there gives you option to delete WLFSF, fingers crossed thats it killed off now!

  14. How did this program get INSTALLED in the first place? Am considering switching to YAHOO MESSENGER…………….holy this program is a pain…….

  15. I have uninstalled the Family Safety Filter via Control Panel and restarted the computer. The Filter is still operating!! It’s stopping me from working. Where do go now to get rid of it? Help!!

  16. My laptop runs on Windows Vista and I installed Windows Live Messenger 2009, I’m having no problems at all with it but there is one thing, I cannot connect to the internet at school because our school will not let anything “log in” into its “server” I guess…(not computer smart :P) any how I’ve tried EVERYTHING I could find on google..EVERYTHING, I tried to uninstall essentials – nothing – I tried to Delete it straight from program files, nothing. I even used this weird code some guy game me (RunDll32 advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection %windir%\INF\msmsgs.inf,BLC.Remove) still nothing.

    Please if you could help me out, which I know you would, that would be absolutely fantastic.

  17. I have children under 12 using the computer so I must use family safety. For last 6 months on a dell computer with windows Vista and the windows live family safety was working great and I loved it. I updated to the latest family safety program and IE7 as well as IE8 stopped working. Now I must stop the windows family safety program each time I want to use the IE.

    I hope that MS is not dumb enough to release IE and Windows live family safety without testing. Why can’t I use both of them as the same time now as I was able to do it for at least last six months?

  18. can’t get rid of it tried everything,there isn’t anything in my add/remove to remove it looked everywhere can’t find a thing,i don’t even have my messenger anymore.How do i get rid of this thing?

  19. i unistall it as you say but i still have to login in and then turn it off so i can open the internet any other way?!!!!

  20. It is very simple. Someone installed this with a Live ID as a means to cyberspy on the user of the PC. uninstall it through the control panel or use the correct Live ID to turn content blocking off (and logging).

  21. Mike.

    1) I don’t see how someone can use this product to cyberspy on the person using the PC.

    2) Microsoft would not build such functionality into the software. I’ve had informal discussions with developers and program managers on similar topics. Microsoft does not do such.

  22. OMG!! I cannot figure this out! I consider myself lucky to even be allowed on this website. I can’t go on anything, except for and polly pocket :S I’ve looked through everything trying to delete this little monster, but I can’t find it. There HAS to be a way to remove this, if someone knows, please let me know ASAP!

  23. Fred, please go back through the comments on this posting. You will find detailed instructions depending on if you are running Windows XP or Vista on how to remove the “feature”

  24. This filter is takeing over, every time i want to do something this FILTER JUMPS in. Loose this thing, Please !!!

  25. Richard and liam

    Please go back in these comments and read the detailed instructions for removing this “feature” depending on if you are running Windows XP or Windows Vista.

  26. eric ,your only brilliant , oh my god i dont even know how i got that bloody thing om my computer driving me wrong if i new ya id buy a pint .

  27. Anyway, Im using windows XP and I had the same Family Safety problem, At first I could not use my MSN anymore so I tryed reinstalling and repairing it etc. And for some reason I moved my Family Safety folder to the desktop, can’t remember why. Anyway I cannot remove it. I mean I could and I did delete all the files in it, and tought oh well I should be able to delete it now.. but hell no. It had a hidden folder in it called HistoryStore which I cannot even access nor delete. Altough I am the moderator. I’ve tryed Add/remove programs and I uninstalled every damn thing that has something to do with windows but still nothing. Help?

    go to the Control Panel >> Add/Remove Programs and uninstall either the entire Windows Live Essential Tools program or just the Windows Live Family Safety Filter item.

  29. Kudos to “February 25, 2009 7:28 AM by Eric_Zhang” (see his comment up above) on how to uninstall this thing.

    Instead of “Programs and Features”, for Windows XP it’s the “Add or Remove Programs” function that you typically use.

    Simply go into it, choose “Windows Live Essential”, and it’ll ask you to choose which function to remove. In this case, it’s obviously the “Family Safety” one.

    Removed it fine for me. Hope it works for you. Thanks Eric!

