[Tutorial] Remove MSN Messenger 7.5 Ads

MSN Messenger 7.5Instructions for MSN Live Messenger 8.0 are also available.

If you downloaded MSN Messenger 7.5, you might want to remove the advertising that is placed at the bottom of the main messenger window.

I will give you some details to do it manually. To edit the msnmsgr.exe file, you'll need a program called Resource Hacker, a freeware program to edit the resources that a Windows program uses. You can download Resource Hacker here. There is no installation, just download the ZIP file, create a folder on your hard drive, unzip the ResHack.zip file there, and run the ResHacker.exe file.

Note: these instructions are checked on version 7.5.0324, but are likely to work on other versions too. You can check your version, by choosing Help > About MSN Messenger from the programs menu.

When you have ResHacker running, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you are not running messenger. Right-click its icon in the system tray, and from the menu select Exit
  2. Now you'll need to locate the messenger executable msnmsgr.exe, it will normally be in \Program Files\MSN Messenger\
  3. Make a backup of the file. Right-click msnmsgr.exe and from the menu choose Copy. Now right-click on an empty area in the same folder, and select Paste from the menu. The backup will be named Copy of msnmsgr.exe. If you ever want to get back to the original file, simply delete msnmsgr.exe, and then rename Copy of msnmsgr.exe to msnmsgr.exe
  4. From the menu in ResHacker, choose File > Open, locate msnmsgr.exe, and open it
  5. From the menu, select View > Find Text ... (or CTRL+F) and enter <element layoutpos=top layout=verticalflowlayout(0,2,2,2) padding=rect(2,5,3,2), press Find Next
  6. You should now be in UIFILE > 923 > 1033 and you have to replace layoutpos=top with layoutpos=none and delete the rest of the line except the > character
  7. The resulting line should thus read <element layoutpos=none>
  8. Now press the Compile Script button to compile the changes into msnmsgr.exe
  9. When done select File > Save from the menu, and exit ResHacker
  10. Reopen MSN Messenger 7.5, now without the ads!

If you want to get rid of the Text Ads in the Instant Message Window too, follow the above steps 1 through 4 and then:

  1. From the menu in ResHacker, select View > Find Text ... (or CTRL+F) and enter <element id=atom(adbannercont), press Find Next
  2. You should now be in UIFILE > 920 > 1033 and you have to delete id=atom(adbannercont) and replace layout=filllayout() with layoutpos=none
  3. The resulting line should thus read <element layoutpos=none>
  4. Now press the Compile Script button to compile the changes into msnmsgr.exe
  5. When done select File > Save from the menu, and exit ResHacker
  6. Reopen MSN Messenger 7.5, now without the text-ads!

Also, you might want to get rid of some other annoying features, like the Search Bar or MSN Today Button. Instructions for that and other MSN Messenger hacks are described and discussed in the comments below.

Last but not least you can remove the annoying tabs shown at the left side of your contact list. There is an option for that, but some people might not find it easy to locate:

  1. In MSN Messenger, select Options... from the Tools menu
  2. Select Security from the list on the left
  3. Check the box before This is a shared computer so don't display my tabs and press OK

You'll now have a much cleaner version of MSN Messenger, which (to my personal taste) is a lot more userfriendly.
And all this is done without the use of third-party patches, so you are in control.

Note that by altering the msnmsgr.exe file you're violating the Microsoft EULA. I decline all responsibility for your actions!
This site is not affiliated in any way with the Microsoft Corporation. All registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

What follows below are some extra instructions to remove even more stuff. Note: You must 'Compile Script' after you edit something, if you forget, it will prompt you to do so the next time you search for text.

