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Put Messenger back in the tray in Windows 7 where it belongs

On the latest episode of the Windows Weekly podcast, and in this article, I was complaining about the new default behavior for Windows Live Messenger under Windows 7: Instead of placing its icon in the tray notification area, Windows 7 gives it a full-fledged taskbar button when minimized, and two or more buttons if other windows (like the main window or chat windows) are open. I don’t like this, and while I appreciate the effort to clean up the tray, the effect is to simply clutter up another part of the UI instead.

Turns out you can “fix” it. I got a very helpful email today explaining that you can simply run Windows Live Messenger in Windows Vista compatibility mode to move its icon back to the tray where God intended. To do so, quit Messenger. Then, find the executable file, msnmsgr.exe (it’s in C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Messenger by default), right-click it, choose Properties, and visit the Compatibility tab. Under Compatibility Mode, select “Run this program in compatibility mode for” and then choose Windows Vista from the list. Click OK and restart Messenger. Voila!

Thanks very much to Marcus F. for the tip.

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