Control Windows Messenger in Windows XP

by Wayne Maples [Published on 20 April 2004 / Last Updated on 20 April 2004]

A GPEDIT setting will disable Windows Messenger whether the user tries to start it and will block Outlook, Outlook Express, or other products from making it load.

  • Click Start
  • Click Run
  • Enter GPEDIT.MSC
    Group Policy mmc will popup. On left panel:
    control at machine level:
  • Double-click Computer Configuration to open submenu
  • Double-click Administrative Templates to open submenu
  • Double-click Windows Components to open submenu
  • Double-click Windows Messenger to open control options
  • Double-click Do not allow Windows Messenger to be run option
    control per user level:
  • Double-click User Configuration to open submenu
  • Double-click Administrative Templates to open submenu
  • Double-click Windows Components to open submenu
  • Double-click Windows Messenger to open control options
  • Double-click Do not allow Windows Messenger to be run option
The default is the Not configured . To prevent Messenger from running, select Enable. be careful. Consider how the control option is stated. To block an action, sometimes you enable, sometime disable.

Microsoft hides the Windows Messenger from the Control Panel Add and Remove programs applet. To unhide messenger so you can remove it using the applet:

  • Open \windows\inf\sysoc.inf
  • Change the line
    msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7
    to
    msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,,7
  • Close sysoc.inf and save it
This is a general tip for components Microsoft are hidding from the Control Panel Add and Remove programs applet. You can now use the Control Panel to uninstall windows messenger.

Note: gpedit.msc is not available in XP Home which is not designed for a corporate environment. See Features of XP Home vs XP Pro.

To control Windows Messenger 4.0 on a Windows XP Home Edition-Based Computer

  • Start Windows Messenger.
  • Click Options on the Tools menu.
  • Click the Preferences tab
  • Click to clear the Run this program when Windows starts check box
  • Click OK.
This does not prevent users from manually running Windows Messenger, but it does prevent Windows Messenger from running automatically each time that you start Windows. You could rename c:\program files\messenger\msmsgs.exe (the messenger executable) to something else.

Outlook Express may automatically start Windows Messenger. To prevent Windows Messenger from starting then:

  • In Outlook Express, click Options on the Tools menu
  • On the General tab, click to clear the Automatically log on to Windows Messenger check box.
  • Click OK.
For a registry methods, see Disable Windows Messenger for XP Home / XP Pro

If the above does not work for you, try renaming folder \Program Files\Messenger to something else like \Program Files\NoMessenger. If you later need Messenger, rename the folder back to its original name.

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