Removing Windows Messenger

Windows Messenger is included with most editions of Microsoft Windows XP in the default installation. Users who run Windows XP Professional are more likely to have Windows Messenger come with their PC than users who run Windows XP Home. Just like Microsoft Paint, WordPad, and Calculator, Windows Messenger is installed on your computer at the same time as the host operating system. During the installation of Windows, you are not given an option to avoid installing Windows Messenger. If you purchased a computer that came with Windows XP, the computer manufacturer may have used a special installation process to prevent Windows Messenger from being installed on your computer.

Windows Messenger: who needs it?

The actual purpose of Windows Messenger is to serve corporate users and provide users who are part of a corporate Windows network with high-availability instant messaging that does not rely on an active Internet connection. Standard instant messaging services use a server located outside of the network - typically a Microsoft or Yahoo! server, depending on the IM protocol you are using - to route messages to their recipients. This is necessary for communication outside the local network. However, it makes sense that if you're trying to send an instant message to someone within the same network as you that the message would not have to be sent from your PC to Microsoft's server and back to the recipient, when a much shorter and consistent route exists within your local area network. Users attached to a Windows corporate network that includes a server running Windows Messaging Services can send messages within the network without the messages leaving the local area network. Since the MSN/Windows Messenger protocol is plain text (unencrypted), there are substantial security risks when transmitting sensitive data over IM across the Internet. Keeping sensitive communications inside the local area network mitigates some of the risks of third-party eavesdropping.

Preventing Windows Messenger from running at startup

Because Windows Messenger is occasionally useful as a backup if MSN Messenger fails, removing it completely from your system is not recommended. Instead, you can prevent it from appearing when you turn on your computer. The easiest way to take control over which programs run when your computer boots is to use a third-party utility like RegCure. RegCure is the most trusted PC performance optimizer, and is available as a free download. You can also edit the startup settings of your PC using the System Configuration Tool. Choose Start, then Run, and type "msconfig". Under the Startup tab, locate Windows Messenger and uncheck it. Reboot your computer. Windows Messenger should not be present in the system tray upon reboot.

Removing Windows Messenger

Because Windows Messenger is a Windows component, you can remove it by using the Windows Component Wizard. Choose Start, then Control Panel. Open the Add or Remove Programs utility. Click on the box labeled "Add/Remove Windows Components". Scroll through the list until you find Windows Messenger, and unmark the checkbox. Press "Next". The Windows Component Wizard will now remove Windows Messenger from your system.

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