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Tweak Messenger in Windows Live Essentials 2011

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Windows Live Essentials is a great collection of applications for anyone with a new computer that needs some software to put on it. It consists of Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, mail, Writer, Family Safety and more. The focus of this tip is Messenger, which has changed quite a lot from the way it used to be. You might prefer the new look and features, but some people might want it to be more like the old version. You can have it both ways and here are some simple tweaks to customise the way it works.

Messenger starts up with a large window that fills most of the screen and you might find that this is too big. The old Messenger was much more compact and you could leave it running at the side of the screen while you worked on something else. That compact mode is still there and you just have to click the icon in the top right corner of the window. The one just below the close button. This shrinks it and it then looks nearly identical to the previous edition of the program.

When you closed Windows Messenger, it used to disappear and it was just a small icon in the notification area of the taskbar at the right hand side. This was quite useful because it was still running, but out of the way of your regular software. Now it minimises to a large icon in the Windows 7 taskbar, which might not be as convenient. However, there's a way to restore the old behaviour in Windows 7.

Windows Live Messenger

Click Start, All Programs and then right click Windows Live Messenger and choose Properties. Select the Compatibility tab abd then tick the box that says Run this program in compatibility mode for. Select Windows Vista Service Pack 2 in the drop-down menu below and click OK. Now run Windows Live Messenger from the Start menu and click the close button when it appears. There's no icon in the taskbar, but if you click the little up arrow at the right-hand side you'll see the Messenger icon. It's just like it used to be. Right click it to see a menu.