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MSN Chatrooms and MSN Messenger


MSN Chatrooms and MSN Messenger

Could someone who's more au fait with Microsoft technologies and business than I am, please tell me the connection, if any, between MSN Messenger and the MSN Chatrooms.

What impact does MS's decision to close most of its MSN chatrooms have on MSN Messenger, if any? Is MSN Messenger required to access these chatrooms? If so, is it likely that MS's development of MSN Messenger will be reduced, or does the product have uses outside of MSN chatrroms (and would it be required, anyway, for those MSN chatrooms which remain)?

As I understand it Windows Messenger is a different product from MSN Messenger, albeit fulfilling a similar function. Does this mean the future of Windows Messenger is completely independent of MSN chat and/or MSN Messenger?

MSN Chatrooms and MSN Messenger

It is just MSN Chat rooms via their website, not MSN Messenger or Windows Messenger...both will be continued.

MSN Chatrooms and MSN Messenger

So the MSN Chatrooms use HTTP?

Whats The Difference?

There was a very good article recently in the Guardain Online about this subject of MS Chat rooms. Having used Microsoft products for over 10 years now and having seen the way Microsoft behaves as a corporation (as a company) I for one am TOTALLY cynical about Microsofts motives for closing its MS Chat rooms service. I fundamentally agree with the Guardian journalist that the closure of this service has very little to do with protecting children and vulnerable young people for those who would prey on them sexually and everything to do with saving money (whilst having what appears to be good PR at the same time!!).

**The servers on which MS Chat are hosted cost money & the service has to be moderated which also cost's wages. Closure saves MS both.

**Basically as far as I can see the problem or difference between MS Chat and the associated chat rooms is that. 1) MS Chat was provided as a freebee service by MS.

2) MS Chat & chat rooms allow a person to hide their REAL identity behined the technology if they so choose (and use a fake or other online identity) so for example someone who calls themselves "firebird" could be male or female and you have no way to know, nor where they are located nor how old they are.
(Hence the problem of tracking down users who might abuse the service,which they increasing did of course!)

3) In MS Chat & Chat rooms its possible to go into a private chat room with another person and your communication then cannot be moderated or known to anyone else outside that private chat room space. (perfect for abusers).

4) Microsoft have x2 products that get very confusing for ordinary users and at times even those of us who are technically competant with MS products.

a) MSN is Microsoft's internet service providor (or ISP)
b) MS Messanger is a freebee internet relay chat service as I understand it, though I have to say I never use it for security reasons.
c) Many Microsoft products such as Windows 2000 server also have internal (as in communications on a local area network) communications system also called a messenger service (but in this case its "Windows Messanger service"
Yes! it gets very confusing understanding the difference between these x2 services.

5) MS Messanger is the service that most ordinary MS users will turn too as an alternative to the closure of MSN Chat & chat rooms as far as I can see.

6) Many people will turn to other chat room providors other than Microsofts free service so I think its true that it wont stop the people who abuse such a service, in other words they will just go else where. Where they can find new pickings if possible.


MSN Chatrooms and MSN Messenger

Ivan / cyteck:

Thanks for providing such a full reply! I'll try to track down the Guardian article. It does seem to have become quite common for people to assert the reasons for the closure are commercial rather than "moral", so it'll be interesting to see what new light the Guardian can shed on this. What should be made of the fact that not all of the chatrooms are to close? What is different about those, I wonder?

Some of the points you make about chatrooms are, to some extent at least, applicable also to other facilities, such as this very message board. I know it may come as a shock to some -- so prepare yourselves! -- but I feel I should put it on the record that my real name is not "task" (and it's not my middle name, either, if anyone is wondering). The older message board software did show our real names, but I've considered it a bit of a game these last months to go under an alias (which, of course, was the rather naive assumption of the chatrooms), but anyone who's interested could track down early messages and find my real details. And Force9 the company also has full contact details, so there are limits to anonymity on this board, and thus accountability is assured. I'm not saying anything about my picture, though, other than it doesn't look too much different from the one in my passport, and I'd hope to see it on any Identity Card which might be issued.

The points you've made about the closure of the MS chatrooms are interesting ones in their own right, but they weren't ones I was specifically concerned about in starting this topic. I was more interested in understanding MS's various "chat" or "instant messenger" products and how (if at all) they might be connected to the MS chatrooms.

