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  1. #1
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    Which Messenger?

    Hi,

    There seems to be a dichotomy of Messenger programs running around. There is 'Windows Messenger' (latest version 4.7) and 'MSN Messenger' (latest version 5.0).

    Does anyone know what the difference is and which one I should use?

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Re: Which Messenger?

    Hi, Adam ~

    Please see my recent post Windows Messenger vs. MSN Messenger (4.7 vs. 5).

  3. #3
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    Re: Which Messenger?

    There is another significant difference between Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger that has become a widely discussed issue recently--it has to do with <font color=red>Spam and Prolific Pop Up Spam</font color=red> not aesthetics. This form of spam is called "messenger spam," and you are wide open for it if you have Windows XP, 2000, NT and an internet connection because by default Windows Messenger--nothing to do with MSN Messenger-- loads on startup with these three OS's. Microsoft has used this service for years to send messages between servers and clients. Here's their official description: "Transmits "net send" and Alerter service messages between clients and servers. This service is not related to Windows Messenger. If this service is stopped, Alerter messages will not be transmitted. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

    The ethical use turns the messenger service into a handy tool for system administrators. They can monitor servers and send out status pop-ups if a problem occurs. The non-ethical use of the messenger service turns it into an untraceable spam tool. The problem here is that anyone can send messages though the messenger service, not just system administrators. The command to send a message is called "net send" and can be executed from the command prompt. Spammers will automate this process using batch files so that they can send hundreds of messages per hour. You're probably saying to yourself, "No one knows my IP address. I'm safe." Not true. You and your hidden messenger service can easily be detected by running a simple port scan across a range of IP addresses. The messenger service is part of the Netbios service that runs on TCP port 139. To detect potential targets, the spammer will scan IP addresses with port 139 open. On several random scans, nearly 40% of 200 computers were open for attack just now. Using this method thousands of open IP addresses can be harvested and spammed per hour. Fortunately there is an easy way to protect yourself; you must turn off the messenger service from within XP/2K/NT. Remember, if you are behind a firewall/corporate network you are most likely safe (as long as port 139 is blocked):

    To turn off the messenger service in XP:


    1) Click on the Start button and open the control panel.
    2) Open the Performance and Maintenance control panel and go to Administrative Tools.
    3)Now double-click on Services, then scroll to Messenger.
    4) Double-click Messenger and click Stop to stop the service.
    5) Change the startup type to Disable

    For reference see:
    Hofstra University School of Law: Computer Tips on Windows Messenger Service
    How Can I Block Those Annoying Windows Messenger Spam Popups?
    Notice Regarding MSN Messenger Spam for Roadrunner Business Class Security
    Broadband Reports.com Security: Messenger Service Popups

    SMBP

  4. #4
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    Re: Which Messenger?

    Thanks very much Bruce for making sense of this typical mess from MS.

    I think I will hang on to both programs for now.

    What makes it even more confusing is that at the bottom of my Windows Messenger window there is a box displaying the words 'MSN Messenger'! <img src=/S/hairout.gif border=0 alt=hairout width=31 height=23>

  5. #5
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    Re: Which Messenger?

    Excellent description, Bruce. MS has really two related bad habits:

    1) They name different things very similarly.
    2) They use several different names for the exact same thing.

    All part of the fun of working with PC's... <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

  6. #6
    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Re: Which Messenger?

    @R2 ~ Thank you. Yes, MS does have a penchant for the odd naming habits. <img src=/S/doh.gif border=0 alt=doh width=15 height=15>

    @Adam ~ You are welcome. In Windows Messenger, click on 'Tools' > 'Add-Ins' > and clear the check next to 'MSN'. This will rid you of seeing the annoying ads by MSN that rotate at the bottom. Also, whilst in 'Tools', you may also wish to > 'Show Tabs' > clear check next to 'Microsoft .NET Alerts'. The ads are, nonetheless, continuing to rotate behind your back and robbing you of bandwidth. You can do this:<UL><LI>Exit out of Messenger completely from the system tray icon<LI>Navigate to Cocuments and SettingsYourUserNameLocal SettingsTemp<LI>Locate the file 'links.txt'<LI>Open the file in Notepad<LI>Select & delete the entire contents of the file (bunch of ad links)<LI>Save the file<LI>Right-click the file and choose 'Properties'<LI>Check 'Read-Only' so Messenger will be unable to write new links to the file[/list]Now when you open Messenger, there will be one basic MSN logo in the buddy list instead of rotating ads being fetched. If you would like to change that logo to one of your own or wish to change the 'buddy' icon on background, let me know <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

  7. #7
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    Re: Which Messenger?

    Excellent stuff again Bruce, thanks.

    Bandwidth is precious to me as I have a very slow connection at the moment, so I have taken the steps you suggested.

  8. #8
    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Re: Which Messenger?

    Hi, Adam & SMBP ~

    In response to the above, this is not true. There seems to be some very common confusion w/ the redundant naming, typical of MS.

    With apologies to SMBP, 'Windows Messenger' the instant messaging chat program, often incorrectly referred to as 'Messenger Service' in MS's own articles, has absolutely nothing to do with the Windows 'Messenger Service', whose actual proper name is Microsoft's 'Messenger Windows Service' (and sometimes a.k.a 'Messenger Communication Service') which simply transmits 'net send' & 'Alerter' service messages between clients and servers, designed to be used by administrators to send messages to users on a network.

    This service is not related to either 'Windows Messenger' or 'MSN Messenger' instant messaging programs.

    I had to re-read this 3 times because it does get confusing! <IMG SRC=http://www.krymow.com/images/_silly.gif>

    I do agree and recommend the 'Messenger Windows Service' (b.k.a 'Messenger Service' in MMC) be stopped and disabled as SMBP outlined, but this has no relevance nor bearing on the confusingly similarly named 'Windows Messenger' or 'MSN Messenger' IM programs.

    You cannot get 'messenger spam' or 'pop-up spam' on 'Windows Messenger' or 'MSN Messenger' IM programs.

    Other than the fact that only 'Windows Messenger' can connect to the 'Communications Service' and 'Exchange Instant Messaging', which are only used in corporations, the 'browsing the web together feature' and a few insignificant details, the difference is merely aesthetic with 'Windows Messenger' being tightly integrated into the XP OS.

    For a side by side comparison of features, tile the MSN Messenger feature page juxtaposed with the Windows Messenger feature page. Microsoft refers to them as client 1 & client 0 respectively <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

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