Updated 5/10/2004
JT's Computer FAQs
Everything you want to know, plus what you didn't know you'd like to know.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

To stop the Windows Messenger Service pop-up spam immediately skip ahead to "4 Steps to Stopping Messenger Service".

You'll find "Thank You's and Testimonials" listed at the end of this post.

My Experience: 5+ Months of Windows Pop-Up Spam

I can't believe that for the past five and a half months I've allowed Messenger Service Pop-Up Spam to show up on my Windows 2000 Server. I'd kept simply hitting the close-box of each Messenger Service message that showed up.

It wasn't until today that I decided to do a quick Internet search to learn more about this rude spam mechanism that I kept thinking Microsoft would put a stop to with a patch or an update.

"Feature" vs. Security Vulnerability

Microsoft apparently has seen Messenger Service as a Windows "feature" ever since it was first introduced in Windows NT 3.5.

In actuality, the Windows Messenger Service is a security vulnerability, it allows spam direct access to your NT based Windows OS.

Vulnerability: Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP

Windows XP users are susceptible to Messenger Service spam (as I am on Windows 2000), since XP is based on NT, but Windows 95, 98, and Me users are not (they're not based on NT).

Stopping the Pop-Ups

Stopping the Windows Messenger Service Pop-Ups is really very easy. You can stop the service now by following the "4 Steps to Stopping Messenger Service", below.

I'd suggest first sending yourself a message with the service so that when you stop it you can again try sending a message and see that it doesn't get through. Here's how to do that:

Sending Yourself a Message with Messenger Service:

  1. From the start menu select "Run..."
  2. Type "cmd.exe", then click "OK"
  3. Type "net send hi" (as shown below)

If cmd.exe responds with "the message was successfully sent to", as below, your system is vulnerable to pop-up spam. You should take the "4 Steps to Stopping Messenger Service", further down.

Once you've disabled and stopped Messenger Service (if you haven't yet, go ahead and do it now then come back to this), sending yourself a message, as described above should result in the following response from cmd.exe: "An error occurred while sending a message to", like so:

4 Steps to Stopping Messenger Service

  1. Go to the "Start" menu, choose "Run", type in "services.msc", then Click "OK".
  2. Scroll (down) to "Messenger", select it, right-click it and choose "Properties".
  3. Next to "Startup type:" choose "Disabled", then click the "Stop" button.
  4. When stopped, click "OK".

Verifying that Windows Messenger Service is Disabled

I highly recommed verifying that Messenger Service is disabled, as indicated further above, under "Sending Yourself a Message with Messenger Service". This way you get the immediate gratification of seeing that Windows Messenger Service pop-up spam has been stopped.

If this FAQ has been helpful I'd love to know. Send me a quick message by clicking on the email icon. Want to help some others? Send them this URL: popup.zaz.com (simply type this into any web browser to get this page).

- Kevin JT Binder, 1-877-3-BINDER

Spam image source: Dan Garcia's Spam page

Thank You's and Testimonials

I just started getting those pop ups a month ago. I typed in "messenger service pop up" on google and found your site. I can't believe how simple your instructions were to fix that annoying problem! I've sent your link to several friends, and will continue to do so!

Thanks again!

- DJ Alan Luna, Florida

Thank you so much for the info. I have been trying to stop those pop us for months. They kept giving my www addresses, but when I got there they wanted 24.95 or more for their programs like fightPopups, bustpopups, and defeast messenger. What a joke. Great to know there are still humans out there. Now I have to just get rid of the junk mail and keep myself virus free.
Thank you again,

- Roxanne

Thanks a lot.  It worked great.

- 6 Speed Jetta Tim

Thanks for the details on how to stop Windows Messenger pop up spam. It worked like a charm.

- Kaylene

[Messenger Service] OBITUARY: August 16, 2003

The Death of Messenger Service was reported today at 10:30 AM. Messenger Service [MS] had been residing at 8200 Dell for the past 3 months but it's origins are still unknown. MS belonged to a subversive group known as SPAM. MS held the rank (and I do mean RANK) of "Chief-Pain-In-The A--." MS is survived by members of the Pop-Up family whose numbers are dwindling due to the in(ter)jection of "Binder [Inoculator]" which is attributed to the death of MS. There will be no Services...no more no more no more no more. In lieu of flowers send notes of thanks to Institute of Kev.


I cannot thank you enough but those are hugs and kisses on the above line. For this old duffer, your instructions were easy to understand and to implement. I got to the point where I was ready to rip out my computer and beat it with a rolling-pin! but thanks to you I have managed my anger and channeled it to a more deserving recipient...George Bush ;O)

- Mary

Thank you so much for the information on stopping those very annoying messenger pop ups. I followed your instructions and it worked like a charm. I can now browse in peace!!!

- TW


Thanks so much for your article on How-To Stop Windows Messenger Service Pop-Up Spam. They've been driving me crazy for weeks now with ads offering me a way to purchase software that will make it stop. Your free advice did the trick.

Thanks for the integrity.


Hey! Thanks for your tips! I felt really pissed that someone was spamming me through my computer. Being in the computer industry (programming part) I felt helpless against these intrusions! Your helpful website came up right away on google and I am SO thankful!

Keep up the great work!

- Michelle

Thank you so much for telling how to turn off the messenger popups.

- Ronald


Just wanted to say thanks for the popup spam killer tip. I'm real glad to get rid of the messages :-)

Thanks NS

Thank you for the key to ending messenger service!! So many of them are actually selling programs to stop their own messages!! Thank you!

- C

THANK YOU for posting info on disabling the messenger service. It was getting maddening, to the point where I couldn't keep reading because they were popping up so often. I was afraid I was going to through my laptop through the window. I am so happy for this info, there was no way I was going to pay those people to stop them! Thanks, Amy

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