Other than a basic point of "they're not connected to MS chatrooms", I'm not sure my understanding's improved at all. In fact, in certain respects I'm probably a little more confused, for you have spoken of "MS Chat" (I'm not sure if that's the official name of the MS chatrooms, as I've called them, or some software product I wasn't aware of) and David / "mytton" has spoken of web browsers (which to me implies a straightforward HTTP connections).

I sense some confusion in your own mind; the "MS Messenger" product, as far as I'm aware, is actually called "MSN Messenger", and my own understanding is it cannot be used for true "IRC" chat. Perhaps that's a wrong understanding? It seems MSN Messenger, also, is not the software required to access the MS chatrooms (I think they should also be called MSN chatrooms?) So, given that MSN Messenger will connect to server systems, of which type of server is MSN Messenger the client? (Plus, I understand, it can also operate in a peering mode, client to client?)

"Windows Messenger" is the thing I found ready and waiting for the non-use it's had after I installed the Windows operating system. Actually, I did use it once, testing it out with a friend in an adjoining room. So, a peer relationship between my software and his, though again, it acts as client to some sort of server. Which kind, and how is it different from the MSN Messenger server?

My impression, from what little I've read about these products, is that businesses tend to use Windows Messenger (for what, I suppose might grandiosely be called "online conferences"). In the great tradition of big business, my own company wrote its own (in Java, because the need was for something platform independent) and then sold it on to some software house; I found Visual IRC (virc) was a product which I could use from home to interect with the company system.

MSN Chatrooms and MSN Messenger

Ivan / cyteck:

I've done some follow-up work on your Guardian reference, and found several articles.

An end to the chat was not, I suspect the article you saw, but, as well as making an exasperating reference to "the chat software" without naming it, provided an indirect connection between these chatrooms and the instant messenger programs by mentioning the fear that by closing the chatrooms people will resort to instant messenger software instead. Thus, if MS is serious about the paedophile problem, there may yet be an implication for its two Messenger products.

Microsft chatrooms to close after abuse fear was a fairly bland article which gave some facts and figures and generally portrayed chatrooms as hangouts for several types of unsavoury characters. (Apart from children, I mean!)

Rival attacks Microsoft decision to close chatrooms could well have been the article you saw, describing as it does, Freeserve's reaction that MS is taking this action because it's not prepared to invest in policing chatrooms, and voicing concerns that people will go off to less reputable sites.

Personally, I don't take their point of view. MS is first and foremost a software house. It has no obligation to anyone to provide chatrooms, and if the only socially acceptable way of doing so is to provide moderated chatrooms, which MS considers too expensive an option, then, obviously, it should pull out rather than provide unmoderated ones. If there are seedy chatrooms which are centres of vice and depravity, it's up to the authorities to legislate to force them to change, and to clamp down on them and put them out of business if they don't. It's not a matter for MS.

Yet more confusion!!

Hi Task,
Firstly Yes! the article I read in the online Guardain was "An end to the chat ". Yes! this whole subject (apart from the morality involved) does get incredibly confusing due to the various software products & different forms of technology concerned.

Once again lets see if we can unpick some of this, firstly "Windows Messenger" is a service built into the windows operating system & in its most recent incarnations from roughly windows NT workstation onwards. Its used for example by a network administrator to send a message to an individual machine or user located on a local area network. Its abit like an internal windows messaging service for limited use usually, it's sometimes used to send administrative alerts the network admins person. I havent come across companies that use it on a regular basis. Its just a windows service that can be used should you require it.

**MS Chat ( is just a form of Internet Relay Chat) but I dont think it is directly associated with chat rooms as such (I could be wrong? please feel free to correct me if that's not the case?). It offers things like buddy lists and will tell if one of your buddies comes online if you want to chat with them. I think you can have more than one chat session going at the same time but NOT chat rooms as such.

**MSN Messenger, however I do think you could be right and that its specifically MSN Messenger that is used for chat room communications. (I have to be honest that I've never liked these programs and have never wanted to use them personally). Having looked into the kind of discussions & communications that go on in most forms of chat rooms I found it a complete turn off. The analogy of trying to hold a meaningful converation with one person in the middle of a football crowd when a goal has just been scored comes to mind!!. Alot of shouting going on to be heard over the crowd seemed quite common or the conversations where completely banal and meaningless (well to me personally but hay! I must be an old fuddy duddy so what would I know!!!??.

I dont think MS Messanger uses just plain HTTP (again I could be wrong) but I have a feeling that it uses another proctocol with its own assocaited port numbers,etc.

**Another problem with chat rooms & instant type messaging is that its so fleeting and this also could be part of the problem of tracking a user,especially if they were abusive towards others.


