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Windows XP includes the Windows Messenger program that you can use to send instant messages to other Messenger users on the Internet or on a network.

Windows Messenger is an instant messaging program that you can use to:
  • View your contacts who are online.
  • Send an instant message.
  • Call a contact's computer.
  • Send someone a file.
  • Have an instant message conversation with a group of friends.
  • Invite someone to play a game.
  • Be notified of new e-mail messages from your Hotmail account.
This article explains how to use the main features of Windows Messaging.

How to Sign Up for a Microsoft Passport

Before you use Windows Messenger, you must sign up for a Microsoft Passport:
  1. Click Start, point to All Programs, and then click Windows Messenger.
  2. Click Click here to sign in. You are prompted for your Microsoft Passport name and password.
  3. Click Get a .NET Passport, and then follow the steps in the .NET Passport Wizard.

How to Use Windows Messenger

After you complete the .NET Passport Wizard, you can use Windows Messenger to send instant messages to other users.

To use Windows Messenger, click the Windows Messenger icon in the status area of the taskbar.

How to Send an Instant Message

To send an instant message:
  1. Click the Windows Messenger icon in the status area of the taskbar.
  2. Point to Send an Instant Message, and then click the name of the person who you want to contact.
  3. Type your message, and then click Send or press ENTER. Your message is then displayed to your contact.
  • In the status bar of the instant message window, you can view when the other person is typing, as well as the date and time of the last message that you received.
  • To start a new paragraph in your message, hold down the SHIFT key, and then press ENTER.
  • Click Show Emoticons on the Edit menu to turn emoticons on or off.
  • Each message can be up to 400 characters in length.

How to Add a Contact to Your List

To add a contact to your list:
  1. Click Add.
  2. Follow the instructions in the Add a Contact wizard.
  • If you click By e-mail address or sign-in name, click Next and, if necessary, click the service that your contact uses. Type the person's e-mail address. The wizard checks to see if this person has a Passport.

    If the person has a Passport, their name is added to your contact list.
  • Click Search for a contact, click Next, and then type the person's first and last name.
  • In the Search for this person at box, click the directory that you want to search, and then click Next.
  • If you find the person for whom you are looking, click their name, and then click Next to see if they have a Passport.

    If the person has a Passport, Windows Messenger cannot reveal their e-mail address, but can send an e-mail message that explains how they can install Windows Messenger. You are added to their contact list.

    If the person does not have a Passport, you are prompted to send an e-mail message that invites this person to obtain a Passport and to download Windows Messenger.
  • When you click Search for a contact, you cannot use wildcards characters or asterisks (*) when you type the name.
  • If you click Search for a contact and you do not see Address Book in the list, you have no names in your Microsoft Windows Address Book.

    To open the Address Book, click Start, point to More Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Address Book. The Address Book is also available in Microsoft Outlook Express.
  • You can add up to 150 contacts to your list of contacts and you can send an instant message to anyone who uses Windows Messenger, even if they are not in your address book.

How to Send a File

To send a file:
  1. Choose the contact to whom you want to send the file by using one of the following methods:
    • Right-click the name of an online contact, and then click Send a File

    • Click Send a File To on the File menu, and then click a contact's name.

    • On the File menu, click Send a File.
  2. In the Send a File dialog box, click the file that you want to send, and then click Open.

    The request to transfer the file is sent and you are notified when it is accepted by the recipient. Until the recipient accepts the file, you can click Cancel to stop the file transfer.
  • You can send a file to anyone who has a Passport. (Passports can be granted to any e-mail address). On the File menu, click Send a File To, and then click Other. Type the person's Passport address.
  • If you are on a local area network that is behind a firewall (as you may be in a corporation), you may be unable to send files to contacts outside of the firewall. If you are in this situation, you can use Hotmail to send files.

How to Let Others Know That You Are Not Available

To let others know that you are not available:
  1. Click your name, and then click the item that best describes your status.

  2. Click the Windows Messenger icon in the status area of the taskbar, point to My Status, and click the item that best describes your status.

  3. On the File menu, point to My Status, and then click the item that best describes your status.
You continue to receive instant messages; however, if you choose Busy or On The Phone, the message window does not flash, and you do not hear the message-notification sound.

Note: You are marked as Away while your screen saver is running.

How to Read E-mail Messages

To read e-mail messages:
  • Click the link that displays how many e-mail messages you have. When you do this, your default e-mail program starts.

  • On the Tools menu, click My Hotmail Inbox or My E-mail Inbox (this changes depending on your Internet service provider [ISP]).

    This takes you directly to the inbox of your default mail program, for example, to your Hotmail Inbox.
NOTE: If you disable the Enable JavaScript setting in Netscape Navigator version 4.0 and you are trying to connect to your Hotmail account, the Hotmail sign-in page is displayed instead of your Hotmail Inbox.

How to Send E-mail to a Contact

To send e-mail to a contact:
  1. Right-click the name of the contact to whom you want to send an e-mail message (the contact can be online or offline), and then click Send Mail.
  2. If you sign in by using a Hotmail or MSN Internet Access account, the Hotmail Compose page is displayed with a pre-addressed e-mail message.
  3. If you sign in by using any other kind of Passport account, the default mail program on your computer (such as Outlook Express) starts with a pre-addressed e-mail message.
  4. To send an e-mail message to someone who is not on your list of contacts, click Send Mail on the Tools menu to open either the Hotmail Compose page or your default mail program.

How to Call a Computer

If your computer has a microphone, a sound card, and speakers, you can call an online contact and talk. To call a computer, click Call, and then use one of these steps:
  • Point to the person who you want to call, and then click Computer.

  • Right-click the name of an online contact, point to Call, and then click Computer.

  • Click Start talking on the Sidebar.

    If the Sidebar is not displayed, click Sidebar on the View menu.
If a contact does not accept your invitation, the person may not have a sound card or a microphone.

Note: If you are on a local area network (LAN) behind a firewall (for example, if you are on a corporate network), you can talk to someone who is behind the same firewall that you are, but you may not be able to connect on a computer-to-computer call with someone who is outside of the firewall.

For information about using Windows Messenger, click the Help menu in Windows Messenger.


Article ID: 307887 - Last Review: February 19, 2013 - Revision: 2.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows Messenger 4.0
  • Microsoft Windows Messenger 4.5
  • Microsoft Windows Messenger 4.6
kbhowtomaster kbenv kbhowto KB307887
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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