Windows

Add Microsoft Chat to your Windows XP Pro technical support toolbox


Windows XP Pro comes with a LAN-based messaging program called Microsoft Chat, which is a handy addition to your technical support toolbox. Microsoft Chat provides you with a real-time messaging program that you can use to help remotely troubleshoot problems on a small business network.

By default, Microsoft Chat is hidden in your Windows folder, and the services that it depends on are disabled. Here's how to start the services and then uncover the program's executable file:

  1. Right-click My Computer and select Manage.
  2. In the Computer Management window, open the Services And Applications branch in the left pane, and click Services.
  3. In the Services pane, locate and double-click Network DDE and then double-click Network DDE DSDM.
  4. In the Properties dialog box for each Service, set the Startup Type setting to Automatic, click the Apply button, click the Start button, and then click OK.
  5. Close the Computer Management window and then restart Windows.
  6. When the system comes back up, press [Windows]R to open the Run dialog box.
  7. Type Winchat.exe in the Open box and click OK.

You can now see the user interface. You can initiate a call by clicking the Dial button on the toolbar. When you do, the Select Computer dialog box will appear; select the name of the network computer to which you want to establish a connection. On the other computer, the recipient responds by clicking the Answer An Incoming Call button on the toolbar. Upon connection, both parties will see a Connected To message in the status bar and can immediately begin typing messages back and forth in real time. When you're finished, click the Hang Up button on the toolbar.

Note: This tip applies only to Windows XP Professional.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

25 comments
ranganthan
ranganthan

easly attck virus in windows xp os

landonwubbels
landonwubbels

I don't know if this has already been stated but this also works in Windows 2000 Professional.

hsmithdp
hsmithdp

I tried this it is not working says station not responding Is there a port or protocol I need to make sure is not disabled?

michael
michael

There's a version of the MS Chat program on my Windows 2000 SP4 computer as well. -Michael

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

That's two more services I don't need to start up. Mr. Shultz also assumes you are using the "classic" interface. Otherwise My Computer wouldn't show up.

maanalothman
maanalothman

Thanks for the information it is the first time I use it

mikemgarro
mikemgarro

This tip, as well as many of your tips, has been a very useful resource for my new small business for Tech Support. Thank you for allowing me to add new techniques and support tools to my tech support toolbox! Michael Garro (Owner) Advanced Binary Solutions http://www.ABS-TechSupport.com

techn0gichida
techn0gichida

Why not just Skype w/Yugma? or CrossLoop? Better solutions than MS proprietary tools.

tech
tech

My network is mixed XP Pro and Vista, does Vista offer communication via this or a similarly embedded application?

harrylal
harrylal

This sounds an awful lot like IM to me

thephoton
thephoton

If you have the firewall turned off, messenger running, the services mentioned enabled and running, and reboot it still may not work. Read the posts on the rest of the web, this thing is another MS product that should have been dropped a long time ago. It should have been named WinCrap.exe.

sportsfan3787
sportsfan3787

didnt work for me, someone tried to call me from the next office and it says I did not respond. Nothing came up on my pc. What am I missing?

markku.lauren
markku.lauren

Aren't these services concidered to be a security risk?

TALKIN
TALKIN

In your article you state that this is for XP pro. Curious I have XP home srvc pk 2 I did a computer search and found that I have an executable in system 32, So I entered in the run box Winchat.exe, and the coversation box for Winchat appeared, I did start the 2 services, all works well.

breadtrk
breadtrk

This is a LAN only tool, no outside connections, leaving gaping security holes. All of the above mentioned alternatives are all web based, not internal only. This is the right tool for the job as an INTERNAL messaging system. Read the damn articles guys and then try to comprehend them.

FXEF
FXEF

I have setup winchat.exe on a home network with all XP boxes a couple of years ago, however it's a poor way to communicate. This is old technology! Back in the days before the Internet... maybe. Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11 winchat was acceptable, but not today. Out with the old... in with the new!

Young_Jedi
Young_Jedi

Both firewalls are turned off and they're on same subnet. Services are running but nothing.

mredgar2005
mredgar2005

Thanks for the article. Definitely helpful. How helpful you ask? Now I know what the hell Network DDE and Network DDSDM are for. Winchat...never probably fully implemented on any network, they have better internal LAN IM systems, for free. Thanks again!

mchagel
mchagel

Thank you. LAN only. Does not exit the premises. No perimeter breaching. Not any Nohow. Is that absolutely, unequivecolly (sp?) true? This Winchat thing adds no problems? and does not worsen any existing problems?

Mond0
Mond0

I agree. There are many better chat programs available (if that's what you want). Check out Meebo for a web interface to the most popular ones. Also, Windows XP has the old NetMeeting, but is it really necessary for the end user to see you roll your eyes as you explain (for the third time) "Click on Start..." I'd rather use one of the many remote control applications that are available. Most of them have text chat built in, which is about all I really need. Usually it's a simple "Watch closely..." and, if needed, "OK. I'll do that again."

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

Restart your system to make sure that the services are actually running.

edward_b_mccabe
edward_b_mccabe

Actually depending on the implementation. There are known vulnerabilities associated with the DDE service that can allow for remote code execution. If you're using on a closed LAN and you absolutely trust your users, your risk could be considered low. There are a number of alternatives, depending on the size of the footprint and overhead you want. Another alternative to the Chat program, for desktop support, could be using the secure versions of MS RDP or RealVNC.

edward_b_mccabe
edward_b_mccabe

Actually depending on the implementation. There are known vulnerabilities associated with the DDE service that can allow for remote code execution. If you're using on a closed LAN and you absolutely trust your users, your risk could be considered low. There are a number of alternatives, depending on the size of the footprint and overhead you want. Another alternative to the Chat program, for desktop support, could be using the secure versions of MS RDP or RealVNC.