It may have been over a decade since its disappearance, but MSN Messenger still holds a special place in our hearts. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll surely fondly remember Microsoft’s messaging service. In fact, many of us still feel phantom buzzes on the toolbar, announcing with great fanfare that someone had something important to tell us.
In an era where Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram didn’t exist and mobile phones were only used for calling or sending SMS (yes, there was a time without WhatsApp too), Windows Live Messenger reigned supreme on every PC. It was the only way to communicate with classmates, friends, those enemies we wanted to keep an eye on, and, of course, our long-distance crush… It’s no wonder it became a fundamental part of the adolescence of those of us who are now in our thirties.
In today’s article, we’re going to get nostalgic and share some of the funniest memories Messenger has left us with. If you used this messaging service in the past, we guarantee you’re in for a good laugh. Here we go!
1. Block someone from day one
We’ve all had that experience at least once where someone we couldn’t stand added us on Messenger, and to get out of the situation, we ended up accepting their request. The solution? Block them for eternity and then pretend that you were rarely online (when in reality, you spent 90% of your day glued to the PC). As Machiavelli said in The Prince, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer.”
2. Personalize the window and the sound for that special someone
Windows Live Messenger allowed you to customize the window color, apply a theme, or change notification sounds for specific contacts or groups. It was a clever way to know who was messaging you without even looking at the screen, especially when it was someone who caught your attention.
3. Talking about the same thing with several people at the same time
Messenger undoubtedly made many of us master multitasking within minutes. It was common to have multiple simultaneous conversations where we were talking about the exact same thing. Of course, we assured each of them that we were only discussing it with them and that their opinion was the one that mattered to us.
4. Leaving the PC on to match with the person you liked
There’s the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Middle Ages, and the most feared of all: the Age of Adolescence. For most of us, the arrival of Messenger coincided with this last one, so it was quite common to develop a crush (to put it mildly) on one of our Messenger contacts.
Using cutting-edge courtship tactics and to coincide with that person, it was normal to leave the computer on all day with the volume turned up to the maximum to know if our future love interest was online. Then we had to pretend that we had just logged in or that we hadn’t noticed they were online.
5. Collecting emoticons as if they were Pokémon
The Messenger emoticons were like trading cards. Getting the basic ones was easy, but the really good and animated ones were a delicacy worth fighting for. I admit I was a big hoarder of emoticons, but that’s all in the past now.
6. Using a program to find out who has blocked you
Finding out if someone has blocked you remains a mystery to this day. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to know if someone has blocked them on WhatsApp or any other messaging app? In Messenger, there were various ways to figure out if someone was truly offline or just pretending. Programs like MSN Detective attempted to uncover the truth, but they weren’t always reliable. Nevertheless, they provided some entertainment value and helped pass the time.
7. Check if someone had removed you from their contact list
There was only one thing worse than someone blocking you on MSN Messenger… Being removed directly from their contact list! Although in theory you couldn’t know it, there was a trick known by everyone with which you could check it. You simply needed to access the privacy options of the app and, already in the contact list, click on each of them with the right mouse button. If the “Delete” option appeared, that person had deleted you from their MSN-Life.
8. Wait a reasonable amount of time before talking to someone
The unwritten rule of not immediately calling someone who has given you their phone number also applied to Messenger conversations. Everything had its time, and a good Messenger user knew exactly when he could open a chat to someone so as not to appear too desperate.
9. Getting angry with someone because he/she didn’t tell you anything on MSN Messenger
Cyber-drama is nothing new. While we didn’t have the double blue tic in conversations as a trigger for anger before, we were very clear that we needed to be greeted by Messenger. So, the MSN Messenger years were filled with frowns, drama and a lot of resentment towards all those people -especially supposed boyfriends- who didn’t say hello when connecting.
10. Install A-Patch to clean Messenger window
A-Patch was a marvel. As soon as I installed Messenger, the first thing I did was to use A-Patch to clean it from all kinds of useless options. It was so clean!
11. Send buzzes like there’s no tomorrow
One of the last memories I have of Windows Live Messenger is that, being at a college classmate’s house doing a group work, we started sending buzzes to a classmate. We laughed non-stop watching how the MSN window moved like a shaker, imagining our friend’s reaction. And despite being completely useless, the buzzing was as funny as it was annoying.
