Tech Tip: Send broadcast messages the easy way in Windows XP

Follow these steps to uncover and use the Send Console Message tool.

If you use the Windows Messenger Service to distribute broadcast messages to users on your network, chances are good that you're doing it the hard way—from the command line via the DOS-based Net Send command.

But hidden deep within the Windows XP operating system is the Send Console Message tool, which works just like the old WinPopup utility in Windows 9x. Unfortunately, Microsoft hid it so well that most IT professionals don't know it exists.

Here's how to uncover and use the Send Console Message tool. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to Start | Control Panel, and double-click Administrative Tools.
  2. Double-click Computer Management.
  3. Go to Action | All Tasks | Send Console Message.

Windows will open the Send Console Message tool, but you need to add computer names to the Recipients list. Follow these steps:

  1. Click the Add button.
  2. In the Select Computer dialog box, click Advanced.
  3. Click Find Now.
  4. Select the computers, and click OK to exit both dialog boxes.

You can now type messages in the Message text box and click the Send button to broadcast messages to the users on your network.

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