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MSN Messenger

November 2015

MSN Messenger is free software which is meant for instant messaging. This instant messaging service is a Microsoft product which works on the Windows platform. An active email account is a must for accessing messenger-342 MSN Messenger and its services via the internet. One can either download this software or use it from directly in the browser without downloading. It works even on mobile devices. In MSN Messenger, issues related to connection and error messages may pop up. A online help guide on the Messenger website can solve these problems. The users must also take precautions against account hacking, so it is very important to turn on the command for password protection when Messenger is opened.

What is MSN Messenger?

MSN messenger is a free instant messaging software licensed by Microsoft in 1999 and runs under Windows operating system. It was since renamed Windows Live Messenger in 2006. The main features of this program include sharing folders among online users, PC to PC calls as well as PC to phone calls, online games and applications, the ability to receive offline messages and interoperability with Yahoo! Users. The major advantages of MSN Messenger are that the program is free, easy to access, includes a variety of different features corresponding to all kinds of online users and has a user-friendly interface. It also bears disadvantages that have come up with newer versions of the program. The ones most mentioned by users, concern error codes stop users connecting to the program and the growing threat of infections through viruses and worms.

This article will give you an insight into the program as well as the necessary tips to fully enjoy the software and its features.

How to get connected to MSN Messenger

To get connected to the MSN Messenger service, you will need an active email account.

If you do not have one yet, read the following instructions (using MSN Messenger not Windows Live Messenger):
  • 1. Open MSN messenger and select "Click here to sign in". When prompted to enter your email address and password, select "Get a .NET Password" in the down left corner of the screen.
  • 2. After reading the "Privacy Statement" document, click "Next".
  • 3. You will be asked if you already have an email address. As you do not have one yet, choose, "No sign me up for a free MSN Hotmail email address."
  • 4. You will have to wait for a few minutes (depending on your connection speed) while the information is being processed. When complete, you will be asked to sign up with MSN Hotmail. To proceed, click "Next".
  • 5. A new browser will open and you will be guided through the whole sign up procedure.
  • 6. When done, select "I Accept" at the bottom of the page to agree to the terms of the Microsoft service agreement and privacy statement.
  • 7. A confirmation that your email account has been successfully created will be displayed. Click "Continue".
  • 8. This will take you back to the .NET Passport Wizard window. Ensure that the box labeled "Associate my Windows Live ID with my Windows user account" is checked. When done, click "Next".
  • 9. You should get confirmation of your account by now. Click "Finish"

If you already have an account (excluding @hotmail @msn or @live):
  • 1. Choose "Yes, use my existing email address" when the program asks you if you have an email address.
  • 2. If you have already signed up for your account, click "Yes, sign in with my Windows Live ID" and click "Next".
  • 3. You can now sign in with your MSN Messenger ID by entering your email address and password and click "Next".

Go online without downloading MSN Messenger

It is now possible for users who cannot download MSN Messenger or who want to use it from their mobile device, to get connected online through a browser-based messaging program. The advantages of this lie in the fact that you can use it anywhere, particularly on public computers, on low disk drives and computer systems that are incompatible with the MSN Messenger program.

Here are a few addresses where you can get this service for free:

To login to MSN Messenger, enter your account name and password. As the program will not be installed, some features will not be available through this service. For example, winks, games and pc to pc calls are not supported unless the program is installed.

How to add contacts to your list

The first thing that you should do once you have installed MSN messenger is to add your contacts.
  • 1. Once you have signed in to the program, go to the menu bar and select "Contacts" and "Add a Contact".
  • 2. In the "General" section of the window, enter the full address of the contact you want to add to your list. (e.g.
  • 3. You can personalize your invitation by entering a message to your contact in the field labeled "Personal Invitation".
  • 4. The rest of the information to be entered is optional. When done, click "Add contact".

Prompting password request when opening Messenger

Protect your account from unauthorised use by password protecting the program.
  • 1. Start by closing down MSN Messenger.
  • 2. On your taskbar, leave the program by right clicking on the MSN icon and select "Exit".
  • 3. When you open messenger again, ensure that the box labeled "Remember my password" is unchecked.
  • 4. Once you have signed in, go to your menu. Choose "Tools" and "Options".
  • 5. Go to the "General" section in the left menu and uncheck all the boxes in the section labeled "Sign in"

If your Passport.Net has been stored in your system, you must disable this option and it will not launch a password request when login to MSN Messenger.
  • 1. From the "Start" menu, go to the "Control Panel".
  • 2. Open "User Accounts".
  • 3. Choose your account from the list.
  • 4. In the left menu labeled "Related Tasks" click "Manage my network passwords"
  • 5. You can now delete the Passport.Net login information by selecting it from your list and click "Remove".