Main Contact List Window

Removing the Ad Banner

Find (Ctrl+F): <element layoutpos=top layout=verticalflowlayout(0,2,2,2) padding=rect(2,5,3,2)

Result: UIFILE > 923 > 1033
<element layoutpos=top layout=verticalflowlayout(0,2,2,2) padding=rect(2,5,3,2) margin=rect(0,4,0,0) borderthickness=rect(0,1,0,0) bordercolor=ifhc(buttonshadow,rgb(214,220,242))>

Change layoutpos=top to layoutpos=none and delete the rest of the line except the > character.

Final result should look like this:
<element layoutpos=none>

Removing the Search Bar

Find (Ctrl+F): element[id=atom(idSearchContainer)]

Result: UIFILE > 923 > 1033

Change layoutpos:bottom; to layoutpos:none;

Final result should look like this:

Removing the Add Contact Button

Find (Ctrl+F): cmdbutton[id=atom(idAddContact)]

Result: UIFILE > 923 > 1033

Change layoutpos:bottom; to layoutpos:none;

Final result should look like this:

Removing the MSN Today Button

Find (Ctrl+F): <cmdbutton cmdid=40233 id=atom(msntodaybtn)

Result: UIFILE > 923 > 1033
<cmdbutton cmdid=40233 id=atom(msntodaybtn) class="ToolbarBtn" layout=flowlayout(0,2,0,2) AccName=rcstr(4231) AccRole=57 AccDesc=rcstr(4230) ShortcutString=rcstr(4229)>

Delete id=atom(msntodaybtn)
Change layout=flowlayout(0,2,0,2) to layoutpos=none

Final result should look like this:
<cmdbutton cmdid=40233 class="ToolbarBtn" layoutpos=none AccName=rcstr(4231) AccRole=57 AccDesc=rcstr(4230) ShortcutString=rcstr(4229)>

Removing the My Space Button

Find (Ctrl+F): <cmdbutton cmdid=40421 id=atom(spacebtn)

Result: UIFILE > 923 > 1033
<cmdbutton cmdid=40421 id=atom(spacebtn) class="ToolbarBtn" layout=flowlayout(0,2,0,2) AccName=rcstr(4257) AccRole=57 AccDesc=rcstr(61769) ShortcutString=rcstr(4256)>

Delete id=atom(spacebtn)
Change layout=flowlayout(0,2,0,2) to layoutpos=none

Final result should look like this:
<cmdbutton cmdid=40421 class="ToolbarBtn" layoutpos=none AccName=rcstr(4257) AccRole=57 AccDesc=rcstr(61769) ShortcutString=rcstr(4256)>

The same way you can also remove the id=atom(oimbtn) (??) and the id=atom(mailbtn) (email button).

Alternatively, you can remove all buttons at once by giving the <element id=atom(idMeAreaButtons) a layoutpos=none.

Instant Message Window

Removing the Text AdBanner from the Instant Message Window

Find (Ctrl+F): <element id=atom(adbannercont)

Result: UIFILE > 920 > 1033
<element id=atom(adbannercont) layout=filllayout() layoutpos=bottom>

Delete id=atom(adbannercont) and layout=filllayout()
Change layoutpos=bottom to layoutpos=none

Final result should look like this:
<element layoutpos=none>

Don't forget to Save before closing ResHacker.


  1. Matthijs says:

    A lot of people ask about removing the prompt for the "Customer Experience Improvement Program".

    You can simply click the message and choose "No thank you" and never be bothered again ;-)

  2. Anonymous says:

    This site has been on my bookmarks for a few years now. It's nice to see MSN without all of the added garbage. Microsoft should be ashamed of all of the garbage that they tack onto their IM. Thank you for making it clean and functional again!


  3. Anonymous says:

    I only wanted to thank you for giving us the optios to be ad free. Tahnks again and hope M$ won't hunt you down or sue us for modifying its product.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for providing the details on how to remove the ads!

    You rock! :-)

  5. Anonymous says:

    I've been drilling the search engines for something like this. Thank you!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    To get rid of the winks and pretty much anything else, just follow the other directions as mentioned above (thanks)
    ie: search for winkbtn and change layout=whatever to layoutpos=none
    good luck

  7. Anonymous says:

    You are the man!

