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MSN Explorer \program files\msn\msncorefiles\msn6.exe

The graphical interface to the MSN online service.

To Open

Little butterfly icon in the quicklaunch toolbar

Command Prompt msn6


The MSN online service, in addition to providing basic Internet access, supplies online content, somewhat like American Online (AOL). The MSN Explorer is an integrated web browser, email program, and messenger (“buddy list”) for use with the MSN service (see Figure 4-61).

Figure 4-61. The MSN online service works like Internet Explorer, but has more brightly colored icons and is linked up with Microsoft’s Passport service

You don’t have to be a subscriber to MSN to use MSN Explorer, but you to have to complete the initial signup wizard. Although it’s free, it does require several pieces of personal information, such as your geographic location, birthdate, and occupation. Once you complete the sign-in process, the MSN Explorer window resembles the Internet Explorer web browser, except the menu is gone, the toolbar is simplified, and an additional task pane is shown on the left.


  • The MSN Explorer offers very little functionality above and beyond Internet Explorer. It is merely a friendlier, less intimidating interface designed to appeal to novices and children. One potential advantage is the total lack of knowledge required to get up and running with MSN Explorer; for example, most features on the toolbar are automatically configured for the currently logged-in user, so all one needs to do is click the buttons.

  • The toolbar buttons, images, and default pages are all rather large. The minimum recommended resolution to use MSN Explorer is 800 600, and that’s only appropriate if the window is maximized.

  • The Email button is essentially a shortcut to Hotmail, Microsoft’s free web-based email client. Likewise, the Online Buddies, the People & Chat, and the Money buttons all are shortcuts to corresponding web sites at http://www.msn.com/.

  • When you close MSN Explorer, it remains in memory. To sign out of MSN and shut down the MSN Explorer completely, right-click on the MSN icon in the Tray (next to the clock) and select Exit MSN Explorer.

  • In order to use MSN Explorer or Windows Messenger, 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

“Internet Explorer”, “Outlook Express”, “MSN Gaming Zone”

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