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Windows 7: Windows Live Messenger - Taskbar or Notification Icon

Windows Live Messenger - Taskbar or Notification Icon

How to Have Windows Live Messenger with a Windows 7 Taskbar or Tray Icon
Published by Brink
10 Feb 2009
Published by

How to Have Windows Live Messenger with a Windows 7 Taskbar or Tray Icon

information   Information
This will show you how to have the Windows Live Messenger open window icon either as a Windows 7 taskbar icon or as a notification area tray icon.

By default, Windows Live Messenger uses a taskbar icon in Windows 7.
Tip   Tip
You can get information on how to download the latest version of Windows Live Messenger here.

EXAMPLE: Windows Live Messenger taskbar icon

EXAMPLE: Windows Live Messenger notification area tray icon
NOTE: This is after you close (red x) the Windows Live Messenger window to minimize it to the taskbar notification area.

Here's How:
1. If open, close and exit Windows Live Messenger.

2. Right click on the Windows Live Messenger shortcut and click on Properties.

NOTE: If you do not have a shortcut, you can also right click on Windows Live Messenger's exe file below.
  • In a 64-bit Windows 7:
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Messenger\msnmsgr.exe file.
  • In a 32-bit Windows 7:
    • C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Messenger\msnmsgr.exe file.
3. For Windows Live Messenger to Minimize to a System Tray Icon
NOTE: Whenever you open Windows Live Messenger it will have a icon on the taskbar until you close it again. Closing WLM doesn't exit you out of WLM, but just minimizes WLM to the system tray and removes the taskbar icon.
A) Under the Compatibilty tab, check the Run this program in compatibility mode for box and select Windows Vista. (See screenshot below)
Windows Live Messenger - Taskbar or Notification Icon-properties_taskbar_icon.jpg
B) Go to step 5.
4. For Windows Live Messenger to Use a Taskbar Icon
A) Under the Compatibilty tab, uncheck the Run this program in compatibility mode for box. (See screenshot below)
Windows Live Messenger - Taskbar or Notification Icon-properties_tray_icon.jpg
5. Click on OK. (See screenshot above or below step 3A)

6. Open Windows Live Messenger to see it's icon location now.
That's it,

11 Feb 2009   #1

Windows 7 Build 7100 (x64)

Doesn't work on the following PC:
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750
GeForce 8800 GT

Causes this error (attached)

Works fine on the PC in my specs though... Odd... Same build number of MSN and same OS version...

Attached Images
Windows Live Messenger - Taskbar or Notification Icon-1.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Feb 2009   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate Vista Ultimate x64

Some patches that remove the watermark have been known to break the compatibility mode and the only way you will fix it will be if you can uninstall the patch or do a system restore, one patch in particular that I used was a pluspatch from Orbit30 that caused that issue although I think he has since fixed that problem and there are some other ones that have also worked with no side effects.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Feb 2009   #3

Windows 7 Build 7100 (x64)

Apparently if you turn on and use the compatibility mode prior to removing the watermark, it continues to work fine. If you remove the watermark prior to using the compatibility mode, it'll crash out.

Both systems are using the same watermark-removal script with the same OS and MSN build, the only thing that differs is the order in which things were done. Maybe that'll help other people get this working properly.

Also, the 64-bit version of watermark removal doesn't cause the problems...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Feb 2009   #4

Windows 7 Build 7000

It works for me, but I got used to the new way now. Just keep your mouse for a few seconds on the icon and the you can see 2 windows, the "main" window and the contacts window. So to close the program you click the X on the "main Window".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 May 2009   #5

Windows 7 x64 RC1

Pardon the necrobump, but since I started using Win7 as my OS with the RC's release, I've noticed the messenger annoyance myself. It kinda defeats the purpose of the taskbar to have dormant programs cluttering it up (that's the tray's purpose!!), and I was looking for just this solution via Google.

I just don't think this is a solution, though; it's merely a dirty hack to prevent Messenger from even knowing it's running on Win7. Isn't there some setting that can be changed? I'd think Microsoft would like to know about this kind of inconvenience!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 May 2009   #6

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello FalconFour,

Microsoft does know about it since they designed Windows Live Messenger to run that way on purpose to take advantage of the new taskbar in Windows 7.

The something to be changed is what is in the tutorial. There is no other solution to this that I am aware of though.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 May 2009   #7

Windows 7 Build 7100 (x64)

What is needed is an option inside WLM to the effect of "Minimize/close WLM to system notification area" which could then allow the older behavior without the need for a "hack" like compatibility mode.

I'm personally really dissapointed with this new behavior; I think the Live team missed the memo about the Superbar being designed to be more intuitive and less cluttered... The new behavior looks more like a bug than a feature, and many users will see it as an annoyance.

I think the biggest problem is that the Beta and RC phases aren't being tested with the "common" demographic; Is the the 68-year-old grandfather that knows very little about computers going to try the beta? Unlikely. This (common) demographic is one of the ones that have the most trouble understanding computers, yet use applications like WLM most often to keep in touch with friends and family.

The Live team willingly decided to make their application appear to "misbehave", which will be overly confusing to people that don't follow the latest technology. Perhaps they'll hear the outcry of complaints (or more likely, will but won't care) but until then, it'll be up to us, the "power users", to "fix" this oddity for them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 May 2009   #8


Just because everyone has gotten accustomed to throwing everything in the system tray doesn't mean that MS messed up on how they're developing their programs.

The changes in Live fit in with the rest of the ideas behind windows 7.

Primarily being : Once place for everything regarding a program.

If you introduce both a system tray and a task bar item for the same item, you're introducing clutter. All programs should behave the same in order to reduce confusion. That's been their ideology through out the development of windows 7.

If you use Live all the time, having it on the taskbar shouldn't be a problem, and if you don't use it all the time, then you really shouldn't have it pinned anyway.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jul 2009   #9

Win7 64bit Ultimate

I have another solution to this that I am currently using.

If you download the 8.1 version from this page:

You can install messenger and it will function properly with the tray icon and no taskbar issues by default.

The latest version of messenger has the taskbar issue because of a change in the taskbar in 7 that vista did not have thus running the latest messenger in vista compatibility corrects it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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