Unable to connect to MSN Messenger

  • 1. The first thing that you have to test is your connection. Make sure that the right wires are plugged in and that you are connected to the internet while signing in.
  • 2. Ensure that you have entered the right username and password. The program is case sensitive, so verify that the Caps Lock is not on.
  • 3. If you are still unable to connect to the service, click Troubleshoot when prompted. This will take a few minutes as it will review your system and try to fix it.
  • 4. If the problem persists, you can access the online help on the messenger website by following the link

Error Codes

New versions of MSN messenger include appealing features but users have come up with common error messages that pop up and prevent them from login in. Most of them are explained in Messenger's online help

Other errors are distinct to a particular version of the program but can also be solved.

Error code 0x80072ee6

Note: This has been tested in Internet Explorer browser.
  • 1) Go to the browser's menu bar and select "Tools".
  • 2) Choose "Internet Options" from the list.
  • 3) Delete the Cookies and clear the History folder and click "Apply"
  • 4) Go to the start menu and in Command Prompt type:
    regsvr32 MSXML3.dll
  • 5) Restart your system to configure the changes.

Error code 81000377

An error message will display "You cannot use Messenger at this time because your contact list is not available. Please try again later. Click Help to learn more about your contact list. 81000377".
This problem can be related to the MSN servers. You should test the status of the .NET servers. If no problem is detected after check is complete, it could be related to your internet connection. Ensure that you can still connect to other websites.

Error code 0x80072efd / 80072ee7

Before you try to fix anything on your system, ensure that the source of the problem does not come from a failure in MSN Messenger's servers. Follow this link in the UK or this one in the US. It could also be related to an authentication problem coming from the servers. In this case, check the availability of the service by connecting to

If the service page does not load and the screen displays "Service Unavailable", the problem comes from MSN servers. To solve this in MSN Messenger:
  • Open Windows Live Messenger
  • Select "Tools" on the menu bar
  • Go to "Connections" in the left menu
  • Uncheck the box labeled "I am using a proxy server"
  • Sign out and open MSN Messenger again
  • Make sure that your browser supports a 128 Bit Encryption.

In Internet Explorer:
  • Click "Tools"
  • Open "Internet Options"
  • Go to "Connections" and open "LAN Settings"
  • Check the box labeled "Automatically detect settings"
  • Click "Ok"

If you still cannot connect to Messenger, check if your proxy settings have not been activated. To solve this in:
MSN Messenger:
  • Select "Tools" in the menu bar
  • Go for "Options"
  • Select "Connection" in the left menu
  • Open "Advanced settings"
  • The field for "HTTP proxy" server must remain empty.

If this does not solve the problem, you might have an unauthorized version of the program on your system. Try to work it out by uninstalling your current MSN Messenger version and installing the newest free version at

Error code 80048820

This error code is very common on the 7.5 version of MSN. This can be due to:
  • 1. The system clock being set to an incorrect time/date
  • 2. An unregistered softpub.dll
  • 3. Firewall problems

To solve this:
  • Set your system clock in your taskbar to the right time/date
  • Register your softpub.dll by typing regsvr32.exe softpub.dll in the "Run" command of the Start menu
  • Try signing into MSN messenger again

Error code 8007277b

Your firewall settings could be the source of this problem.
  • Ensure that you have installed the latest version of MSN Messenger
  • Adjust your firewall settings before signing in again.


Some users face this problem while downloading MSN Messenger. Here is a way to solve it:
  • Download UNICOWS.DLL from the link
  • Save it in My Computer on your local disk C:
  • As the files do not have the same path directory as the Messenger program, this might be the cause of the problem. Hence go to "My Computer" and "Program Files", browse the "Messenger" folder and paste in the three files from the UNICOWS.DLL download.
  • Download MSN messenger again (version 7.0 BETA) and add a shortcut in MSN Messenger directory.
  • However, you will not be able to connect due to your firewall settings and an error message will pop up as you will try to sign in. Make sure that a proxy has not been activated:
    • Select "Tools" in the menu bar
    • Go to "Options"
    • Select "Connection" in the left menu
    • Open "Advanced settings"
    • Ensure that the field for "HTTP proxy" server remains empty.

Other error codes

Solutions for other error codes are listed in this link

Password recovery

If you have forgotten your MSN Messenger password, there are three ways to recover it.

