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If enabled, MSN Messenger stores your message history in a relatively obscure location, but it's easily discovered.


Where is the message History File saved?

I'll assume you mean MSN Messenger.

Fire up Messenger, Select Tools, Options, Messages, and near the bottom of that dialog you'll find the Message History setting. Enable that and you can see where the message history files are stored or specify the location yourself.

Article C1955 - May 29, 2004 « »

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?

October 5, 2004 9:00 PM

i have different folks using my computer. they delete message archives on yahoo messenger. How can i set up a system, where when they hit delete, the messages they delete go into a different folder. that way it looks like messages have been deleted, and they think they are deleted. but in reality they are in another folder.

October 5, 2004 9:01 PM

i have read full article and i'm refering to yahoo messenger

October 5, 2004 10:05 PM

Not reasonable that I can think of. I mean, yes, one could write a program that intercepts file operations and acts on the ones you want - much like spyware can to. But it'd requires a computer programmer to pull that together for you, and would not be easy. Be aware that Yahoo claims the archives are encrypted such that only the ID that created them can read them.

October 12, 2004 3:58 PM

i would like for all instant messaging conversations to be saved

October 26, 2004 8:37 AM

I would like to disable the option save history in MSN Messenger. I'd like it to be always on, with no way of changing it. Please post a suggestion if you have one.

November 13, 2004 1:19 PM

I downloaded MSN Messenger 6.2 yesterday, for use on my PC, its not shared, but for some reason when I go to turn on Message History the function is disabled....and how do I get it back on...WHY DOES 6.2 SUCK SO BAD?????

November 17, 2004 11:39 AM

Windows Messenger version 5 doesn't have Tools->Options->Messages tab, and thus no way to determine where our Message History file is located. We know it's being generated as someone has been jacked up by Managers based on a print out of their history. Anyone know what the story might be?

November 21, 2004 6:10 AM

I would like for instant messages to be put somewhere so you can go back to it after you exit the instant message. That way you can show people what creeps have been IMing you.

February 9, 2005 11:59 AM

okay, i read that all of the yaho messenger archives are encrypted. my question is do you have to find a program to decifer them or if you log on under the login they were used as will you be able to read them

February 9, 2005 12:13 PM

You need to login with the original user ID.

February 21, 2005 5:44 AM

In MSN messengers message history, how are the messages layout. Is it TO/FROM or FROM/TO? I believe I have the most recent verson.


March 12, 2005 9:55 PM

I had a MSN Messenger 6[point something] before. And it worked.. the saving message history thing.. so i could always pull it out. But when I reboot my computer, I downloaded the same exact version, but this time, that option is disabled, and i have NO IDEA on how to enable it back. This time i've downloaded 7.0 BETA. and it's STiLL DiSABLED!! someone help me.. it looks like this:

March 29, 2005 1:31 PM

I am having the same problem as Krispiey... i have messenger Beta 7.0 and im trying to get it to record my messages but it is disabled and im not sure how to fix it... please help me... URGENT

May 11, 2005 5:42 AM

I have enabled automatic saving of conversations in history in MSN messenger. But yesterday, i had finished chatting with one contact and when I went to view the message history, yesterday's conversation was missing. What happened?? I don't understand. Pls help. I tried searching for it everywhere. The XML history file shows previous chat sessions, but not yesterday's. Help!

May 17, 2005 11:16 PM

What if you dont have your messages saved is there still another way to get prevous conversations?

May 18, 2005 9:56 PM

Not that I'm aware of.

June 13, 2005 8:32 PM

I was wondering how I pull up old AOL Instant Message conversations, or if I even can.

July 9, 2005 4:03 PM

I just wanted to know whether you can find old msn messages that weren't stored to your computer? surely there must be a way of finding them on your hard drive?

July 9, 2005 8:58 PM

If you didn't have them saved, then no.

Alice In Wonderland
August 22, 2005 10:50 AM

I have a friend that is in a precarious work situation and we talk abouit it in the messenger. I have version 7.0 & i have the history & a way to delete it if i need to. But she has version 4 and we can't find anyway of getting to a history file. Did that version even keep a history? If so how do we get to it to view & delete? When she goes to "file" and the drop down appears there is no "view message history" in hers...Please help if you can...THANK YOU!

