I’m a huge fan of Windows Live Writer. I’ve used it for years and it is hands-down the best blogging client out there. With our recent web work on Max Foundry, MaxInbound, and MaxButtons Pro, I needed to update the blog themes for each of those in my Windows Live Writer, but kept getting the following error: “This blog theme couldn’t be downloaded”.

Windows Live Writer - This theme couldn't be downloaded

When you get this error, Windows Live Writer still allows you to write blog posts just fine, but they won’t look like they will when published on your website. It’s not a roadblock to using Windows Live Writer, but an inconvenience to say the least.

To fix this issue, I turned to Google and came across this post, which along with its comments, was most helpful.

Basically it comes down to doing two things: temporarily change the blog Reading settings and temporarily turn off caching.

Change Your Reading Settings

Each of our websites has a specific homepage design, which means it’s not a typical blog index page that lists the 10 most recent posts. Our Reading settings are set to show a static front page:

WordPress Reading settings - static front page

However, Windows Live Writer apparently has an issue with this configuration when trying to download the blog theme. The solution is to temporarily change your Reading settings to show your latest posts:

WordPress Reading settings - Latest Posts

Again, this is only temporary. Switch your Reading settings back to how they were after this process.

Turn Off Caching

Making the change to my Reading settings didn’t fix the issue by itself; I also had to temporarily disable caching. We use the fantastic WP Super Cache plugin for WordPress on all of our sites, so it was simply a matter of turning caching off in WP Super Cache and updating its status:

WP Super Cache Disabled

That’s What Worked For Me

After taking both of these steps, my Windows Live Writer was able to download the new blog themes just fine. And once I verified things looked good, I changed my Reading settings back to what they were and turned caching back on. Make sure you do the same.

September 5, 2012
Written by: Dave Donaldson
  • Angela

    Can you please tell me how to fix this in blogger?? How frustrating is this eh?

    • http://maxfoundry.com/ Max Foundry

      Sorry, but I’m not familiar with using Windows Live Writer with Blogger so I wouldn’t know how to fix it.

    • kyledoren

      hi! i know it’s an old question but i recently had the same issue. on your blog settings in blogger, temporarily change your blog reader settings to ‘Anybody’, simple as that. now you can successfully download your theme.

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  • Ashvini

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for this. I did the exact steps and the live writer started working :).