The Windows Live Messenger IM client (also known as "Hotmail Messenger") comes as part of the "Windows Live Essentials" suite of free software from Microsoft, which includes the Windows Live Mail email program - the latest version is available for Windows 7 / Vista, and you'll need to use the previous version if you are running Windows XP. In this tutorial, we will show you how to sign in to Windows Live Messenger, using the same login as your Hotmail account: if you do not have such an email address, you'll first need to create a Hotmail account (the process only takes a few minutes!)
Tip: this tutorial assumes that you already have Windows Live Messenger on your PC; if not, learn how to download and install Windows Live Essentials on your PC.
Login to Messenger IM client with your Hotmail account
Once you launch Windows Live Messenger, you will see an empty login form; if you are automatically signed into another Hotmail account, read our "Logout of Windows Live Messenger" tutorial first.
- If you see an email address and password already entered, click on the dropdown arrow next to the email field, and choose "Sign in with a different Windows Live ID" from the menu:
- When all text fields are cleared, enter your full Hotmail email address in the first one, and your account password in the second one. Note that email addresses ending in "@hotmail.com", "@live.com", "@hotmail.co.uk", "@hotmail.ca", etc. are all valid Hotmail accounts:
- The "Forgot your password" link below the form starts the password reset process (but you can always manually change Hotmail password).
- With the "Sign in as" dropdown menu, Windows Live Messenger allows you to determine how others will see you once you have signed in - your choices are as follows:
• "Available", the default, will let others know that you have just signed into Messenger - friends will receive an on-screen notice (and a sound, by default) once you are online.
• "Away" will show this sign in status to others - you are signed in, and will return, but cannot currently answer to any instant message people send you (they can still send you messages).
• "Busy" is an invitation to keep others from disturbing you, while remaining logged in; we recommend that you simply use the next option instead - unless you want to be reachable.
• "Appear offline" allows you to stay signed in, but you will not appear as being logged into messenger to others: but you can still send messages to anyone you want.
Automatic Sign-in Options
- The two next checkboxes are connected: if you check the "Remember my ID and password" checkbox, Windows Live Messenger will automatically enter your Hotmail email address and password when you launch it, sparing you from having to type it manually; but it will not automatically login, and let you customize your sign in status, for example.
- The "Sign me in automatically" checkbox can only be checked if you choose to make Messenger remember your credentials. If you check it, Messenger will automatically login to your Windows Live account when you launch it. Also notice the "Options" link next to it:
If you click on it, the Options dialog will open, with the "Sign in" settings preselected on the left. If you leave the "Start Messenger when I log on to my computer" checkbox checked, Messenger will launch (and automatically sign in) when Windows starts and you logon to your user account. Uncheck "Open the main window when Messenger signs in" if you want Messenger to only show its icon in the tray (notification area), next to the system clock.
Tip - if you don't see the Windows Live Messenger icon next to the Windows clock, just customize the following setting: show or hide icons from the taskbar in Windows 7.
- Once you've chosen your login options for Messenger, click on the "Sign in" button: within a few seconds, you will be signed in, and Messenger will display a confirmation message that also includes the number of unread emails you have in your Hotmail inbox.
The first time you log into Messenger, you'll be able to choose between "MSN" or "Social Highlights": the latter will automatically retrieve messages and posts from Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn, once and if you decide to connect them to your Hotmail account, and display YouTube videos people have sent you. Messenger will show banner ads even if you subscribe to Hotmail Plus - this is (unfortunately) normal.
Tutorial last updated on November 30, 2011
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