Microsoft to force Messenger users to upgrade

Microsoft to force Messenger users to upgrade

Summary: Some time in the next few weeks, Microsoft is going to require all users of its Messenger instant-messaging service to upgrade to Windows Live Messenger 8.1, in the name of security.


Microsoft instant-messaging users who aren't yet running version 8.1 (or higher) of Windows Live Messenger, take note: Your days are numbered.

As reported by, some time in the next few weeks, Microsoft is going to require all Messenger users to upgrade, in the name of security. Security product manager "Anand" blogged:

"We will soon configure the service such that any user on Windows XP or later system has to use Windows Live Messenger 8.1. When a user using an older version of Messenger tries to login, the client will help the user with a mandatory upgrade to Messenger 8.1.

"Some of you might feel this inconvenient, but in order to protect you and protect the health of the network we have chosen to take this step."

Anand cited a security vulnerability affecting MSN Messenger 6.2, 7.0 and 7.5, as well as Windows Live Messenger 8.0 as proof that users would be best served by upgrading. That vulnerability is detailed in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS07-054, which Microsoft published on September 11.

Messenger users are seemingly none too happy with Microsoft's decision, as comments posted to the "Inside Windows Live Messenger" blog indicate. One anonymous poster wondered whether Microsoft would make exceptions for corporate or advanced users:

"(I)s there any option for corporate or advanced users who have other IM security controls in place to continue running version 7.0 on windows XP? 8.1 has many protocol differences from the older clients. Is there any documentation available describing the external websites/ports the 8.1 client requires for access? This has changed quite a bit from the older versions..."

Windows Live Messenger 8.1 is the currently available version of Microsoft's consumer IM client, but select testers also are dabbling with Live Messenger 8.5.

Being a long-time holdout myself (much preferring the streamlined, simple MSN Messenger look and feel to Windows Live Messenger's more cluttered interface), I, too, wish there was some way to keep the MSN Messenger UI. How about a "classic" view for Windows Live Messenger, Microsoft?

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Security


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • I run the new one

    Personally I found it had less clutter unless you are using a really old version but then those version were so basic they offered nothing.

    Found I was forced to move since the older versions would allow me to use my web cam.
  • Pidgin

    Which is why I always use Pidgin for all of my IM needs. One application, multiple networks, and free.
    • Not to mention

      no ads.
      Michael Kelly
    • Yeah, I use Pidgin. Also Xfire when playing a gme.

      Yeah, I use Pidgin, although I have a few issues with the way the devs do things . . .

      Actually, I've found that I'm using Xfire a lot more since it'll work inside games so that if one of my friends or myself is gaming we can still chat.
  • RE: Microsoft to force Messenger users to upgrade

    I have Vista and cannot get the latest version of messenger to work. I was forced to DL a program that won"t work on my computer!! I'm not a happy camper.
    • 8.1 works fine on Vista x86 and x64.

  • Better Advertising is more the likely reason

    especially if you are forced into having it.

    Why do people persist with complaining about MS knowing better than you what you want????? If this was a car manufacturer, you'd sell that brand and get another.

  • Another job for stealth updates!

    Just slip it in when they have their automatic updates turned off.

    Maybe no one will notice this time. :)
  • Keep it up, M$'ll be outta biz....

    Users have had it up to here with forced upgrades and sneaky stealth updates. I am going to be trying Ubuntu soon. I expect others will be trying alternatives too. We know there must be some demand, or Dell wouldn't be selling Linux laptops. Nice knowin' ya. Or not.
    • Be Serious

      You must be out of your <b>mind</b>. I am so tired of uneducated and immature comments like Microsoft is going to be out of biz. Meanwhile the Novells, Borland, Corels, IBM Software Division, etc. just continue to get wasted by Microsoft fire power. You may not like it but then lots of countries get worn out by the good old USA and we aren't going anywhere but up.
    • You have noted on several posts that you ....

      ... are a Linux users so please spare us the "I'm going to switch routine". If the amount of people who said they were going to switch to Linux actually did then Linux wouldn't be at less then 1% share. The problem is the "switchers" are always the same ones that switched years ago.
  • RE: Microsoft to force Messenger users to upgrade

    this is aweful.. i can't transfer my display pics:( i don't want to change yet:(
    • Spare us.

      Messenger doesn't run on Apple.
      • Spare us ... your stupidity...

        Open mouth and insert foot, I say. Messenger doesn't run on Mac? That's the best one I've heard yet from a lemming...
  • RE: Microsoft to force Messenger users to upgrade

    who are you to force us to change to an upgrade of msn.i happen to like msn messenger 7.5 and you annoying idiots have to change everything.i hate the new looks ugly and i refuse to use may seem like a small thing but it really bugs me.we have rights you know.infact i want you to change it back.leave people to make there own minds up.i'm 13 by the way.and reply if you want to

    i hate you all right now

    yours not sincerely
  • This is crazy!

    This is completely uneccesary and annoying, Microsoft should not be forcing its users to upgrade to a version they do not like! heres a petetion I found to stop this!
  • This is crazy!

    This is completely uneccesary and annoying, Microsoft should not be forcing its users to upgrade to a version they do not like! heres a petetion I found to stop this!
  • RE: Microsoft to force Messenger users to upgrade

    I don't know what's so wrong with's only for the better.
  • i don't liek this

    i dont liek this because my computer won't let me update
    so now i can't use msn cause of this.
    you shouldn't force us to upgrade
  • Simple, really

    If you don't like MSN, don't use it, there are plenty of options.
    Fred Fredrickson