August 27, 2005 10:31 PM

when i saved aol instant messages when i pull it back up it is in some sort of computer language and un-readable unless saved in wordpad , KNow why? also saved video message and did a restore on computer is the video gone for good is there a way to pull it up somehow someway? thanx

August 29, 2005 9:56 PM

In most cases those files are meant to be read in the instant messaging program itself, not directly. So the file has additional information not really meant for human eyes. Not really sure what to tell you about the video. My guess is that it is, indeed, gone.

September 3, 2005 1:44 AM

Do you know how MSN history files are named? I thought it was just a random assortment of numbers on the end (10) but that doesn't seem to be it.

October 29, 2005 1:50 PM

where do u find message history i need to find it real bad on MSN messanger and i havent saved any of it!!! plz help me!!!

October 29, 2005 2:06 PM

If you haven't saved it, it doesn't exist. Sorry.

January 11, 2006 1:15 PM

i need help, i am switching jobs and have yahoo and aim installed on my work computer but would like to know that all my previous im's cannot be pulled from the hardrive and reviewed how can i do this.

February 2, 2006 4:49 AM

I am facing problem in detecting massage history file names of MSN messenger.
I need to programmatically detect file name using users email id.
so I can use username before @ but again if there are two users of same name but different domains like
and then msn will generate two history files starting like "amol then some random number .xml"
Thanks in advance for your help.

Anonymous Help
February 6, 2006 3:51 PM

Okay, to all those that has a problem of not being able to save messages but have the right version of MSN messenger, I suggest you download Internet Explorer version 6.0

February 20, 2006 3:16 AM


My boss is making internet backup file on my system. How can I detect them ,I dont know where is storing all them.
I had opened some sites which are not allowed in my office.
Then how can I detect them .
Its compulsury for to save my Job...

Please Help ME.

penis enlargement
March 10, 2006 6:10 PM

Three phrases should be among the most common in our daily usage. They are: Thank you, I am grateful and I appreciate.

May 28, 2006 10:24 AM

hi I was just wondering if someone has their message history button clicked off so it is NOT saving their conversations, if they sign into msn messenger but on another computer does their settings remain the same so that their conversations are not being saved on that persons computer?

May 28, 2006 10:31 AM

No. I believe it needs to be set on each computer.

June 8, 2006 11:43 AM

is posible enable the Message History option in the msn messenger modifying some configuration file?

July 3, 2006 4:49 AM

When you first get msn messanger there is an option for you to have message history or not. Probably like quite a few other people i said no. Then suddenly i did want it but i caouldn't find a way to get it back. But now i do for all the people who did what i did. You just go into the the top left corner and look for Tools. Click on tools and then go down to the bottom and click options...Click on messages and then go down and you'll find the thing about message history. click it.

July 19, 2006 6:52 AM

I am having a problem opening already deleted msn history files. Once they have been deleted the file converts to a xsl spreadsheet from it's original xml format. How can i convert these message logs into a readable format??? IS there any way??

July 24, 2006 4:21 AM

hey Leo,
I have a problem my friend has enabled the Message History in his MSN Messenger en I can dot click it because is gray.
What can I do to Able the message history.
Plaese help me.

arielle bergner
August 1, 2006 10:40 AM

Hey Leo,
I want to open a message history from my friends and when i click on "view message history" a window pops up and it says "sorry, you don't have a message history for any of your contacts". Where do my conversations go?

September 12, 2006 4:31 AM

I've not enabled my saving history tab. I was wondering if that wasn't enabled, can i still actually view my history somewhere? Will it be saved eventhough i did not enabled the history saving tab? Your prompt reply is deeply appreciated. Thanks

September 24, 2006 10:08 PM

I specify a location where I want my IM history to go but after I go to file to view the history and delete it it is deleted as well from the file where I want it to save in

October 22, 2006 10:58 AM

i didnt save my conversations to my computer of msn now i need to get access one how do i do it

Leo Notenboom
October 22, 2006 11:15 AM

You don't. If you didn't save them, there's nothing to retreive.

November 1, 2006 10:52 AM

Hi Leo
i would like to know a few things about the Message History in MSN MESSENGER. How do i enable and disable it,also if its enabled where do the files go to, and if its disabled is it possible that the messages were saved in some file somewhere or are they impossible to obtain. Thank you

November 15, 2006 12:21 AM

hi....i use web messenger, but i didn see any tools , option ? So i dono how to find back the chat history before, can u help me?

