Windows

Disable Windows Messenger on a Windows XP machine

It's the app that won't go away. If you've removed Windows Messenger -- or so you've thought -- in favor of a different chat and videoconferencing application but still can't seem to get rid of it, Greg Shultz will tell you how to banish it from your Windows XP machine for good.

If you're using MSN Messenger as your chat and videoconferencing tool, you may never use Windows Messenger anymore and have removed it from the startup group to keep it out of your way. However, you may have seen it pop up on occasion and had to struggle with closing it down. The reason that Windows Messenger makes these impromptu appearances is that Outlook, Outlook Express and even some Microsoft Web pages can still make it load automatically. Fortunately, you can banish Windows Messenger from your desktop by making an alteration to the local group policy with the Group Policy Editor. Here's how:

  1. Access the Run dialog box by pressing [Windows][R]
  2. In the Open text box type Gpedit.msc and click OK to launch the Group Policy Editor.
  3. Go to Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Windows Messenger.
  4. Double-click the Do Not Allow Windows Messenger To Be Run setting.
  5. In the resulting dialog box, select the Enabled option, and click OK
  6. Close the Group Policy Editor.

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.

9 comments
thdsuh
thdsuh

This is still a pretty good little tip really. I was next to a computer consultant the other day who was still using win mess. I told him to get msn and he was like duh. computer virus

zacker71
zacker71

This work only for Windows Messenger not Windows Live. To do it with Windows Live you have to use gpedit again and go in computer configuration, Windows Settings, Security Settings and Software Restriction Policies. Add a new software resctriction policy then create a hash rule with the Windows Live exe file(msnmsgr.exe). This work fine until somebody install an other version of the software. It work with any software that you want to restrict. I heard about an other way via the registry that is work with the name of the file instead of the hash, but I don't know how to configure it.

hans.ringstrand
hans.ringstrand

THIS was a useful tip! (I hope it works for Vista as well) Thanx /Skreddarn

quantumparticle@gmail.com
quantumparticle@gmail.com

Why not just go into add/remove programs, select add/remove components, and remove windows messenger all together? Just another option if you don't need the old version.

kcs3295
kcs3295

I use XP home the most and does not have the gpedit feature, or at least the full features of group policy editor with XP Pro. Click Start > Run & enter msconfig, then select Startup tab and scroll down to msmsgs and uncheck and click apply. A nag screen will alway appear with every startup of having changed your configuration unless you select do not show again. I alway leave this as a reminder as I usually want to be reminded as there are many choices that can be made. Such as usually disabling your anti-virus for new software installs that may not otherwise install properly, and easy to re-activate. Ken

nepenthe0
nepenthe0

When I purchased my Sony desktop Nov'06, the first step in my configuration agenda was to uncheck all unneeded 'services' from Add/Remove Windows Components. 'Messenger' was the first item removed. I don't use it, and will never miss it. There is another 'Messenger' service, however, tied to an 'Alerter' service, which is likewise non-essential, because I have disabled the service in Admin Tools and all my applications work just fine. So my question to you is: What is the difference between Windows 'Messenger' (Add/Remove Windows Components) and Windows 'Messenger' (Administrative Tools)? Rick/Portland, OR

gogin1971
gogin1971

Windows Messenger (component) is an instant messaging application to communicate with the world. Windows Messenger (service) is a netsend and alerter transport used to transmit alerts inside the system and notify about networks. Either one is non-essential.

nepenthe0
nepenthe0

Thank you, Gogin. Rick/Portland, OR