12. Send a file and it fails at 99%
One of the star features of MSN Messenger is that it allowed you to send all kinds of files between your contacts. It may not sound like a big deal now, but at the time it was a revelation. We all started sharing music tracks, games and videos among our friends. The problem? Sending took ages to complete and most (if not all) of them failed.
13. Take 20 minutes to decipher poems to find out who’s who
Poems and famous quotes in nicknames, what a great invention! It was necessary to browse through tons of them to know who was who. Since Windows Live Messenger 2011 it became more difficult to keep using nicknames, as it used the first and last name of the Live account.
14. Send coded messages in your status
With the advent of personal messages, it became fashionable to use this space to send secret messages to someone on the contact list. Either by means of the lyrics of a song or by writing cryptically, we could tell Perico (el de los Palotes) that we liked him or Fulanito de Tal that we disliked him. It was a time when passive-aggressive messages flourished and love declarations were the order of the day on the MSN interface.
15. Anxiously watching Messenger’s loading animation
Surely you remember that when you started your Messenger session, the animation of the two little monkeys of the app spinning like a spinning top would appear. There were few things that generated more anxiety then than seeing those two dolls spinning non-stop, because that meant that MSN was down. A drama of apocalyptic dimensions.
16. Send winks compulsively
Throughout the many years of Messenger’s life, Microsoft added features to its messaging app. With the arrival of Windows Live Messenger, the terrifying “Winks” appeared. Under this innocent name was hidden an extremely intrusive animation with sound that, like a Dark Souls invader, took over your entire screen. Obviously your heaviest contacts did not stop sending them non-stop.
17. Wrong window when sending messages
Although it was possible to use different window backgrounds for each contact, in the heat of battle it was possible to use the wrong window and say the wrong thing to the wrong person. There were few worse ways to screw up! And then there was no way to delete messages. Once sent, you just had to deal with the consequences.
18. Hiding messages by pressing space bar and enter continuously
If you used MSN Messenger as a teenager, you probably wanted to hide a conversation from your parents or siblings on more than one occasion. The universal practice for this was as simple as pressing space bar and enter without stopping so that the Messenger window would fill up with a blank space. If others knew about this trick, they knew you were hiding something.
19. Logging in and out of Messenger to attract attention
When one of your Messenger contacts connected, a small pop-up with sound appeared in the lower right corner of the screen. If you had been online for a while and the person you liked did not greet you, there was only one option: log out of MSN and log back in so that the pop-up would reappear and get their attention.
20. Using more emoticons than letters in a conversation
Some people took the emoticon fever too far, making conversations impossible to read. There were even those who installed an emoticon for each letter of the alphabet.
21. Changing your status to “offline” to avoid talking to someone
In MSN Messenger, making a ninja getaway with smoke ball included was possible thanks to being able to change your status to “Offline”. Thanks to this you could still see who was online without having to deal with unwanted conversations. Another option was to block the heavy in question from appearing offline. That way you could continue talking to your friends without him or her knowing.
22. Make a playlist of cool songs to look cooler
One of the most remembered features of Messenger is that the application allowed you to share with your friends what song you were listening to at that moment. As a result, many of us spent a lot of time looking for the best songs that reflected our mood and thus seemed much more interesting.
23. Having a friend who wrote one word per line
Messenger conversations were very fast, but sometimes too fast. It was normal to cut a sentence into several chunks, to speed up the text flow, but some people took it too far. You could hear them from far away: Messenger’s notification noise was like a dubstep song.
24. Have a contact who was ALWAYS online
No matter if it was four in the morning or two in the afternoon, when you opened Live Messenger you were always going to find that person online. Worst of all, if that person was the classic nag who sent you a message instantly and there was no way to escape from it.
25. When you were added to a conversation in which you did not know anyone
If you think WhatsApp groups are a real horror, you haven’t experienced the group conversations in Windows Live Messenger. If in the app it was already difficult to follow a conversation with just one person, imagine a group with several. It was a festival of emoticons and names longer than the texts they were writing, scrolling up quickly. But the worst was when you had a friend who liked to invite you to all kinds of groups.