November 16, 2006 6:31 PM

yes I too would like to know how to retrieve instant messages that might been saved and to delete them cause I cant have any friends without my husband going into a jealous rage but he has been chatting with other women

January 2, 2007 7:12 AM

Can I track message history when I've chated via my mobile on MSN.


January 17, 2007 12:35 AM


MSN 7.5 - my friends message history keeps getting enabled but no one else is doing it... what can be causing it?? is this a fault with Msn 7.5 ??

please help!

chelsea :)

January 24, 2007 5:08 AM

hi Leo,
please help me, i have i mac from aple and i don-t know where is my hystory from messenger yahoo.Can you help me?And another questions is if i can't remove file or documents from mac to windows .

March 25, 2007 7:17 AM

For everyone who's asking about retrieving messages which have not been saved in MSN Messenger's Message History... it can't be done. If the option isn't turned on, once you close the chat window, the chat is GONE.

- How to turn Message History on/off: At the top of the MSN Messenger window, select 'Tools', then 'Options'; then click the third entry down on the left-hand side, 'Messages'. If you want to retain a message history, "Automatically keep a history of my conversations" MUST be checked; if you do NOT want to retain messages, UNcheck that selection.

If you have the Message History option turned on, your conversations will be stored in the folder indicated in the "Save my conversations in this folder:" area.

Paul M
April 13, 2007 2:02 AM

Hi I accidently deleted message history. I have it enabled and saved but I deleted it from the received files and its not in the recycle bin. Anyway to get it back?

May 23, 2007 2:06 PM

Hi I accidently deleted message history. I have it enabled and saved but I deleted it from the received files and its not in the recycle bin. Anyway to get it back?

May 28, 2007 10:41 AM

I have read the article on top of this page, I accidently deleted message history, but it is not found in the recycle bin. Anyway to get it back?

October 10, 2007 4:35 PM

why does the history not save if messenger shuts down without you closing the chat window manually? e.g. when your system does an update and automatic restart.

October 19, 2007 11:25 PM

when my selected folder that i saved the msn history was full, it prompt and asked me still want to save? I clicked YES, but why i cant find the history in my folder again? where does it save to? Pls help tks.

October 26, 2007 8:28 AM

Hello...I accidentally deleted message history. I have it enabled and saved but I deleted it from the received files and its not in the recycle bin. Anyway to get it back?

November 24, 2007 3:40 AM

actually i want to send the copy of messages to one of my friend which is saved in my hotmail messenger history.............can u plz tell me how can i send it,,,,,or how can i copy paste it,,,,,,,or how can i send some part of that message.........plz rply soon...!


Best Regards


April 6, 2008 12:02 PM

hi i have my message history checked to save messages but some i am not able to view some of my contacts? and i have had conversations but i dont know why there not saving

April 22, 2008 3:23 AM

Hi Leo
I have an acer windows vista and I was looking for my message history, messages that was sent out from my msn hotmail where could I find it
thanks Dianne

May 23, 2008 5:52 AM

I know where the message history is, but why does the history not save if messenger shuts down without you closing the chat window manually? e.g. if it encounters a problem and needs to close, or when your system does an update and automatic restart?

Thanks in advance.

June 8, 2008 12:53 AM

I have the save message history disabled i msn, but i found that the chat logs were all saved in a folder named My Chat Logs in My Documents. I am using windows vista. How can i be sure that there will not be any chat history log saved on my computer???

July 14, 2008 8:46 AM

i followed your advice and found my message history, but when i try to see my message history a window comes up saying

The XML page cannot be displayed
Cannot view XML input using XSL style sheet. Please correct the error and then click the Refresh button, or try again later.


The system cannot locate the resource specified.

how can i fix this ?

August 1, 2008 5:49 PM

hi :)
I have one msn history that wasn't save completely. There's only a few part of it. Do you know why it happened? And if I can find the other part of the discussion?

Thanks in advance and sorry if my english isn't so good.

