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Windows Messenger ‘Trojan update’

How to kill it, how Redmond resurrects it

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

This is too cute. You can wipe Windows Messenger from XP with a simple hack, and yet MS will defy you with a 'Critical Update'. That's how desperate they are to force this little Trojan on you.

Following a tip from a Messenger-averse reader whose uninstall got thwarted, I looked into it, starting with a clean install of Win-XP. Messenger was, of course, lurking in the background and consuming RAM though I have no use for it. And of course MS doesn't allow you to uninstall it.

But that doesn't make it impossible. NTcompatible.com has a very simple hack which will allow you to use the Windows add/remove feature in Control Panel to get rid of the offending progie.

Use a text editor to open C:\WINDOWS\inf\sysoc.inf, and change
msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7 to
msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,,7

That's it. Messenger will now appear in the add/remove application under Windows Components where you can uninstall it.

Enjoy the fact that this irritating memory-resident progie is no longer consuming RAM and haranguing you to obtain an MS Passport every time you reboot.

But that's not the end of it.

No, there's a 'Critical' item which MS foists on you during Windows Update. It's called the 'Windows Messenger 4.6 Connectivity Update', and MS "strongly recommends that you download the update even if you don't use Windows Messenger."

It's that last bit, acknowledging the fact that you might not use Messenger, which makes it seem benign. Surely, this fix has more to do with some idiosyncrasy in 'Windows connectivity' than Messenger itself. Right?

And when we consult the related MS 'knowledge base' article, we're told that "to improve connectivity and system performance, even if you do not use Windows Messenger, Microsoft recommends that you install this update."

Man, they desperately want you to install this fix.

And the result? Do you get 'better connectivity and system performance?' Of course not. The only result is that Messenger is now back on your machine, consuming RAM even when you have no use for it, and haranguing you to obtain an MS Passport.

The only thing this Critical Update does is integrate Messenger into Outlook Express. And by default it runs on startup, and runs in the background. So now you have to go to Outlook Express/Tools/Windows Messenger/Options/Preferences, and turn it off.

Assuming, of course, that you already uninstalled it according to the instructions above. Otherwise it will run no matter what you do. ®

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