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TechTV Tip #4: Remove Ads from XP's Messenger

By Morgan Webb, Associate Producer of The Screen Savers

Ads are everywhere. Why tolerate them in Windows XP Messenger? In just a couple of short steps, you can be ad-free forever.

First, get rid of the little Messenger men in the background of your buddy list. You can turn the semi-transparent Messenger logo into a picture of anything you want. I used a picture of myself but vanity is by no means a prerequisite for this little project.

  1. Open your Messenger program folder and locate lvback.gif, or do a search for it on your computer.

  2. You can modify this picture to whatever you want, or you can save a different picture in its place. The new picture doesn't even have to be the same size!

  3. Exit out of Messenger and restart it.

  4. Your new picture should be ready for all to see.

Now, if you are one of the unlucky people who has rotating ads on the bottom of your buddy list, follow the steps below to kill them dead:

  1. Exit out of MSN Messenger completely.

  2. Locate the file "links.txt" on your computer.

    It should be in your C:\Documents and Settings\User\Local Settings\Temp directory, but if you search your hard drive for "links.txt" it should be the only file to appear.

  3. Open the file in Notepad.

  4. Highlight and erase the entire contents of the file. The file should contain links.

  5. Save the file.

  6. Right-click the file and choose Properties.

  7. Check the "Read-Only" box so MSN Messenger will be unable to write new links to the file.

  8. Now when you open MSN Messenger, there will be one basic MSN logo in the buddy list instead of rotating logos.

  9. This basic logo is stored on your computer, in the messenger program folder, as logo.gif. You can rename logo.gif to logobak.gif (or delete it altogether) and the normal ad space will appear blank.

  10. You can change logo.gif into whatever picture you choose.

    Need some suggestions? Perhaps a picture of a monkey smelling its butt, or maybe a little picture of your favorite feline companion. If you're feeling practical, you can create a little note reminding you to get back to work. The choice is yours.

So there's no need to stare at those ads anymore. Go forth and chat ad-free!

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