August 16, 2008 9:51 AM

Hey there I have a similar problem too. Using a Macbook for the first time and I accidentally deleted (saved) message history from MSN. I have it enabled and saved but I deleted it from the received files and its not in the recycle bin? How can I find them or get them back again? Thanks so much for your help. Much appreciated :)

September 16, 2008 10:15 AM

hi..i have unchecked to save my history in tools..options ..messeges etc...but some1 told me it still saves somehwere on the comp even if u uncheck it..and i have msn live..NOT plus...HELP!

ramy zaky
September 19, 2008 8:52 AM

please i want all the chat history

October 18, 2008 4:58 PM

hey i have never saved any history on msn,,,and meither do i..but i can see a file in my docs/my user/ the chatt history there,and how can i delete it please help x

November 10, 2008 10:51 AM

well i was just wondering i cant find the Messages after option..
and i reallie want to view my history can u help me view all me my history..

December 4, 2008 3:07 PM

i want to re back my history chat with some one on my account can i do it after i delete the history or no thanks

December 9, 2008 11:32 PM

well....i certainly do not want my chats stored in the chat logs under my docs for all my family to see, nor do i want to delete everytime i chat...

i've tried everything to stop this and nothing works!! I have the PLUS! - and even though i went to tools/ options/messages and UNCHECKED the "store my messages"..they are still getting stored!! HELP!!

December 10, 2008 12:04 AM

TO delete chat logs from showing up in my docs/chat logs - for PLUS!:

go to
- plus link at top
- preferences
- conversations
- chat logging - here you uncheck the first box, and then i went into filter and pressed disable button at bottom..and unchecked all contact...


December 13, 2008 8:37 PM

If I don't save it before,but I still wanna find the message history before.How should I do?

January 14, 2009 7:03 AM

can you help me to get history in yahoo messenger please thank you.

March 4, 2009 7:02 PM

I was keeping a history of my son's msn messages and he seem to have deleted the folder, is there anywhere else I can get the messages back?

April 30, 2009 12:11 PM

I have just made it so i can save my history but how do i get all my history back from before ?

If you weren't saving your history from before then there's no record of your history from before and you can't recover your history from before.
- Leo

May 11, 2009 10:39 AM

hi, i have deleted my saved windows live messenger chat by mistake. actaully when i finish chatting with my friend,a window appear which shows thats ur memory is full, so by mistake i have click delete old files button. is there any chance that i can recover that chat. thanks

June 23, 2009 10:26 AM

Hi I used to save all my chats but then my computer was infected with a virus and lost everything (i mean everything!) my computer had to be re-born - is there any way i can retrieve chats i had about three years ago, i can not seem to contact anyone at msn, thank you

No. They don't save 'em.
- Leo

October 6, 2009 8:01 PM

i want to re back my history chat with some one on my account can i do it after i delete the history or no thanks

February 3, 2010 4:24 PM


i have deleted my chat history from yahoo messenger and now i want some of messages back. Could you please suggest me how can i get that messages on my system. I have windows seven. please suggest me where can i find those messages on my system. If archieve is disabled then these chats saved anywhere in system or not?
Please help me out.

February 22, 2010 5:16 PM

I seem to always be getting odd requests to add people on MSN. Is there a way to delete my MSN account but not my hotmail account?

June 2, 2010 2:15 PM

i have my msn messenger set up so it saves my conversation but i cant find them anywhere in my computer, how can i fix this...they never get save,,

June 10, 2010 7:16 PM

You explained how to find my chat history (conversations) on my pc but are my conversations stored only on MY PC or like my emails on MSN's big computer because if it's like emails: can I read my conversations from any pc?

Message history is saved only on the computer you're using, and only if you enable the feature.

June 24, 2010 5:11 AM

i have set my msn messenger so that my conversations are saved, but i cant find them back in the received documents map and my father is also able to find my msn conversations when i havent even saved them in the received documents map. how are both situations possible?

October 16, 2010 3:05 PM

hiiii... i have unchecked the bar tht says automatically save my conversations on msn... but still there is some wayy my brother cann recover my chat historyy... please suggest me a way to to delete alll myy msn chat historyy.. or could it be get deleted if i reinstall my windows?? i would really appreciate your answer thanks

April 17, 2011 10:11 AM

the stock file extension that it saves to is C:\Users\(your user)\Documents\My Received Files\
thats what a lot of the comments were asking

September 21, 2012 5:16 AM

Where are the history files or conversations filed on my mobile?
If I deleted them, are they gone for good?

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