Uninstall MSN Messenger for Windows XP

Dennis Faas's picture

Similar to ICQ and Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger is a chat program that allows you to interact with other people around the world.

If my memory serves correct, ICQ is the "Grand Daddy" of all Windows-based chat programs with a graphical user interface (GUI), but MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger are gaining in popularity. Conveniently, MSN Messenger comes bundled with the Windows XP operating system.

Wait a sec -- did I say that was 'convenient'?

No it's not.

Since I installed Windows XP, MSN Messenger has been in my face multiple times asking me if I want to sign up for an account. I personally prefer to use ICQ chat -- maybe because it's been around longer and I'm used to it. At any rate, I don't have any use for MSN Messenger and I don't want it on my system, even if Microsoft thinks that I should.

Although I chose not to sign up for MSN Messenger account, I noticed that it is still loads into my Tray Bar every time Windows XP starts up. Does Microsoft think that I'm going to change my mind if I the MSN Messenger sits in my Tray Bar long enough? The fact that it's sitting in my Tray Bar -- even if it's not "active" -- means that it's silently eating my system resources (RAM). That's certainly not convenient!

One the other hand: one of the cool things about using MSN Messenger is that it notifies you when new emails are waiting in your Hotmail Inbox. That is definitely convenient -- but not if you receive about 20-30 spam emails a day like most users of Hotmail do. Anyway, that's besides the point. Since I don't have a Hotmail account, this perk isn't going to make me want to start using MSN Messenger, either.

RE: "How do I uninstall MSN (Windows) Messenger for Windows XP?"

That's a good question. I've been wondering what the answer was to that question for quite some time. I decided to get off my butt and see what I could find. Normally, I would have gone to Google to find to the solution to that question, but I decided to see if there was a Add / Remove feature in the Control Panel that would take the blasted MSN Messenger out of my system once and for all.

In the Control Panel, I clicked the Add / Remove Programs icon and selected the Add / Remove Windows Components button. From there, I scrolled down to the very bottom of the list and found the option that I was looking for -- MSN Messenger.

I unchecked the option and Windows XP removed MSN Messenger from my system. Oddly enough, the little bugger was still sitting in my Tray Bar. I right-clicked MSN Messenger in my Tray Bar, exited it, and rebooted just to make sure it wasn't going to come back.

Unfortunately, MSN Messenger was still sitting in my Tray Bar.

I received an email from Earle J. who suggested that I: double click on MSN Messenger to open up a new Window. select Tools -> Options -> Preferences tab, and unselect "Allow this program to run in the background". click the Apply button; close the Window.

Unfortunately, that was still not good enough.

After this newsletter was mailed out, I receive a few more emails from folks stating that MSN Messenger is still alive and kicking. The above method only removes MSN Messenger from the Tray bar. Jeff R. sent me his thoughts and a final solution to remove MSN Messenger from the Windows Registry:

" It appears that your article is confusing Windows Messenger with MSN Messenger. These are both separate programs. Windows Messenger is the one that installs with Windows XP. The "Windows Messenger" and the MSN Messenger icon look the same in the Add / Remove Programs under Control Panel, as seen above.

When MSN Messenger is double clicked, simply un-checking the box next to “Run This Program at Startup” does NOT prevent it from loading with Windows -- it just loads without the user interface. In fact, you will still see a box pop up when Messenger finds a newer version available, which will show you that it was still running in the background! You didn’t thing Bill Gates would let you off THAT easy, did you?

If you REALLY want to MSN Messenger once and for all, just do the following registry edit: Click on Start and select Run; Type Regedit in the text box and click OK or press the Enter key. Next, click on the Plus Sign next to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

Now click on the plus next to Software, then Policies, and finally on Microsoft. With Microsoft Folder highlighted, click on Edit on the menu bar at the top of the Registry Editor window and select New, then Key. Type "Messenger" (without the quotes) and press the Enter key.

With Messenger selected (highlighted) click Edit again, and click New and then Key. Type "Client" (again without quotes) and click OK. The Client key should nest below the Messenger key. With the Client key highlighted, click Edit again and this time click DWORD value. Following that, type "PreventRun" (no quotes) for this value and press the Enter key. A new item will appear on the right side of the screen with the name PreventRun and the type REG_WORD. Right-click PreventRun and select Modify from the context menu.

In the Value Data field in the box that opens, change the existing "0" to a "1' (again, no quotes) and click OK. Now close the Registry Editor by clicking on the X in the upper right corner of the Registry Editor window. Restart the computer for the changes to take effect. PS: This solution came from the “Lessons” section of www.jefflevy.com. "

Rate this article: 
No votes yet