  30. suresh Shah, same problem here. used the program somewhat sucessfully for about a year on my son’s computer. since installing ie8 on vista home pro, ie8 does not respond and i have to disable family safety to get on any websites, even ones which are allowed for him to visit! totally pointless now! going to try uninstalling and reinstalling.

  31. Solved!!! I found the Full Windows live at which I sneaker net (thumb drive) to my XP system. Once this was installed (with Family Safety), I got the error saying the FSS driver needs to be started to allow internet access. At this point, I just did a normal remove of Windows Live Family Safety from Add remove programs and the internet was no long dead. Good luck on finding a solution. I noticed may posts were old so maybe this will help new people.

  32. I just skimmed all the comments above, and I sure hope I don’t have the trouble with Family Safety that many of you have had. I installed it only this week on all the computers in the house. However, I installed only Family Safety and Live Messenger. I’m happy with my current browser and I have no desire to clutter my screen with toolbars. So far so good. My children are set up with strict security, and my husband and I have basic security, which blocks only adult-rated websites.
    Up to this week, I had been using Vista Parental Controls to monitor my children’s Internet, but somehow both my tween sons managed to find and get hooked on Internet pornography. That’s when I knew we needed a stronger filter. But money is tight, so I found the Windows Live Family Safety (free) and chose to try it. My kids think it’s great, and I am happy with it so far. One thing I like is the option for them to email me with a request for permission to a site. I don’t have to drop what I’m doing to check something out; instead, they can wait until I have time. Another great feature is the preview. Before I give consent or denial, I can preview the website so that I know exactly what my children want access to.
    Someone in an earlier post mentioned constant pop-ups. I experienced that, too. I was signed off of the filter because I was working offline. But the sign-in window kept popping on the screen every few seconds. I tried to leave it in the background, but the orange flashing at the bottom of the screen drove me nuts. Finally, I went ahead and signed in, and the annoying pop-ups ceased.
    I hope you all are able to successfully remove the program or make peace with it.

  33. Is the removal from add/remove program from Windows XP system will pose any problem as it may again ask the Windows Live ID and pwd.

  34. I only wanted windows messenger for my daughter and successfully installed it on the laptop I am using. Stupid me, tried installing it on my other laptop and accidently did not uncheck the family saftey filter and now I have the family “virus”. I tried uninstalling all related features and everything EXCEPT windows live essentials will delete. I have tried clicking uninstall and nothing happens. In the meantime I think I deleted my access to go online (msn) and can’t even go online at all. I have tried restoring the system to a previous time, great….now that feature is not working. Is there something I can download on my jumpdrive and try to install on the injured laptop to get things going again? At this point, I would almost, but not really, be happy if I could even access the internet with the family filter popup. Thanks

  35. This safety filter is big problem, untill i found how to uninstal. IE8 is big shit, if u open site who have some error in the code he show the site in very bad way, and another browsers fix this problem and show the site corectly. Windows is big shit, will migrate to Ubunto or mac os.

  36. I am currently sitting in the library as I can’t use my own computer! Sick of the feature, and it won’t let me on the internet AT ALL and says my password is wrong (it isn’t!!) and comes up with Error code 802107D0. I went into Add/Remove programmes and disabled the family safety filter but it still comes back on! I will now go back home and try deleting all of the Windows Live Essential Tools (I’m on Vista) to see if it works. On the other hand, it’s great to find a site and such helpful knowledgable people whatever happens (and that I’m not an idiot for having this problem!). Thank you very much and will report back.

  37. Hello,

    I´ve got Error code 802107D0 too since yesterday. The problem is the same under XP (SP3) and VISTA. Both computers are connected to the same router. Thank you in advance for your help.

  38. Way to uninstall Family Safety Filter:

    Control Panel → Programs and Features → Windows Live Essentials → Uninstall/Change → Uninstall → Uncheck the Family Safety Filter item → Continue → Done.

    Note: These Operations are under Windows 7, maybe different under Vista. and Voila !!!

