5 Alternatives to Windows Live Messenger

Amber Sass

Amber Sass

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The latest version of Windows Live Messenger has gotten mixed reception from users. Judging by the number of comments on Elena’s tutorial about how to uninstall Windows Live Messenger 2011, a lot of users aren’t thrilled with the changes!

You can always follow Elena’s tutorial to downgrade to Windows Live Messenger 2009, but you’ve got other options as well. In fact, there are quite a few alternative programs you can use that’ll let you chat with your friends online. Some of them even give you the experience of chatting with Live Messenger without the hassle of actually having to install it!

Here are five chat programs you can try out if you want to give Windows Live Messenger the boot.


That’s right. The popular video and audio messenger is also great for instant messaging. Just like Windows Live Messenger and other comparable programs, you can set Skype your status to online, away, do not disturb and invisible. You can also set up a group chat with others in a matter of clicks. Of course, the ability to switch to audio or video chat is also a convenient (and free!) perk. If you need help getting Skype set up, check out our Skype beginners tutorial.


Trillian is an all-in-one program, a multi-network IM client that aims to make just about everything easier for you as a user. With support for multiple chat programs like AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Skype and more. It also lets you access your POP3 and IMAP email accounts, Trillian gives you a lot of ways to keep in touch with your friends online, no matter what chat program they’re using. It’s even got support for Windows Live Messenger if you ever feel the need to go back.


If you’re a super social person online, Digsby offers an easy way to keep up with everything from your email contacts to Facebook friends. Of course, like Trillian, it also offers support for multiple clients. If you’re someone who likes to fiddle around with a multitude of settings as well, Digsby has a very complete menu, ensuring your IM, email and social networking experience is as customized as possible.


Mac users always love to gush about the apps made specifically for OS X. One of them is Adium, a multi-network client that lets you connect with friends across chat programs with ease. This time, Windows users don’t need to feel left behind because they can find a comparable program in Pidgin. As with many of the programs on this list, Pidgin is a multi-network chat client. It’s compatible with AIM, ICQ, Yahoo! Messenger and, you guessed it, Windows Live Messenger.


If you prefer the 2009 version of Windows Live Messenger but are looking to try out a different desktop app entirely, aMSN could be just what you’re looking for. It’s a classic alternative to older versions of Windows Live Messenger with a few nice extra features such as event alerts, conference support and auto-away messages. aMSN has a relatively basic interface appearance, so it’s a good thing you can download a variety of different skin options on the developer’s website. The same goes for plugins, which let you customize aMSN as close to your liking as possible.

Do you have a favorite IM client that’s not listed above? Which one is it, and why do you love it?

Amber Sass

Amber Sass

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