Mastering Windows Live Messenger 9

Windows Live Messenger unquestioned leader of instant messaging, offers a new look with version 9, but also very valuable innovations.


Windows Live Messenger, which we will simply refer to as Messenger throughout our guide is undoubtedly the instant messaging software most downloaded now-a-days.

With a few innovations in terms of look: Aero interface with transparent edges in the style of Windows Vista, animations avatars (small pictures or the stylized characters that represent you), appearing in menu mouse over or sounds that trigger specific according to the people with whom you’re chatting.

But beyond trying to be trend, Messenger also offers some real changes. Thus, it is finally possible to connect to the same account from multiple machines, a valuable asset to be always online. The management of contacts has been improved: it is undoubtedly the most important messaging software. Finally, the software offers a fully integrated tool for sharing photos.

But this new version is not free of defects. Thus, the avatars in the chat windows tend to occupy a quarter of unnecessary space. Windows Live Messenger remains incompatible with every other messenger in line, except that of Yahoo!.

More seriously, advertising is increasingly intrusive and your privacy a little more risk. Thus, your photo is now visible by default to anyone. Fortunately, a few tips, tools and a little know-how can keep only the good sides of this new version. Take the time to complete the preliminary settings to protect you.

In this guide, we leave aside the installation of Messenger and its basic functions such as starting a simple conversation, to focus on the more advanced software.

Precautions to be taken care off

Windows Live Messenger has become a favorite target of spyware and other viruses. Once infected, it will try to infect all your contacts by sending them messages containing attachments. It can also offer them to click on a link if their dangerous Web browser or Windows is not fully up to date.

To avoid viruses, make sure that your correspondent who sends you this file by asking the question directly. Do not click on a link that seems unrelated to your conversation. Above all, be aware: if you do not know the sender of the message, there is every chance that this is a crab. Beyond this general advice, just adjust a few settings of Windows Live Messenger to remove most of the risk.

If you have an antivirus program that does not automatically detects new files placed on your computer, open the Tools menu, Options and File Transfer. Check the Detect viruses in files box and click the Browse button to select the executable file for your antivirus program. Check the Reject and Automatically transfer files to the kinds of dangerous file box.

Do not forget to regularly update your version of Windows (through Windows Update)! Finally, to avoid versions including spyware, do not download Messenger on a site as reliable as download.live.com/Messenger.

 

What are the main innovations of Windows Live Messenger 9

Contacts better organized

You created several contacts, but perhaps you do not interact often with two or three of them. Messenger allows you to classify them as Favorites since this seems to be the most practical, especially if you have a large number of contacts. Favorites status is marked by the band of color around their picture.

Another new feature groups that allow you to easily contact a group of people. It already existed in version 8, a group concept: it is now called Category and is used to classify its various contacts. A contact can now belong to several categories, while also belonging to Favorites or Groups. Finally, "What’s new?" Informs you of the actions of your contacts. It may be added a new contact by them, a change of image, a new post in a blog.

As to your contact list online, it is more easily readable as the status of each is indicated by a color code. Green is the online status, orange to that of absence, while the red symbolizes the status occupied. The state offline (offline) is represented by white. Finally, you can change in a few clicks the arrangement and size of contact lists.

A more visible

Your nickname or email address is with your status (available, busy, away, offline), easily identifiable by its play of colors. For purposes of simplification, other statuses, such as "back in 10 minutes", have disappeared. Below, your personal message can be changed with a single click. In addition, your photo is now surrounded by a color corresponding to your status. It is even possible to replace that image with a recorded video with your webcam and can animate depending on your "mood".

New decorations

Simply click on the top right shows a window. It allows you to customize the interface by selecting a color or a headband.

Menus more discreet

To allow more room for the interface, the menus are displayed more systematically. To display, click the icon to display.

Contextual menus

Move the mouse over the icon for a contact: the menu gives you access to the most common functions, such as sending an email or viewing the profile of this contact.

Sharing photos

Simply click on the Photos menu allows you to share images instantly. The slide show appears in both parties. At any time, anyone can add a photo with a simple drag and drop and comment on images, or save them on your hard drive.

Easier access to mail classic

Clicking this button opens your email software, such as Outlook Express. Conversely, if you are on Hotmail, it’s your browser that opens in your Inbox automatically: you do not need to enter your username and password. In addition, you can read on this button, the number of unread emails.

