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Published on 06.20.06 by Brent Trahan

Live Messenger Basics

This guide shows you how to install, logon, configure a few basic options, add contacts, and chat with friends on Live Messenger.

Learn the basics of Microsoft’s Live Messenger.  This guide shows you how to install, logon, configure a few basic options, add contacts, and chat with friends on Live Messenger.

Installation and Logon

First off you need Live Messenger.  If you don’t have Live Messenger visit the Live Messenger home page where you can download and install it.

When Live Messenger opens for the first time you’ll see a logon window similar to the screen shot below.


Type your Hotmail, Windows Live ID, or other e-mail address that’s registered with Windows Passport ID under e-mail address.  Type your password in the password box.

If you want to chat on Live Messenger with a non Hotmail or Windows Live e-mail address check out my Create a Windows Live ID or Microsoft Passport ID with Your Non Hotmail or Windows Live E-mail Address guide.

You can set your status to online, busy, out-to-lunch, and many more next to status if you’d like.  This can be left alone because Live Messenger handles most of this for you on its own.

If you want Live Messenger to remember your e-mail address check off remember me so you don’t have to type it in the e-mail address box the next time you logon.  If more than one people logon to your computer you can click the down arrow on the far right side of the e-mail address box to select your e-mail address from a list of people Live Messenger is set to remember.

If you want Live Messenger to remember your password check off remember my password.  If you check this off anyone can use your account simply by selecting your e-mail address from the drop down list under e-mail address.  Using this feature is not recommended if you’re using a public computer because people can easily login as you and check your e-mail and other things.

You can have Live Messenger automatically logon to your account every time Live Messenger starts by checking off sign me in automatically.  This is also not a good idea on a public computer.

If you don’t have an account for using Live Messenger click the get a new account link at the bottom of the Live Messenger logon window.  You’ll be brought to a webpage that walks you through creating a new Windows Live ID.

Setting Basic Options

Once you are logged in there are a few basic options I like to change that make Live Messenger a little better keeping it out of the way in my opinion.

Click the show menu button 2showmenu.png located at the top right of the Live Messenger’s main window.  Point at tools and click on options.


The first window you’ll see is the personal options window.


I like to use my name or nickname instead of my e-mail address as my display name.  You can type the name you want to use under type your name as you want others to see it.  You can also have a short personal message after your name.  Type your short message (not required) under type a personal message for your contacts to see.  If you use Windows Media Player to listen to music you can let others know what you’re listening to by checking off show song information from Windows Media Player…

If you want to change your display picture click the change picture button.  Your display picture is a small picture that’s associated with your account.  It appears in the chat window when you are chatting with a friend.  If you don’t want a display picture uncheck show my display picture and allow others to see it.

I hate it when I try to chat with others and they are not at their computer.  Do people trying to chat with you a favor and set Live Messenger to show you as away after 10 minutes of inactivity on your computer by typing 10 in the box under my status.  Make sure that option is checked off as well.

Click on the general tab on the left of the options window.


I like to set Live Messenger to automatically login to my account when I turn on my computer or start Live Messenger.  I also don’t want Live Messenger to open to its full screen when I turn on my computer and show the live today window.  This makes Live Messenger stay out of the way until I’m ready to use it but logs me in at the same time.

Click the screen shot above to see how my settings are set and set yours like mine if you’d like.

Adding Contacts

Click the add contact button next to the find a contact or number box on the main Live Messenger window.


You should see a window similar to the screen shot shown below.


Type the contacts e-mail address under instant messaging address.  If you want you can add all kinds of information about this contact by clicking the various tabs on the left of the add a contact window.  The only information needed to add a contact is their e-mail address.

Click save when you are finished.

Before you can chat with that person they have to accept you adding them to your contact list.  They will see a message like the one below.  If they don’t accept you as a contact you can’t chat with them.


If you ever see a popup window like the one above, make sure you allow them to see when you are online and add them to your contact list by using the settings you see in the screen shot above and clicking OK.


Double-click a contact you want to chat with in the main Live messenger window.  The MAXIMUMpcguides contact is highlighted in the screen shot below.


Below is a screen shot of a typical chat window.


Type you message you want to send to your friend in the box at the bottom left of the chat window and press enter on your keyboard or click send in the chat box to send your message to them.  What you and your friend types will show up in the window at the top left of the chat window.

You can chat with more than one person at a time by clicking the invite button located at the top left of a chat window of someone you’re chatting with.


Select the contact(s) you want to invite to chat with you and click OK.


Now all the people you’re chatting with will appear in the top right of the chat window.


You can also send emoticons (funny smiley faces) and all kinds of other things in the menu just above where you type your messages in the chat window.


Play with the menu and try them out.

Now you know the basics of chatting with friends on Live Messenger.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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7 Responses to “Live Messenger Basics”

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  1. bbsan says:

    Thank you for this information. When I login to Live Messenger, my online status is automatically set to Busy. I change it to Online every time, but it returns to Busy the next time I log on.


  2. Brent Trahan says:

    This happens to me on occasion but it has always corrected itself on its own. I always assumed it was a glitch on Microsoft’s system but I could be wrong.

  3. sephster says:

    Same here! This is soooo annoying. Well, there is at least -one- other person with this problem!

  4. David Dean says:

    I am having the same problem and have not found a solution. I even tried uninstalling and reinstalling Live Messenger. It is very annoying. I am getting close to uninstalling it permanently.

  5. maria says:

    when will it be ready

  6. maria says:

    can i have a msm to tlak ?

  7. Amy says:

    How do I configure windows media player and my msn messenger to show what song I am playing while I am online. I clicked the box in options but nothing happened.

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