One of the biggest annoyances in Windows is Windows Messenger, which springs to life of its own accord whenever you boot up. Or when you open Outlook Express. Or for no apparent reason at all. And you can't close it because "some other application is using it" or some rubbish like that. It's there like a virus you can quarantine, a worm you can't eradicate, a friend you really are not interested in entertaining because you're so damn sick of him/her. It allows spammers to alert you to ways to improve your sex life (penis enlargement, Viagra, yada yada), sell you University diplomas, and even "meta-spam" that tries to sell you ways to prevent spam.

... can't find no Windows Messenger?... sneaky Microsoft has hidden it!

I've tried switching off the Windows Messenger service and unchecking all the boxes I can find that says "Start Windows Messenger when this program runs". Some people says it works. I know it doesn't, because my firewall (Sygate Personal Pro) alerts me that Windows Messenger is trying to send an outbound packet. Sneaky bastard.

I lived with this parasite in my system for a few months. Now, I've finally found a fool-proof way to kill it - uninstall Windows Messenger.

Yes, you heard that right - uninstall. How? Use the Add/Remove Windows Components dialog of the Add or Remove Programs item in the Control Panel. But what you say? You can't find no Windows Messenger? That's right, you can't. Because sneaky Microsoft has hidden it! Here's how to "unhide" it:

  1. Open %WINDIR%\INF\sysoc.inf with a text editor.
  2. Look for the line that goes like this:
  3. Delete the hide keyword so that it now looks like this:
  4. Save the file and exit.
  5. Click on Start -> Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs -> Add/Remove Windows Components
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the list and you should now see 2 items for Windows Messenger. Uncheck both of them, giving a triumphant whoop of vindication as you do so.
  7. Click on Next, and Windows Messenger will be fully uninstalled.

Enjoy an existence without Windows Messenger. We all deserve this much at least, if we have to live with Windows.

localhost has another way to disable Windows Messenger - check out his comment.