  8. Matthijs says:

    All instructions should be valid for any version to date, accept the CMDID numbers, which change for each release.

    Smart searching (i.e. like someone above suggested on the "id=atom(msntodaybtn)"-like references) will get you to the right place inside the file.

    Go back to your backups and find the correct lines to replace. Be sure not to make any typing mistakes or remove too much. If doing it again does not help, post again.

    (Be sure to make a backup of the working version without ads, so you won't have to do them again.)

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is so great. Thank you so much. :-)

    Worked perfectly! Using ver 7.0.0813.

  10. gaby says:

    thank you

  11. Anonymous says:

    wahoo, hurray for Matthijs!

    thanks, luckily google picked up your meta tags from this forum and your site about this, I got it all done and everyhting is clean as a whistle. ;-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Works with MSN Messenger version 7.0.0816 (30/July/2005).

  13. Anonymous says:

    And did anyone ever work out how to change Messenger so that when you click on Hotmail messages or inbox it takes you to your default browser and not IE. Or can I just specify I always want it to open with Firefox?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Great work ... I was hating the mess that msn had become

  15. Anonymous says:

    Im relaying thanks from myself, and 3 other people. Thankyou for showing me how to remove those horrid ads!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thanks man! It works like a charm! And all the annoyance is gone. :-)

  17. Anonymous says:

    This is very useful. I just going to mention that Microsoft always do things WRONG at the begining. I wish someday they could be like Google talk to do the UI right to begin with. Glad we have some good people share the technique to clear up the UI. Thanks you very much.


  18. Matthijs says:

    Removing the "Get A Webcam" link is probably (not tested) just searching for id=atom(GetaWebcamLink) and removing that text.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I can confirm all the above works in messenger build 7.5.0306

  20. Anonymous says:

    Nicely done ! now my messenger is free of that m$ stuff.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I also frequently visit the website to remove ads from MSN Messenger, and now that i've noticed today, when I was removing ads again because I re-installed Windows XP because my computer wouldn't let me into Windows and none of my friends were really online to help me. >>

    And I had noticed the link to this topic. Now I have my MSN skinned down to the way I like it. Thanks. (y)

  22. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to everyone for the great work. I am now add and annoying button free.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Tested with latest 7.5 (build 7.5.0324) MSN Messenger ..

    Removed successfully ads from main window and text ads from from message window. I did not check locations if they were correct but find and manual replace and it worked ok. Contact list got more space from window.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Nice,nice instructions. I've only been using these from 6.5, loving the messenger without ads :-P

    But guess I did a typo on those 7.5 instructions, can't get the main window to open up at all.. well, I'm glad I took a backup :-D

    Retry :-)

  25. Anonymous says:

    Any news about removing ads from this version?
    Looks as though MS have done a bit of recoding... :-)

  26. Anonymous says:

    You Sir are a star,
    now i can cope with having it running

    thanks muchly

  27. Anonymous says:

    Remove Man with Buterfly from inital login screen

    - UIFILE>947>1033


    Change layoutpos:top; to layoutpos:none;

  28. Anonymous says:

    Remove bottom left image from inital login screen

    - UIFILE>947>1033


    Remove all of the above

  29. Anonymous says:

    Once logged in, remove the "Add Contact" from the main window in list of contacts

    - UIFILE>923>1033


    Change layoutpos:bottom; to layoutpos:none;

  30. Anonymous says:

    Tidy Contacts list screen by removing unnecessary borders

    - UIFILE>923>1033


    Delete all of the above

  31. Matthijs says:

    See my new article for instructions on how to remove the ads from MSN Messenger Live 8.0.

  32. keishy says:

    why does msn messenger live not work?
    please reply and sign my guest book!

  33. Matthijs says:

    See the link to the new instructions just above your comment.

  34. Vipzen says:

    thanks a lot!

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