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Nuking MS Messenger

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

We've been blessed with scores of memos from readers offering numerous tips for nuking Microsoft Messenger, since we reported that an update which MS is touting as 'critical' sneakily re-installs it.

First, if you're sure you'll never use it, you can take the flamethrower approach and delete the entire Messenger directory (C:\Program Files\Messenger). The problem here is that some future MS 'upgrade' may well re-create the directory for you. You know how helpful MS likes to be.

Next, you might try re-naming the executable, msmsgs.exe to, say, msmsgs.bak, and then re-creating the executable with a blank file. This might (or might not) trick upgrade packages into assuming that your irritating little Messenger is up to snuff.

Another method is to open Start/Run, and type in:
RunDll32 advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection %windir%\INF\msmsgs.inf,BLC.Remove

The following only applies to XP-Pro:

If you only want to stop it running and prefer to leave it on the machine in case you ever decide to use it, you can go to Start/Run and enter gpedit.msc. Then go to: Computer Configuration/Administrative Template/Windows Components/Windows Messenger/ "Do not allow Windows Messenger to be run" and choose "Enabled".

For XP Home Edition users, MS recommends the following rather complicated routine, which will persuade most users to delete the Messenger directory instead, we're sure. We quote:

1.. Start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).

2.. Locate and click the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft

3.. On the Edit menu, point to New, click Key, and then type Messenger for the name of the new registry key.

4.. Locate and click the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Messenger

5.. On the On the Edit menu, point to New, click Key, and then type Client for the name of the new registry key.

6.. Locate and click the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Messenger\Client

7.. On the Edit menu, point to New, click DWORD Value, and then type PreventRun for the name of the new DWORD value.

8.. Right-click the PreventRun value that you created, click Modify, type 1 in the Value data box, and then click OK.

And we'll note that you should always back-up your registry before hacking it, even with instructions from Redmond.

I haven't had a chance to thank everyone individually for their contributions, but believe me, if I missed you I'm nonetheless grateful for the effort, and El Reg's beloved readers will no doubt appreciate it just as much.

Hats off -- you know who you are. ®

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