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Windows Messenger service is almost never needed, and is exploited by spammers when it's running. Follow these steps to disable Windows Messenger service.

I keep getting these pop-up messages. They're very plain, just grey boxes with an OK button, but they are annoying. Someone told me it's from something called the "Messenger Service" and that I can turn it off. How?

First let's be clear, Windows Messenger Service is not related to the Messenger instant messaging programs - it's something else entirely. It's a "service", which is software that runs in the background, listening for incoming network messages, and popping up a very simple box containing the message when one arrives.

And it's very easy to turn off.

As you've seen, the Windows Messenger Service has been exploited by SPAMmers to pop-up unwanted advertising messages on unprotected machines on the internet. The average user has absolutely no need for the Windows Messenger Service and it can safely be turned off.

"The average user has absolutely no need for the Windows Messenger Service and it can safely be turned off."

To turn off the Windows Messenger Service:

  • Click on Start

  • Click on Programs

  • Click on Accessories

  • Click on Administrative Tools

  • Click on Computer Management

  • In the Computer Management tool, expand Services & Applications in the left-hand pane by clicking on the plus sign in front of it.

  • Click on Services in the resulting list.

  • In the right hand pane, scroll down until you find the entry Messenger, and double click on it.

  • In the resulting properties box set the Startup Type to Disabled.

  • You can also click on Stop, to stop the service immediately.

  • Click OK, close the Computer Management window, and you're done.

Windows Messenger Service might be used in a corporate environment - for example when you send a document to a network printer. The messenger service handles the pop-up message that the printer sends back when it has finished.

But in the home, or even in a small office setting, there's simply no need.

Article C2696 - June 20, 2006 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Ron Barker
June 23, 2006 11:08 PM

Hi Leo, If I Click of start, click on accessories, that's it there is no 'Administative Tools' etc. and I cannot find any of the rest of the links!

June 23, 2006 11:10 PM

Instead, try right clicking on My Computer, and clicking on "Manage" on the resulting popup menu.

Robert M.
July 1, 2006 5:46 PM

There is a very small program called "Shoot the Messenger". Google "Steve Gibson", and you can get it there. It disables Windows Messenger Service with one click and it's free.

July 1, 2006 9:33 PM

It's here: - and yes, Steve Gibson's a good guy. If you feel more comfortable downloading a program to do this for you, this is an appropriate alternative.

Frank S
September 25, 2006 8:12 AM

I need the messenger service to receive alerts from Performance Monitor counters I monitor. But sometimes I come in on a Monday morning with several hundred alerts stacked up from the weekend.

Short of rebooting, is there a way to clear the queue of all these messages? Stopping/restarting the service doesn't clear the queued messages.

suzette carpenter
January 16, 2007 1:42 PM

i would like to delete my email address and keep my new messenger , you please tell me how to do it,regards Suzette

barbara groves
March 25, 2007 3:02 PM

i would like to get rid of the windows messenger icon on my task bar. I opened windows messenger and now I regret it.How do I disable the whole thing.?

October 15, 2007 5:11 PM

To disable Messenger Servie, you can also click:
Control Panel
Administrative Tools
and then find Messenger click on it and click stop.

jean gregory
February 24, 2008 11:20 AM

Hi Leo, I clicked on start, accessories but there is no Administative Tools' etc. I also tried right clicking on My Computer, and clicking on "Manage" but nothing happened. You said "click on manage on the resulting popup menu." which I did but nothing happens when I click on manage. How in the H--- do I get rid of Windows Messenger? Thanks

July 10, 2008 4:50 PM

Click 1-START 2-Control panel 3- performance and Maintenance 4- Administrative tools 5- Services 6- Find MESSENGER click on it on the right hand and chose STOP. You will be fine ;)

February 23, 2009 4:12 AM

The procedure outlined above does not work in Windows Vista because there is no Service with the word Messenger on Windows Vista.

January 27, 2010 6:52 AM

How to enable service Messenger on windows 7..????
Please send my question in my email..
Thankz Before..n After..

Denny Hay
February 12, 2010 6:26 AM

Going nuts!!!! Trying to delete messenger. Got into services, no messenger to delete. Have windows vista. Help!!!!

Stephen Beets
February 21, 2010 1:07 AM

Nothing above worked for me, but I figured out how to do it for myself. For Vista Users: Click the Start Button on your keyboard (it is the one with the Microsoft logo) and then go to Control Panel. Click on Administrative Tools (I assume that you have to be the Administrator to find this as an option). Find System Configuration in the list and click on it. Click Continue. When the box appears, click on the Startup Folder at the top. Scroll down till you see Windows Live Messenger (it was at the bottom of my list). Uncheck it and and then click Apply at the bottom of the box. It will tell you that you need to restart your computer to apply this change. Restart the computer and Goodbye Windows Messenger!

February 23, 2010 8:49 AM

Windows Messenger Service was removed for Vista and Windows 7 as a security precaution. Hackers were utilizing it in malicious manners. IT IS NOT THE SAME AS YOUR MESSENGER APPLICATIONS, SUCH AS WINDOWS LIVE MESSENGER AND AOL INSTANT MESSENGER, AS STATED ABOVE.

February 23, 2011 11:35 PM

This is not available in windows 7.

I can find it in My XP machine so from that i able to stop the messanger services but in WIN7..... Nthng like that is available.

Right. It's been done away with in Windows 7 (perhaps even Vista).

January 13, 2013 11:54 PM

i want to enable my messenger service, but a notification always popped up everytime i print. how can i get rid of this message while my messenger service is turned on?

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