MSN Chatrooms and MSN Messenger

Ivan / cyteck

The Windows Messenger product I'm referring to is the one MS describes as "the instant messaging client of choice for businesses in managed environments with connectivity to Exchange Instant Messaging Servers and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based Instant Messaging Servers, along with connectivity to the MSN Messenger service."

The "Windows Messenger" you've described reminds me of the NetBIOS "Messenger" service. I wasn't aware that recent versions of Windows had a GUI interface to this (OS/2, for example, does have), leaving you to issue commands of the form net send <netBIOS name> <message> from a command line interface, although the message recipient does get a pop-up box containing the message. It's a one-shot message system, with no "session" between participants.

I have to join you in the "fuddy-duddy" stakes, but I did take a quick look at The first thing which stood out was the prominent position given to MSN Messenger with a link to download it. (It's noticeable that Windows Messenger is currently at version 5.0, and MSN Messenger at version 6.0, leaving no doubt that these are distinct products.) I had a look at the chatroom subjects, and to my way of thinking, it all seemed rather grubby and unpleasant. It didn't look at all enticing, and I could understand why MS wanted to ditch it, as it did nothing at all for the MS image. I noticed, to enter the chatrooms, you need a .NET Passport, which is where I took my leave, so as for the software required, I'm no wiser than before.


How are MSN Messenger and Windows® Messenger different?

Windows XP comes with Windows Messenger, which remains available even after MSN Messenger 6.0 is installed on your computer.

Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Only Windows Messenger can connect to the Communications Service and Exchange Instant Messaging, which are only used in corporations.
  • Some programs, such as Outlook, Outlook Express, and Remote Assistance, connect to Windows Messenger by default. When you are signed in to MSN Messenger, you may appear offline to people who connect to these programs and have you listed as a contact.
  • MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger can run at the same time, but only one will start automatically. You can start the other program from your list of programs (in Windows, click the Start button, point to All Programs. In most cases, MSN Messenger will start automatically whenever you start Windows, unless you turn off this setting in your Messenger options. However, if you have set up Windows Messenger for corporate instant messaging and to start automatically when you start Windows, then it will continue in this manner and MSN Messenger will not start automatically., and then click the program you want to start).
  • In most cases, MSN Messenger will start automatically whenever you start Windows, unless you turn off this setting in your Messenger options. However, if you have set up Windows Messenger for corporate instant messaging and to start automatically when you start Windows, then it will continue in this manner and MSN Messenger will not start automatically.
  • You can be signed in to both MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger at the same time, but not with the same .NET Passport account. For instance, you can sign in to MSN Messenger with your Passport and then sign in to Windows Messenger with a different Passport account or with your corporate instant messaging account.
  • When both programs are running, you will see icons for each in your Windows taskbar (near your computer's clock). You can tell them apart by pointing to them with your mouse. When you point to an icon, a message appears telling you which program it is.
  • If you are signed in to one Messenger program with your Passport and then sign in to the other one using the same account, you will be automatically signed out of the first program.

So now we know :?:

Impressed Thanks!!

Hi Task,
Yes! Thanks for a very very informative reply to my previous thread, it definately leaves me far more well informed than I was before this discussion about the differences between Windows messenger & MSN Messanger (thank you very much for that its clear to me now!!).

The one thing I hate about these products is the way Microsoft have woven them into the windows operating system (so you get them by default even if you dont want them!!) I have to tell you that I turned them both off at the OS level as part of my locking down windows on my own system). I have also deleted the chat product that comes with windows XP pro, I found that one could just dis-able the program by re-naming its folder to simply "blahhh_OLD" this completetly clobbbers it from working unless you un-rename it back to its original title.

As for the content or nature of these chat room conversations my experience sounds pretty much the same as yours and yes! it was completely un-apealing too.

**Just by way of another similar subject Microsoft Netmeeting used to be potentially amazing piece of software some years ago (before MS passport)but when one logged into one of MS's free ILS servers 99.9% of the use was of a completely sleezy nature. With a massive user listing of say 300-400 people online (all sleeze too) Which seemed very sad for such a lovely program when it has such wonderful features. such as desktop sharing,remote application sharing,etc.

**Microsoft Passport YAK!!!!!!!! NO THANKS!! BIG BROTHER NEXT if you ask me. We'll all be having Microsoft bank accounts online next if we blithly allow MS to get yet more tenticles into ordinary peoples lives but that's another discussion I think?

Thanks Again Ivan :-)