Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
MSN Messenger allows you to save your conversations. But what if you don't have that turned on? Is there a way to recover the conversation anyway? No.
Can I retrieve old MSN Messenger conversations?
Instant messaging is very popular - it's immediate and it's easy. But it does have its drawbacks. Most people treat it like quick, throw-away conversations unlike email where we (hopefully) put a little more time and thought into what we write.
But what if you didn't mean to "throw away" that conversation and find yourself wishing you could recall or retrieve what was said? In email you might have your sent mail folder but what about instant messaging?
If you use MSN messenger and have the right setting you might just be in luck.
MSN Messenger has the ability to keep an indefinite log of all conversations.
In MSN Messenger select the Tools menu, Options... menu item, and then the Messages tab. At the bottom of the dialog is an item labeled: Message History. Select it and your conversations will be recorded in the directory listed in the box below. (Of course you can set that to be whatever you like but the default directory is probably fine for most.)
When conversations are saved in the listed directory you'll find several files, typically one per person that you've had a conversation with. The files will all end with ".XML". Not to worry, Internet Explorer can open these files and will display them properly.
If IE fails to open the file and spawns notepad instead, you can still force it. Right click on the file in Windows Explorer, select Open With..., and then select Internet Explorer.
If you're looking for past conversation archives and they're not present on your own machine then try having the person you were conversing with look. It's quite possible that they have an archive.