Windows conversation more flexible

The personal pictures on the left and the shortcut bar at the top (photos, files, etc.) can sweep in one click with a little arrow that appears very much to mouse over. The area of conversation, the top banner and the input text at the bottom can be re-sized with a bar that appears when the mouse pointer hovers over it.

 

Organize your contacts

1. Add names

To contact someone, you must first have added to your list of contacts. To do this, you generally use the Add a Contact button then enter their e-mail address. If you are using Hotmail (Windows Live), Facebook or LinkedIn, you can also import your address book in order to transform them into Messenger. To do this, click the down arrow to the right of the Add a Contact button and use the Add friends in other social networks. The wizard displays your contacts and lets you choose the ones you want to import.

2. Organize your contacts

As you have many contacts, it is convenient to group them into categories. Indeed, as your contacts can, if they so wish, change the name, it is sometimes difficult to find in a single list. Messenger offers two display modes contacts: sorted by status (available/offline) or by categories. To change this sort order, pull down the Tools menu, click Options and then choose Arrange and Organize contacts by categories.

You can then, through a simple drag and drop, put a contact in one of the groups: Friends, Colleagues, Family, etc. The new contacts are automatically placed. Note that you can also create your own categories from the Contacts menu, Create a category.

3. Create groups

If the categories are a classification of contacts, groups, new to version 9, go much further. You can get in touch by messengers or e-mail, together with all members of a group, gather in a blog, share them with an online calendar. To create a group, click the down arrow located right of the Add button and select Create Group. Enter a name and confirm with Enter. Select the e-mail addresses by clicking the Change link in your contacts list. Click on the matching contacts and press OK and then Next and Finish.

Contacts are to accept the invitation they made to enter the group. To create a discussion that brings together all the contacts (online) a group is simple: right-click the group and select Send an instant message to that group. A conversation window containing all contacts will be opened immediately. Note that the group has its own storage space (shared between group members).

4. Set bookmark

At the top of the screen, Favorites include your most important ones you want easily accessible. To add a contact to favorites, just drag in the area. In contrast to the areas or categories of groups, you can change the order of favorites by dragging the mouse up or down (or using the right mouse button and then the commands up or down).

5. Take away the unwelcome

Even if you are in the Offline state, you can always see if your contacts are online or not. You can even communicate with them. Simply, you appear "offline" to them. Also note that if you are this time in the Available state and that you block a contact, you appear to him also Offline. The best way to avoid unwelcome is to block. To do this, right click on its name and choose the Block contact. You can then, if necessary, delete it from your contacts list. In this case, it will be permanently blocked.

6. Back up your contacts

If you change your Windows Live account, you lose all your contacts and you must recreate with your new account. To avoid this inconvenience, you can save on your hard drive using the Contacts menu, Save Messenger. Once the new account is created, you reimporting using the neighbor Import Messenger.

See and talk

In your conversations, text mode is not enough? Plug in your microphone, your camera and enjoy all options of a video.

1. Hire a voice conversation

Rather than pay for telephone charges, with Messenger, you can communicate by voice completely free. You just need a webcam and a microphone. Open a conversation with one of your contacts. In the menu bar, click Call, Call a computer. A message appears in your correspondent, and asks him if he wants to establish communications. If yes, he clicks on Accept.

Once this stage is completed, discuss with your correspondent orally. With the sliders on the left side, adjust the volume level of your microphone and your speakers. To avoid the phenomena of echoes particularly unpleasant. Several manufacturers such as Belkin, offers headset or headsets (some wireless), offering greater ease of use and fully compatible with Messenger.

2. Connect and adjust your webcam

You want to see your friends or contacts? Windows Live Messenger offers the same functions that a completely free videophone. You need to configure your microphone and your webcam. To do this, pull down the Tools menu, audio and video configuration. The first step of the wizard allows you to set the microphone and speakers. Click Next to access the configuration of the webcam. To improve the brightness or contrast, click on the webcam settings and change the slider. The appearance may change from one camera to another. Confirm OK and then Finish.

3. Send your pictures

Open a window of communication with one of your contacts. He has a webcam, an icon representing it appears to the left of the Picture (icon start or stop the webcam my contact). Please note that your personal image is a similar icon. Click above to send your video to your correspondent. Once accepted by your contact, it will receive your image. For the video you want, ask your contact to do so or click the Start or stop the camera from my contact.

