Chat with Windows Live Messenger

January 5, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Chat is one of the most popular online activities, one that allows people around the world to communicate with friends and relatives in distant countries either via real-time live text chat, voice or video.

Windows Live Messenger is the one of the key reasons to download Microsoft Windows Live Essentials – but this is a considerably changed application that offers more than just chat and pretty backgrounds.

Available as part of Windows Live Essentials, Windows Live Messenger can be installed either individually or as part of the entire suite. You can find the installer at explore.live.com; use the Choose the programs you want to explore option to select Messenger and install it on its own.

Chat with Windows Live Messenger

Get Started with Windows Live Messenger

To begin, you will need a Windows Live account to begin chatting – you should already have one of these in order to access the Windows Live Essentials download, and this free account affords you access to one of the largest chat networks on the planet.

Once Windows Live Messenger is installed, launch it from Start > All Programs > Windows Live Messenger or via the desktop shortcut.

Input your username and password in the sign-in screen; before proceeding, you can set the Sign in as field as Available, Away, Busy or Appear offline, all useful privacy options. You can also choose to Remember my ID and password or Sign me in automatically, and by ticking or clearing these checkboxes you can manage how Windows Live Messenger treats your data. These options are particularly useful if you are in a cyber café or chatting from a laptop. Just as useful if you’re not on your own computer is the Sign up link that provides a link to a sign up form.

With your options selected, press the Sign in button to proceed with your logon to chat.

Chat with Windows Live Messenger

Existing Windows Live/Hotmail users will find that their contacts are all available in Windows Live Messenger and that chatting is a case of double-clicking the contact or right-clicking to reveal a range of options such as Play a game.

With a microphone installed on your computer and that of your chat buddy, you will be able to engage in voice chat, while video chat requires a webcam to be installed on both systems.

Basic text chat is a case of clicking on a recipient and typing a message. Smileys (emoticons) are available and you can also invite others to your conversations. However this is just the tip of the iceberg – with Windows Live Messenger you can also chat with Facebook contacts.

Chat on Facebook with Windows Live Messenger

To integrate Facebook with Windows Live Messenger, use the Facebook button in the messenger window; this will open a login box which you will need to use to allow access to your Facebook account from Messenger.

Here you can view Friends status updates and your own Photos and it is here that you can select a contact to chat with on Messenger. All you need to do is hover over one of your contacts and select Invite to Messenger via the small green Messenger icon – you will then be able to chat with them from the comfort of Windows Live Messenger!

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