Secret question

When signing up for your account, you will have been asked to choose a secret question from the list and provide an answer. You can use this option to recover your password by choosing "Forgot your password?" at the bottom of the screen before signing in. This will open a new browser and you will be directed to this link
  • 1. Enter your account name (e.g.
  • 2. Enter the characters displayed in the required field.
  • 3. Click "Continue"
  • 4. When asked to select the option for resetting your password, choose " Use my location information and secret answer to verify my identity"
  • 5. Choose your location from the list (it must correspond to the location you entered upon the creation of your account). Enter your secret answer in the required field. Click "Continue"

Send password reset instructions to your alternative email address

If you do not remember the secret answer to the secret question, you can also try to send the password reset instruction to the alternative email address entered upon account creation.

Note: You should know beforehand the substitute email address that has been suggested upon registration of your account.
  • 1. Choose "Send password reset instructions to me in email"
  • 2. Select "Alternate email address". Click continue
  • 3. "Password reset instructions were sent to your alternate e-mail address. If you don't see the e-mail message in your inbox, look for it in your junk mail folder or check your e-mail again later." will display on your screen.
  • 4. You can now check your email to get the reset instructions.
  • 5. Copy the link provided in a new browser to confirm the request. This might take a few minutes to process the information.
  • 6. Enter the correct information in the required fields to confirm your identity and reset your new password.

Download MSN Messenger password recovery program

This program will recover your password by decrypting it. It is compatible only with MSN messenger, Windows Live Messenger 8 and can find the Windows messenger passwords that have been saved on your system.

Note: This program will only work if you have checked "Remember me" and "Remember my password" when signing to messenger.

Download Link:
  • 1. When program is complete, simply run the program and click "Recover Password!"

Your account has been hacked

If you are not able to sign in to your account or you have been kicked out from an online session and the message "You signed in from another computer" appears, you might have been hacked. Either someone was aware of your password or a hacker has cracked and decrypted your password. In both cases, you should follow these procedures:
  • 1. Send an email to (for US accounts) and (for UK accounts).
  • 2. Put down in detail what happened and anything that suggests your account might have been hacked (e.g if your secret question/answer has been changed)
  • 3. You should also forward the following details:
    • name and surname
    • username (account name)
    • date of birth
    • location
    • state/department
    • ZIP code
    • date when you last signed in
    • list of previous passwords used for this account
    • your files and folder classification
    • the name of your internet service provider and the places where you have recently signed in on messenger (at school or work for example)

All these details will be used to reset your password and you will be notified through the email address used to send the request of the changes made to your account. The major advantage of this service lies in the fact that each time your hacked account is accessed the service will be aware of it and take all the necessary measures to get your account back.

Note: in case of emergency, email

Choosing the right password

To minimize the risks of being hacked, you should be able to choose a strong password. To do so:
  • 1. Avoid using your own name as a password (e.g. johnsmith45).
  • 2. Opt for a password with a minimum of 8 characters.
  • 3. Choose a password that includes numbers, capital letters and symbols (e.g. AlpHa-100-BeTa). If you still want to use your own name as a password, opt for one like JohN_SmitH_45.
  • 4. The best passwords are the ones using the first letter of each word in a sentence and merging them with letters and symbols.
    • For example, choose the sentence "I want a very strong password for my msn account." Hence, the password will start with Iwavspfmma. You can then merge this with numbers and symbols to make it look like this: !Iwavs-55-pfmma!. These ones will be impossible to guess.
  • 5. Disable the commands that allow you to store your password when signing in to MSN Messenger.

Use a different password for each account

You should never use the same password for several accounts. If someone breaks into one of your accounts, your other accounts using a similar password will be jeopardized. This can make remembering all your passwords very tricky. Here are two things you could do:
  • 1. Save all your passwords in a protected file (e.g. an excel sheet) on your computer. Do not save your document under password.xls. Use terms like backup.xls or login.xls
  • 2. If you have different accounts on various websites, you can choose to add the first letter of the website's name to your password. If your password is !Iwavs-55-pfmma! :
    • You can use !Iwavs-5M5-pfmma! for your MSN account
    • You can use !Iwavs-5Y5-pfmma! for your Yahoo! Account and so on...

How to choose your secret question and answer

Besides choosing a password, MSN will also give you the option to choose a secret question and answer in order to reset your password. When choosing for an answer to the question, do not relate it to the question itself.
  • For example, if you choose the question: "What is your pet's name?" do not opt for "Bobby". Instead, choose answers that no one would guess, such as "Vin Diesel is not the president of the United States."

Sponsor programs

Windows Live Messenger Plus! is provided with an extra software that adds advertisements to your browser and sometimes puts in program shortcuts to your desktop. Sponsor programs help in keeping the service free of charge for the users by adding the sponsors' adverts and sometimes an additional search bar to your menu bar.

You will not get any spyware from them but it is advisable to disable this option on installation as it can become particularly annoying in the long run. To disable the installation of the sponsor program when installing Windows Live Messenger, choose "I refuse, do not install the sponsor program" in the set up window and click "Install".

