Setting up MSN

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MSN is a commonly used Instant messaging protocol (once called windows messenger, or MSN messenger, now Windows Live Messenger). Anyone with a hotmail account can use MSN, but many people don't realise that you can use MSN messenger without a hotmail account.

Traditionally Microsoft required you to use hotmail, however microsoft were forced to allow users to sign up using their own address.........



You will need the following:

  • An existing email address
  • A computer with an Internet connection
  • An installed copy of MSN messenger/Windows Live Messenger, or another MSN compatible IM client such as Pidgin (Gaim)


There are three primary steps in the process.

Sign Up

  • Go To and select "Yes, use my e-mail address" and hit Continue.
  • Fill in the form, entering your email address in full (eg:, then add a password of your choice and retype. See Note on Passwords.
  • Setup you password reset option, if you have forgotten you password.
  • As instructed, copy the letters in the picture to the box below.
  • Click Continue.
  • This page is the "Review and sign the Agreements" where you read the "terms of use" and "Privacy statement".
  • Next you retype you email account and click "I Accept".
  • The next screen tells you that you will be sent an email to confirm the account.
  • Click Continue.
  • You should now see a page were you can change your password or other credentials called, "Account Services Home". At this point you may close your browser.

Confirm Email Address

  • Check you email account for an email from Microsoft Customer Support titled "Confirm your e-mail address for Windows Live ID" and visit the link contained in the email under the heading "CONFIRM ACCOUNT".
  • Once the web page loads Click Continue
  • Close the browser.

Set up Messenger Software

  • Enter email address and new MSN password into IM application.
The Microsoft clients usually ask for this on the first screen. For other clients, check the help/documentation.


  • Select the accounts menu - Add/edit
  • Click Add
  • Select Protocol: MSN
  • Screen Name: Enter your full email address
  • Password: Enter the MSN password
  • Select Remember Password (Optional)
  • Click Save

You should be automatically be signed in

Note on Passwords

When signing up for services that require you to choose a password to secure your account, the following recommendations are usually made:

  1. Don't use the same password as on another site.
  2. Choose a complex password that's difficult to guess.
  3. Don't write the password down.

On first glance these are sensible suggestions, but consider, you now have an email account, an MSN account, and various other accounts and subscriptions with Google, Yahoo, MySpace/Facebook/Bebo, each with its on unique, cryptic password that you have to remember.

Generally a MSN application will remember your password for you, so you don't have to re-enter it every time you use it. Because you don't have to use the password, you will probably forget it. This is fine until you need to sign into your account on another computer, if you upgrade computers or MSN software, or if something goes wrong and you need to re-enter the password.

Take into consideration also, many accounts are not critical accounts, they don't hold financial information, the consequences of someone breaking into or hijacking the account are not major. A big pain, perhaps, but not the end of the world, so write them down somewhere.

If you regularly use an email account that allows you to keep a large amount of emails indefinitely, email them to yourself. Give the emails a descriptive name, including the name of the service, so you can find it easily when you need to. If you use Gmail or another service that uses tags labels or folders, group them together for easy reference.

A few tips:

  • If your putting all your eggs in one basket, try and pick somewhere secure.
  • Make sure that where ever you record your passwords you can still get to them in 3 years, a yearly day-planner/diary is no good if you replace it every year.
  • Be sure to record the name of the service, the web address and your username along with the password.

Notes for CSU students

Many people have trouble with the latest Windows Live Messenger. If you do, try the older MSN Messenger 7.5, available from here.

There are also a few settings required to get it working on campus:

  • Internet options - LAN settings - Manual proxy: (bizarrely it can be turned off, but the fields still need to be filled in)
  • MSN Messenger - Options - Connections - Enter CSU username and CSU password


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