T Nation

XP Pro: Instant Messaging?


Okay, guys...

I've always admitted to not being the most Tech Saavy...the average 2nd Grader could probably run rings around me on a computer, so no flaming!!! (LOL!)

A few years ago I used "ICQ" for instant messaging, but I would imagine that a LOT has changed since.

With the power of MS XP Professional, does it come with IM capabilities, or is that a function of MS Explorer?

How do I access it?

(Okay...you can stop laughing and answer the question!)

Thanks, guys!



If not...any thoughts on the best programs now?




I believe MSN Messenger is built in to XP. Actually, I think it's been built in to quite a few operating systems. Start>Programs>Windows Messenger. However, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) seems to be quite popular today. You can download that program from AIM.com. I prefer to use Trillian (www.Trillian.cc). This program is excellent because it connects to MSN, Yahoo!, AIM, ICQ, IRC, and Google IM. You have to pay for the pro version of the program, but if you'd like to easily get around that PM me.

Or you can PM me if you have any more questions. I'm not sure how clear that was if you're not tech savvy.


ICQ is still around. There are also YahooIM, AOL IM (AIM), and MS Messenger. All are free to use. To use any of them, you need to create an account. And you have to use the same program as whomever you wish to communicate with. For example, if you have an ICQ account, you cannot talk to someone on AIM.

To create accounts:
For YahooIM, you can just create a Yahoo email address.
AIM, the easiest thing is to go to http://www.aim.com/ and sign up through the site.
For ICQ, go here: http://www.icq.com/register
For MSN Messenger, you can go to http://www.msn.com (the link to messenger is there somewhere).

MS Messenger comes pre-installed on WindowsXP, and the other services require downloads.

However, I would suggest avoiding using the MS Messenger application, due to numerous security issues with it.

One of the best options is to use Gaim, which is a program that supports all four messengers (you can use all of them simultaneously, with only one application). It is a small download, it is opensource (free), and very easy to use. By 'easy', I mean that my mother was able to figure it out in about one minute, and she has difficulty playing a CD in the computer (I am not exaggerating).

To find Gaim, go to http://gaim.sourceforge.net and go to the Downloads section.

If you have any more questions, just post here or PM me.


Second the Trillian nomination.


Just download and install it. You'll have to have accounts on whatever services you like but it keeps everything together. It also has two very important features:

  1. You can be invisible - which means you are online but nobody can see you. Useful if you're waiting for someone but don't want to chat.
  2. You can put friendly names - if you have teenagers (at least Spanish teenagers) on MSN, they change their nick every two seconds and trying to keep track of who's who is a royal pain in the arse. Now just their names come up.


Now all you need are some hot chicks to talk to.

(PM me some screen names)


What ive noticed, for the most part, is that more foreign people use ICQ over yahoo/aim/msn. But whatever. i stick to aim(Gaim to be specific...the standard aim client is a piece of crap. too many ads.)


Another vote for Gaim, but I understand the Trillion client is pretty good too. The ads on AIM and Yahoo drive me nuts.


The main difference between trillian and gaim is that gaim pretty much leaves its users in the shit when it comes to direct connect and file transfer. I just keep aim in backup for that though.

Personally I dont like trillian though...the setup bugs the crap out of me i guess? go gaim!



You guys are the BEST!

I'm on it!

(I knew that a lot had been changed and/or added to the Technology since I last used ICQ!)

Thanks a lot, guys!



Actually, we're just nerds. I'll be interested in knowing which program you (as being totally unbiased) choose.


If you get AIM, get something like AdHack which removes the ads and spyware.


Oh yeah, it may be obvious but much depends on who you plan to talk to. 90% of the people I chat to already have MSN, so that pretty much decides what software I'm going to be using (stuff that supports MSN) - hence the Trillian. Otherwise, I'd try something else.