If you have already installed the sponsor program and want to remove it from your system:
  • 1. Open "My Computer" shortcut found on your desktop
  • 2. In the left menu, under "System tasks", select "Add or remove programs"
  • 3. Select Messenger Plus from the list and click 'Change/Remove'
  • 4. When prompted, choose 'Uninstall sponsor program only'
  • 5. Enter the validation code that may now appear on your screen (this command only appears on certain operating systems) and click 'Uninstall'
  • 6. Confirm deletion by clicking 'Yes' when prompted.

How to block another user from your contact list

If you wish to remove a contact from your list (the contact will still be able to send emails to your mailbox), this can be easily done without the knowledge of the users. The procedure is listed below:
  • 1. Sign in to your messenger account
  • 2. Locate the contact from your list and right click on their nickname.
  • 3. Choose "Block contact" from the list. A red icon will now appear next to the contact. You will still see when this contact signs in.
  • 4. To completely remove them from your list, go to "Contacts" in your menu bar.
  • 5. Choose "Delete a contact" from the list
  • 6. Select the contact from your list and click "OK"
  • 7. You will receive a message stating that "This contact is shared by messenger and Windows live Mail. If you remove this contact from messenger, they will also be removed from Windows Live mail". Click "OK" to confirm deletion.

Emoticons and Winks

Emoticons are visual graphics used to express a particular emotion in Instant Messages. Winks are animated visual graphics that can also be sent to express emotions online and give a dynamic tone to your conversations.

Emoticons are present in the basic versions of the messenger service and you can also add them by downloading additional packages found online. Here are some links where you can download them for free:

Winks are available on newer versions of the service. You need to have a graphics card to be able to view them. They can be downloaded for free on the following links:

  • 1.You can also copy some emoticons sent by your contacts in MSN conversation by right clicking on the desired icon and select "Copy".
  • 2.In "Add a Custom Emoticon" choose a name for the emoticon that will be used as a keyboard shortcut for future references and click "Add"
  • 3.Each time you want to use the emoticon in a conversation, all you need to do is to enter the name of the emoticon. It is advisable always to label your emoticon with a . (dot). For example, instead of saving the emoticon as clock, save it as .clock. This will avoid you to unwillingly insert emoticons in your conversations.

MSN Messenger Polygamy

MSN Messenger allows you to run more than one messenger simultaneously on multiple accounts. This program is called MSN Messenger Polygamy and is compatible with all versions of MSN Messenger. It gives you the advantage of sorting your contacts by account type. It is also simple to use, having a user friendly interface. Only those who have made use of at least one product of MSN Content Plus will be able to run this program.
To install MSN Messenger Polygamy, download it free from
  • 1.After installation is complete, run the program and click "Patch Now"
  • 2.To restore your Messenger, choose "Restore"

MSN Handwriting Feature

Handwriting is a feature available in MSN messenger 6, 7 8 with MSN Messenger Plus! the program allows you to reproduce drawings and your handwriting by making use of your mouse like a pen. This feature requires a graphics card that sustains high definition, else the program will not run properly.
  • 1.To install it with MSN Messenger Plus! Download the zip file
  • 2.Once download is complete, open the folder
  • 3.In the read me text file, you will be told "Before installing make sure you have the Ink Redistributables from Microsoft installed. If you have installed InfoPen, thexse are already installed, else please see the InkRedist zip file that you should have gotten with this file."
  • 4.If you have it, you can now run the installer.
  • 5.Confirm the installation by clicking "OK"

When installation is successful, you can now sign in again to messenger. You should see a pen icon in your conversation window, next to the text icon.

Delete your MSN account

Your MSN account will be automatically deactivated after remaining unused for 210 days. But if you wish to delete your account manually, follow these procedures:
  • 1.Sign in to MSN Messenger with your current account name and password
  • 2.Access your mailbox from there by following your email link (the icon representing an envelope in the upper left corner of your MSN window)
  • 3.Once opened, you will find your email address written in the upper right corner of the screen, just above the sign out link. Click it.
  • 4.Three options will now be listed: "View your account", "Link other accounts" and "Personalize". Select "View your Account"
  • 5.You will be prompted to enter your password again in order to view your personal details. When done, click "Sign in"
  • 6.This will bring you to your account summary and list the details entered upon registration. Select "Settings" in the upper right corner of your screen.
  • 7.In the grayish right menu, choose "Close your account" under "Common Tasks"
  • 8.Make sure that you read the important information that is now displayed before entering your password to confirm your account deletion
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Published by jak58. - Latest update by Paul Berentzen
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