  39. Thank You..Thank You.. Thank U..a hundred times over …what a pain that was..but I followed the directions and uninstalled that stupid program. I couldn’t access anything..?/ Previous to that I had to O.K. every single place I wanted to go or look at…If I had kids It would be a full time job just to allow or not allow them access..???? Unbeleivable..I hope it doesn’t “Re-install” itself..??? Thanks

  40. Wow omg… TALK ABOUT REPETITIVE! This problem was solved MONTHS AGO, have people forgotten how to READ a dam post for an answer before POSTING the same question again??? The solution IS ON THIS PAGE ABOUT 6 OR 7 TIMES!!!!

  41. If the solutions posted above do not work for you (guessing there’s something wrong as its posted about 12 times, and people still complaining) then all I did was signed into Windows Live Family Safety Filter website, after signing in at the dialog box there is a link to the website, and there you can select which computers you want to remove. It is more of a service than a program, and if you try removing it from the PC it might assume your “kids” are trying to hack a way around it.. it needs to be deactivated from the actual windows live website!

  42. agree agree agree.

    i submitted “ticket” to MS Support.
    they supplied the standard removal “recipes”.

    nothing worked after repeated attempts.

    supposedly the “ticket” was forward to the “Development Team”.

    and, that is where my “ticket’ fell into the black-hole.

    sady, this CRAP was downloaded w/o requesting it. gee thanks, MS. don’t they realize if i want something i could ASK for it?

    a user on this shared computer made the mistake of activating the FSS after being “notified” that this new “feature” was ready to be activated.

    “Would you like to activate FSS?”
    believe me, the answer ALWAYS should be “NO”.

    i have resubmitted the problem and waiting 2 hear from MS. waiting.

  43. I am using it on my kids PC (Windows 7 Ultimate RTM) and it works flawless. You just need to know what you are doing and how to set it up. If you set up the parent accounts, they can do whatever on the PC. The child accounts can be restricted so that they can’t access anything on the internet without your approval. You also set it up so that whenever you or your family logs in, it auto signs in to the windows live account they have assigned to them. It’s easy. Just don’t install it on a PC if you arent gonna use it. Most people just install all apps without knowing what they do then get themselves into messes like the one that started this thread.

  44. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I have been trying for weeks now to get rid of the family safety and couldn’t find it in the add/remove section. I could get on the internet but every page I searched gave me different info on how to remove it and none of it worked. Thanks again for having the correct information on here.

  45. i can never log onto internet cos needed tolog onto family safety first. It never worked and i could never get help cos i couldn’t access the internet. i followed to instructions mentioned above and i was able to uninstall the silly program.

  46. Thank you! Uninstalling Family Safety worked for me just now. Hopefully it’s a permanent fix, this program has caused nothing but frustrations since I installed it last year, in the hopes of keeping my kids out of trouble. It never worked as advertized, and at the end blocked my access to the internet all together.
    Good riddace.

  47. Well, she wasn’t that close of a friend. Indeed she recently died due to brain cancer. Very pleasant and cheerful person despite the years of enduring cancer treatments.

  48. Windows Live Essential won’t uninstall, I tried uninstalling family safety before, now i cant access it unless it pops up and blokcs something! HELP!!!!!

  49. I installed and uninstalled Family Safety, but when my computer restarted the main (administrator) account was missing. My files are on the computer, but my log in is gone from the welcome screen. HELP

  50. well from reading the comments, one would think that the family safety filter is some kind of bug…lol

    Well it’s not…

    the proper way to install the program is to:
    1. give your kids a limited user account on all the pc’s they use.
    2. Set the filter to monitor those accounts along with your kids live id’s (match each windows account to the correct live id)
    3. configure the filter on the family safety website

    ps. dont set it to monitor the parent(s) accounts…no need to monitor yourself…lol

    hope this helps resolve those doubts and ungrounded statements about the family safety filter…


  51. @Rovin

    Yes, we know what it’s for. that doesn’t stop it from having massive problems. Nor is your statement helpful in any way, it might as well have been an advertisement. It doesn’t resolve anything, it basically just tells everyone that there isn’t a problem in a condescending manner.

    Also, the consistent and unnecessary lol’ing makes you sound like a pretentious 10 year old.

    Just passing along a bump in case anyone else needs this solution.

  52. Going to Control Panel and Add or Remove Programs worked for me. I was afraid it was going to remove the entire Windows Live but it asked which components I wanted to remove.

    Thanks for your help! I hated the Windows Live Family Safety Filter!