Once it has been accepted, you can view the video you want. On the same principle, you can send your video simultaneously to several correspondents, they are part of the same conversation or they are in separate conversations. If you prefer to directly activate the video in both directions, in other words you see two faces on the screen, click in the menu bar at the top of the conversation window on the video.

Your webcam is enabled and if your correspondent accepts the video, the webcam will be too available to him. Note that it is possible to converse with the video in full screen. You just need to click on the icon to the left of the video you want, just below the volume control.

Share files, photos and games with ease

1. Share photos

Messenger allows you to share your digital pictures with friends with ease: from now on, look at pictures together does not require long downloads. Make sure to share your images are stored preferably in Jpeg format. Open the folder with Windows Explorer. Normally start a conversation with one of your correspondents. From Explorer, open the folder containing your photos and drag an image directly into the conversation window. It appears and is sent to your correspondent. Drag the same with other images. You can comment on your photos online and go from one to the other, using the arrows at the bottom of the image. Your contact can also add your own photos.

2. Send several pictures at once

To quickly add a collection of photos in a folder, click Add more photos. Select the folder and the images (Ctrl + A to select all). Validate it by clicking on Open. If an image suggested by your correspondent you like, you can save on your hard drive using the Save button.

3. Animate your images in a slideshow

If you prefer to have more control over the photos you send, for example whether or not their registration, control the slideshow, or not allow the addition of pictures, try the MSN Slideshow shared. It works on the same principles as the sharing of images, but offers many more options. To activate the menu bar of a conversation window, choose the Activities, MSN Slideshow shared.

4. Share all types of files

You can send or receive a corresponding file of any type. Simply for that, drag the file from a Windows Explorer window in the conversion. The file will be sent once your contact has accepted, in my received files folder (a subfolder of My Documents). Note that Windows Live Messenger has banned, to prevent the spread of any virus, transmission of a program with file extension .exe. However if you are sure of your files, you can send it by compressing it to .zip file, and then drag it into the conversation window.

5. Use an online storage

If you have many files to transfer, it is better to use SkyDrive, the tool online sharing of files from Microsoft. Thus, the files remain online as your correspondents have not recovered. SkyDrive is a hard-line 25 GB free. The files contained therein may, depending on the rights that you define, be accessible to you, to all or some of your contacts, and indeed the whole world. To use SkyDrive in the conversation window, pull down the File menu, and publish files online, you are prompted to create a new folder. Enter e.g. myFiles. Determine that you want to share these files (with Everyone, You only, Select your network or people).

6. Play online

Messenger also offers you to play online with your contacts. To do this in the conversation window, pull down the Game menu and select the games available, such as Tic Tac Toe. Validate by clicking on Start Game. Your contact must click the Accept button to join the activity. You will also be at the first use of these games, install any required components. Once the installation and configuration step is finished, the game is displayed. You can simultaneously play and continue to converse. The scores can be saved in your profile!

7. Follow the news of your contacts

Located at the bottom of the Messenger main window, this new feature allows you to follow the news of his contacts such as the publication of new photos or new files, change the personal message or image profile, the addition of Comments, notes … For a complete list of events and display settings, click the icon representing a tool: it is located to the right of What’s New? Uncheck stories that do not interest you and confirm by clicking Save.

Please note that your contacts will also be informed of events that affect you. Click the Manage your news link to enable or disable the information you provide. More generally, to control all the permissions that you grant it or not, place your mouse on your personal image and select the View your profile and once it is posted, click on the Permissions link.

8. Share your contacts

You want to convey to a third party your contacts: no need to dictate to an individual address. In the Messenger window general, pull down the Contacts menu, Save Messenger. For example, select the Office folder to save the Contacts and confirm with Save. This file lists all your contacts: If necessary, you can easily (and safely) remove some using Windows Notepad.

Start a conversation and then drag the file from the desktop to the conversation window. Your contact must then click on Save As and choose a destination folder. He finally simply click on the Menu icon in the main window, select Contacts, Import Contacts, then select the file from being downloaded. After clicking Open and then click Yes, the new contacts are added immediately.

Customize Windows Live Messenger 9

Several customization features, previously available through the addition of programs are now integrated. What Windows Live Messenger design suits you!

