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Avoiding Windows Messenger Spam!


If you're using Windows XP or Windows 2000 and connect directly to the Internet, you can fall victim to Windows Messenger Service pop-ups. This is not related to any instant messaging app, but to an arcane network utility called Net Send.


The Net Send message service was used and is still used by network administrators to send pop-up messages to all users (like "The server's going down in 5 minutes, so save your work and shut down"), and to let users send notes to one another.


By default, Windows XP and 2000 both have this service running when you start your computer, with the result that when you are connected to the Internet, anyone who knows your IP address can send you a pop-up message that looks like a Windows alert, not an ad. Some spammers scan through a series of Internet addresses and find computers that have this service turned on. When they find one, they send it a message.


In order to turn off net send you must do the following. In Windows 2000 and XP, you can turn off the Messenger Service by clicking on the Start button, then selecting Run and typing Services.msc. Press Enter. In the Services window, scroll down to the Messenger entry. Double-click on it to bring up the Messenger Properties window. First click the Stop button to end the Messenger Service. Once the Service status is tagged Stopped, click on the Startup type drop-down box and select Disabled. Now click on OK. You will be brought back to the Services window, and the Messenger Properties window will now say Disabled under Startup type. Close the window and you're done.

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