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Windows Messenger\program files\messenger\msmsgs.exe

Maintain an open connection with a directory server, allowing others to contact you.

To Open

Start Programs Windows Messenger

Command Prompt msmsgs


Windows Messenger allows users to send each other quick text messages over the Internet by maintaining an open connection to a central directory server (see Figure 4-110). That server links a user's "screen name" with their IP address (which can change every time that user connects to the Internet). The IP address is necessary for establishing direct communication between two computers, such as when using Microsoft's NetMeeting or Remote Desktop Connection.

Figure 4-110. Windows Messenger lets you send text messages to other Windows Messenger users on the Internet

Windows Messenger is similar to AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. Although they're similar, they're all totally incompatible, so it would not be unusual to see two or three of them running simultaneously on the same machine.

The first time you start Windows Messenger, you are given the opportunity to sign in. If you already have an account at one of Microsoft's online services (such as Hotmail or MSN), you can use that same login here.

When you're signed in, other users only need to know your screen name to send you an instant message, invite you to connect to their computer, or play an online game (see MSN Gaming Zone, earlier in this chapter).


  • Windows Messenger, by default, is started every time Windows is started, regardless of whether or not you use it or even have an account. To disable Windows Messenger, use the Registry Editor (see Chapter 7) and remove the corresponding entry from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. You can also use the Start tab of the System Configuration Utility, discussed earlier in this chapter.

  • In order to use Windows Messenger or MSN Explorer, you'll need to set up a Microsoft .NET Passport account. There has been some confusion regarding Passport among many users, however. A Passport account is absolutely not required for any other features of Windows; in fact, Microsoft has been widely criticized for making it appear otherwise.

See Also

Remote Assistance, Microsoft Chat, Microsoft NetMeeting

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