1. Change of scenery

To give another tone for your conversation, you can change the appearance of chat windows by changing the background and the colors used. The people with whom you talk will enjoy your new surroundings. Simply click on the icon Change your scenery that appears when you move the mouse in the upper right corner of the main window. The window that appears with all the backgrounds available. Select the one that you like the most, and if necessary change the color. Confirm by clicking OK.

Then open a conversation window. If it does not use the new setting, right-click near the name you want and select the Use the default setting. The screen is updated. You can also add a background image or animation for this conversation: click the View menu at the top right and pull down the Tools option, Background. Select the background you want and press OK. Your contact will then adapt the new background.

2. Modify your signature

When you install Messenger, you have chosen a username, nickname, and a personal message. It is possible at any time to modify such data and even change the appearance of your name. To do this, pull down the Tools menu, Options and select the Personal tab. Click Format. Choose a typographical enhancement (bold, underline …) and select a color from the colors displayed. By clicking the T button to the right, you can use special effects, such as a gradient to the color of your name. When you are finished, click OK.

3. Add Emoticons

Emoticons (or smileys) that come with Messenger is not enough for you? Want to Add new one?. One solution is to "borrow" those of your correspondents recording on your hard drive, the emoticons that you use in your conversations. To do this, right click on the emoticon coveted and select Add. Enter an abbreviation (several letters) in the Keyboard Shortcut field and possibly a name. Validate by clicking Add. To insert the emoticon in a conversation, just type the abbreviation chosen.

4. See free smileys catalogs

Microsoft and many other providers offer to buy new ones. But you can find many free from sites like The Planet-Smiley. To obtain them, choose a category from the list on the left: the animations appear. Right-click the one you want, choose Save Image As and save it on your hard drive. To add to your list of icons, click in the conversation window on the View menu icon in the top right and pull down the Tools menu, Emoticons. Click the Create button, then click Find Image. Select the image previously uploaded and confirm with Open. Enter a keyboard shortcut and optionally a name. Click OK then OK again.

5. Create animated avatar

With your webcam, you can now create your own animated avatar. This film will replace your personal image displayed in the upper left. Messenger allows you, in addition, to create four other videos (or photos) that will symbolize your mood. Within a conversation window, if you use one of the four emoticons Smile, Wink, or Frown your personal image will be replaced for a few seconds with this small film, to give more originality to your profile.

To express your talent, click in the main window, on your personal image. Click the animated image (the function is only available if you have a webcam). Click below on by default, and then click to save video to your avatar standard: your webcam record four seconds of video. It "turns" in a loop to form your avatar. Do this to save the four videos emoticons. Confirm by OK then Done. To view the results, open a conversation window: your avatar is animated and changes if you enter for example).

6. Change the sounds Messenger

Messenger alerts you with a beep when an event occurs, a message arrived, one of your contacts just connect. Soon, these sounds can become annoying, especially in an office. You can change the sound played in each event. To do this, click the View menu and choose the Tools, Options. Click Sounds. Select, for example, Connections contacts. You can affect the sound of your choice by ticking the box (or no sound). Validate by OK. It is also possible to associate a sound to a particular contact. In the main window, right-click a contact and select the Choose the sounds associated with that contact. In the list, choose Connect and select for example Gong. This sound will be played when that contact comes online.

7. Choose the place of registration of files exchanged

By default, the files you receive are saved in the folder files from a subfolder of My Documents. You can easily change the location. To do this, pull down the Tools menu, click Options and then File Transfer and Change.

8. Save conversations

If you want to keep track of conversations that you exchange, pull down the Tools menu, Options, select the Messages tab, and check the Automatically. If you do save time as a conversation, click the View menu in the top right of the conversation window and select the File, Save. To retrieve archived conversations, pull down the File menu, show the history of conversations. The conversation can be copied and pasted into a word processor.

9. Change the appearance of messages

Font, color, appearance of your messages may reflect the tone you want them: to change, click in the bottom of the conversation on the icon Change the font or color of the text. You can also draw messages by clicking on the Write or draw by hand.

 

Go farther with Messenger Plus

Messenger Plus! Live is a free tool, not supplied by Microsoft but officially validated. It adds many functions to Windows Live Messenger and greater configuration flexibility.

1. Install the software

Messenger Plus! Live, this free software is particularly easy to install. In the second stage proposed by the wizard, check the box: I refuse to lend my support, do not install the sponsor not to install the module which is advertising a spyware. For all other stages, keep the default options.

