Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Amnesic Update

It’s amazing how many settings MSN Messenger 7.0 has forgotten in the upgrade from 6.2. During the install last time I told it that I wanted my home page (that’s my home page) leaving as it is, and that I wasn’t interested in yet another toolbar. Yet when installing it this time they were all ticked again. Maybe it thought I’d have changed my mind since… In any case, having it respect my previous choices, or at least offering a ‘Select None’ button, would make the experience nicer.

Then when I ran the program, MSN Today pops up. So, let me get this straight – Microsoft is bundling a popup blocker in their MSN Toolbar, yet when you run MSN Messenger you get a popup. Hmmm. Either way, in 6.2 I had disabled it (because it’s annoying and of no use to me – like almost all popup adverts, actually), yet it came back to life in 7.0. Thanks, MSN.
It did, however, remember not to display the extra tabs down the side, which is good because there’s a lot of them and they’re distracting. And again, they’re of no real use to me.
Before you ask, yes, I did install 7.0 over the top of 6.2 – I didn’t uninstall 6.2 first. That’s why I was expecting my settings to be remembered.
Trovster’s got a good review so I won’t go into too much detail about everything else, but there are some things I do like, such as the integration with MSN Spaces and ‘personal messages’, which formalises something that many people have been doing for years anyway (appending taglines or comments after their name in the Display Name field). Winks and nudges are of no real use to me but they can at least be turned off, as can the handwriting thingy which again I see no real need for. I’m not sure what this ‘Billing Info/Get More From Messenger’ is but the menu appears 3 (!) times in the message window – under Actions, Tools and Help. Either way, it looks like a way of extracting money from me so I’m not that interested.
Other than that there’s not a huge amount different from previous releases. The client has come on a long way since I first started using it in 1999 at version 1.0, and while there are some nice changes I really do feel that feature bloat is setting in quite badly now. When idle the client uses 7MB of memory, 9MB with a conversation window open and 20+MB when the contact list is open. Compare that to Trillian which connects to many networks and still uses less memory.
Since I really don’t need all the bells and whistles that accompany this new version I’ll be sticking with Trillian for now, although it would be cool if a future Trillian build can have the personal message feature added.


  1. Yeah I migratted to Trillian after installing and hating Messenger 7. I don’t want that MSN Today crap so, in assuming I did, MS annoyed me and lost me as a user.

  2. I’ve gone back to using Windows Messenger 4.7. MSN Messenger 6/7 is full of useless features, as is Trillian. Too much bloat in software nowadays.

  3. First of all, thanks for the heads up! I complained about a lot of things in my review, but still use it. I haven’t really tried anything else, maybe I should. Yesterday someone showed me a tool that gets rid of the majority of the extra icons that appear on both the contact lists. It has loads of options. You can just select certain parts or nuke all of them. It’s called “MSN Messenger 7.0.0777 Ad & Polygamy by A-Patch” and is extremely good, get ya mits on it — (nice domain name!)
    Windows Messenger 4.7! Wow. Bit of a step-back, but if that’s all you need, it’s fine. In my review I said I went back to 6.2, and I think that’s a good place to stick if you don’t want anything too fancy.

  4. Trillian isn’t too bad for bloat in my opinion – I have actually used almost all of its features before. But I doubt I’ll ever use stuff like winks and nudges, or handwriting, and I don’t need MSN search integration either. The level of integration that MSN Search gets in the client cries of desperation, to me at least.

  5. I don’t care much about bloat and RAM usage in programs tbh. I’ve got 512MB and I rarely get problems. I would like to upgrade to 1GB to play some of the new games. But I don’t tend to have a lot running when using RAM intensive games, that’s just silly. When not playing games it’s just not noticeable.
    That application I said gets rid of all that crap integration. Yeh, it does seem like they’re getting desperate!

  6. Messpatch from (scroll down a bit) has a lot of useful crap-removal features. MSN7 becomes so much nicer without all that crap.

  7. I’m kinda impressed that the “what I’m listening to” feature works with iTunes, even though the help file claims you have to use Windows Media Player. And also that you can finally set your status to “appear offline” without it actually signing you out (it’s quite possible, of course, that this has been the case for ages – I just remember being annoyed at some point in the past when it didn’t do what I expected). Been thinking of switching to Trillain for a while. Maybe when it can play Minesweeper Flags…