This comes from Tourbus Newsletter: http://www.TOURBUS.com
Windows has a , built-in feature called the "Windows Messenger
Service." Now this is NOT to be confused with "Microsoft Messenger"
or "MSN Messenger," Microsoft's free instant messaging program (a la
AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, or IRC.) *WINDOWS* Messenger Service is a
way for mainframe and network administrators to broadcast an emergency
text message to all users.
The Windows Messenger Service is, by default, enabled in Windows NT,
Windows 2000, Windows XP (Home and Professional), and Windows 2003.
And it's about as useless as giving a job application to my brother.
The problem is that the Windows Messenger Service can be used by
unscrupulous spammers to send you an untraceable pop-up message even
if your Internet Explorer is closed. And, even worse, a hacker can
use the Windows Messenger Service to break into your computer and do
all sort of nasty things "including installing programs, viewing,
changing or deleting data, or creating new accounts with full
privileges." [Source: Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-043 at
By the way, you DON'T need to worry about the Windows Messenger
Service if have a Mac, a *nix box, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows
98SE, or Windows ME. BUT, if you have Windows NT, Windows 2000,
Windows XP, and Windows 2003, you need to turn this little bugger off.
You could manually disable the Windows Messenger Service if you want
-- the University of Virginia's Information Technology and
Communications department shows you how to disable it at
-- but if I
were you I'd just hop on over to
and download the free "Shoot the Messenger" program. I *HIGHLY*
recommend this program for four reasons:
1. It's free. Free is good.
2. The Shoot the Messenger program is only 22 kilobytes in size.
That's so small it's downright silly. You can download this
program literally faster than you can read this sentence, even
on the slowest modem connection on earth.
3. Shoot the Messenger was created by Steve Gibson at Gibson
Research, the guy behind ShieldsUp and SpinRite. Steve is
probably one of the most trusted and respected computer gurus
on the planet. Having Steve Gibson [through his Shoot the
Messenger program] disable the Windows Messenger Service for
you is like having Lance Armstrong fix your bike or Michael
Schumaker fix your car.
4. Downloading and running Shoot the Messenger keeps you from
having to get your hands dirty by going to Start > Settings >
Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services > Messenger ...
blah blah blah.
Once you have downloaded Shoot the Messenger, just double-click on the
shootthemessenger.exe icon. A little window appears telling you if
the Windows Messenger Service is running on your computer. If it is,
just click on the "Disable Messenger" button and then click on "Exit."
That's it. The Windows Messenger Service is now disabled, and your
computer is now protected from both the spammers and the hackers who
have been using the Windows Messenger Service to do nasty things to
other people's computers.
Oh, and you can delete shootthemessenger.exe if you want. You don't
need it any more. :)
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