2. Change the look of Messenger

Skins can quickly change the look of Messenger. Click on the Messenger Plus icon in the top right and then click Skin Messenger and download new skins. Choose your favorite model by ensuring the compatibility with the 2009 version – 9.0 and click on Download, then click the Open button and Import. To restore the standard look, click the Messenger Plus icon, then click Options and Preferences. Activate the Skins tab, then Customize and check the appearance standard. Validate by OK.

3. Add emotional sounds

The "Emotion-icons", on the principle of emoticons, are sounds associated with words (such as emoticons are icons replacing words). You can easily add to the conversation by clicking in a conversation window, the icon Emoti-icons, at the bottom. Then click on the word that you want to insert. You can also create your own emotion-icons by clicking library sounds.

4. Archive your conversation

We saw above that it was possible to record your conversations. With Messenger Plus, this archive allows you to preserve your typographic options exchanges (colors, fonts, emoticons …). It is also possible to search in order to easily find an old discussion. To do this, click on the Messenger Plus icon and then click History Manager. The dialogues are displayed by date. To find a particular conversation, click the Search button. Enter a keyword and validate by clicking on Search. The results are displayed just below. Double-click the conversation to view it. You will find all the parameters for archiving by clicking on the Messenger Plus, then Options and Preferences tab and then on Conversation. Thus, the encryption option allows you to protect you against the archived conversations indiscretions. A specific password is needed to access it.

5. Add tabs conversation

As in Internet Explorer, you can organize your conversations tabs, each associated with a different tab. To do this, view the Options and Preferences as before and Conversations: click on tabs and check the Enable tabs. Validate by OK. Each new conversation will now have a tab at the top of the screen.

6. Log in to multiple accounts

You have multiple accounts (usernames) Messenger: for example, one for work and one personal. It is possible to run two instances of Messenger and to be connected simultaneously to both accounts. To do this, open the Options and Preferences of Messenger Plus, select the Custom tab! And check the first box. Validate by OK. Start a second Messenger via the Start menu, Windows Live Messenger: a second login window opens. Enter your second username and password and connect.

 

Getting Remote Assistance from a friend

1. Ask for assistance to a friend

You have a problem with your computer? With Remote Assistance built into Messenger, ask a friend to take control of your machine and resolve your problems directly. A very interesting solution that saves significant time and avoid many misunderstandings.

2. Prepare your computer

You must first activate the permissions necessary for the proper functioning of this service. To do this, open the Windows Control Panel and double-click System. Under Vista, click the Settings link for remote use. Under XP, enable the Remote tab. Check the Allow connections to remote assistance to this computer (or Authorize sending invitations Remote Assistance from that computer).

Validate by OK. Do not worry: by activating this option, you do not have access to your machine to anyone. Thanks to the different permissions that you must then issue, nobody can use your knowledge to your computer. In addition, you monitor the transactions made by the person who supports you and can at any time such assistance.

3. Ask for help

For security reasons, it is your responsibility to ask for help from one of your contacts and not the reverse. From a conversation window, pull down the menu Activities Request Remote Assistance. Your contact receives a request it must accept by clicking the link. Once that’s done, Remote Assistance will ask for a password. Enter the word twice and confirm by OK. Your contact is then prompted to enter the same password. If it does not, you can simply send it via the discussion Messenger.

Attention, this is valid only during the connection! A new password will be asked if you are of a subsequent request for assistance at a distance, albeit with the same person. After your correspondent took the password, you must confirm that you allow to connect to your machine. To do this, click Yes button. Therefore, your "assistant" will see your computer screen as a window into his own.

4. Check the assistance

On your side, a control window appears: it allows you at any time to terminate assistance. It also allows you to use the integrated chat remote control. Depending on what your correspondent, it is sometimes easier for him to make you use this tool better suited to the Remote Assistance dialog that classic Messenger (which is still usable). For now, your friend can only "See" your desktop. For he has his hand on the keyboard and mouse, he must click on the icon Ask share control of the other computer at the top of the window for assistance.

You will need to validate his claim by ticking the box and by validating Yes. Your assistant can then (and under your control) to carry out all operations required, as if he were sitting at your PC. Note that you can also exchange files between your computer and yours. Once the intervention is complete, one of you must click on the Disconnect button. You can continue your normal conversation in Messenger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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