    - Pamsothere

  53. Hmm. Been using Family Safety to filter my son’s internet access for a few months now. Haven’t had any issues thus far.

    It sounds like the people affected are installing Windows Live Essentials and unknowingly enabling Family Safety on their own accounts. Perhaps overlooking an installation wizard?

    When I installed Family safety it was pretty clear to me what I was doing. I had to link an XP account to a live account and then create settings for my son specifically.

    Anybody remember installing Live Essentials and how they went through the process before this happened to them?

  54. can anyone tell me if this bloody family safty thng is stop,n my we cam from work,n on msn works fine but wont work on msn has a big red cross on it is it that safty thngy thats doin it try,d 2 remove windows live essentials but says it cant find it wer the hell is it its doin my head in now plz hellllpppp!!!!

  55. I have a different problem! Every time I log in I get the message “Please wait while window configures family safety” popping up continuously over and over again for about 1-2 minutes. Only way to stop it is to uninstall family safety as above. I have had family safety on older computer no problem and would like to continue to use it. Any ideas?

  56. Hi,

    I tried installing live messenger and popped up this thing as well, i installed as a crack head that I am, so now I can’t uninstall it , can;’t go on certain websites, which trust me are NOT sex related, is just stupid ! the only way to fix it is to go to Task manager and close the processes Fsui.exe fsssssssvc.exe (it will appear 3-4 times) then would work to go on any website. IS VERY ANNOYING AND I HOPE THAT THE PEOPLE THAT CREATE IT WILL SMACK THEMSELFS BECAUSE IS BLOODY USELESS !

  57. Look for a way to restore your computer to its original settings if your not an admin. If you are then go ahead and open the control center and go to remove program find it and get rid of it.

  58. unistall it from the task manager, type task manager in the saerch in start menu, then open it and go to the services option, scroll down the list of running services till you see (windows live family saftey service) right click and stop service,. see if this works.. you might need admin access, if so it will tell you when you try this (access denied.. but worth a try as it worked for me. good luck

  59. ok so im readin on how to delete it… thanks but i got thtt stupid yellow nd blue shield thingy i believe its called user account control needs my mom’s password… so basically everythime i wanna download or uninstall or change sumthin i need her password… so i cnt download firefox cuz it gave me a virus… and IE malfunctioned on my comp… i hate this dumbbutt stupid chicken crap system… both UAC and WLFSF… i wanna write a novel/saga and i needed to send the info nd details to my friend thro an email to read it… im using google chrome nd it said “SSL connection error” and the stupid crap pop-up came up -.-’… all i wanna do is be creative… i cnt use it says to a new pg “request permission” or sumthin stupid like tht… the funny thing is tht i cnt acces nd… but i can go to and watch south park… so the stupid WLFSF program blocks a few safe sites?? tht just makes total freaking sense… i tried signin up on hotmail but the letter entering thing wont come up… i cnt sigh upfor yahoo or aol or msn… ALL I WOULD LOVE TO DO IS SEND MY NOVEL/SAGA IDEAS TO A FRIEND… GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR anyone know wht i can do?? is there like a website i can use??

  60. Well I have tryed several times to remove the program but it says I need an administrators password to remove it. I am the only user on the computer, yet I don’t even have a password. And when I go to the family filter it says please login as the parent after I try? What can I do?

  61. If all else fails, you can always just use the URL and click on what ever Website without searching on google and getting that annoying Family Safety screen. You can practically bypass it by going on your Favorites, and your history. Good luck on uninstalling or removing it.


  62. Ok I’ve just installed it by doing as I was told, sign in using my windows live ID, only to find I now have to type in my windows live password in front of my son to access stuff
    the instructions say I can’t now change the live account it links to!!!
    If I uninstall it all and re-install will it allow me to link it ot the new live ID I have created especailly for the purpose of monitoring.

    DOn’t MS realise not everyone wants everything they doo all in the one place in the one account??

  63. THANK YOU Eric_Zhang Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7:28 AM, You were a great help with getting rid of this pesky program!! Our whole family was plagued with the issue. Im leaving for college and having my restrictions lifted was harder than we thought it would be! You are truely a life saver!!

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