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mess with msn messenger WINDOWS LIVE MESSENGER 8.0 BETA CHAT

On Monday, 19-Dec 2005 (4:30-6:00 PM Pacific Time) WLM BETA-testers were given the opportunity to chat directly with the engineers who are creating Windows Live Messenger 8.0. They were looking forward to hearing their first impressions of the software and have tried to answer as many questions as possible. Over a hundred testers joined the chat, of which we'll recite the most interesting segments below. But first, a list of the experts on hand:

MarkL & Mike McCoy: Moderators.
Andrew: Developer on the Windows Live Messenger team.
Brian: Program Manager for Windows Live Ideas.
David B: unknown.
Deepat: Support.
Ines K: Sofware Design Engineer in Test, works on the Sharing Folders feature.
Jim: Windows Live Messenger Product Planner.
John Weis: Test Engineer.
Katie Berinato: Tester with Windows Live Messenger.
King Rob: Windows Live Messenger BETA Cordinator (PM)
Len Z: Group Program Manager, 5 1/2 years on MSN Messenger!
Lori: ?
Nicole: Program Manager, works on the Conversation Window.
Owen Yen: Internatinal Program Manager for Messenger, sorting out all international issues and questions.
Paul: Developer for the Sharing Folders feature
Stacia: Lead Program Manager, works on all voice/video features.

Here are some Questions & Answers (unedited so lots of spelling errors may occur) grouped around several subjects:


Graphical User Interface and Layout

Q: [8] How final is the current GUI? And will you really stick to orange as a default?
A: It is a Beta so it is not final, we want your input. Would you like orange to be the default?

Q: [10] experts, r u guys going change the UI? do u guys feels sorry about the GUI?
A: Nope we don't feel sorry about the GUI. Do you have specific concern?

Q: [59] I would not use orange as the default color - too garrish. Maybe green would be better.
A: Thanks for the feedback!

Q: [53] follow up on the GUI.. where do you guys see yourself going with this bloated design?
A: We are looking at it. Do you have suggestions?

Q: [230] to Nicole: anything other then this "bloated" GUI.. no one seems to like it, and you don't get much of a change of skin or theme if you will. I wish it could take on your current Windows theme.
A: We have gotten a postive and negative feedback on the UI. We are looking at making it better. Keep the feedback coming.

Q: [329] Will there be a different icon to distinguish Busy users from Away users?
A: We've gotten a lot of feedback like this so we are considering changes to the icons

Q: [154] I have a suggestion for the contact list. for now with showing contacts online/offline, I can only distinguish bwtween who is online or other status (except offline), may you consider showing the actual status even without hovering the mouse over contacts?
A: We've been getting a lot of similar feedback and we're looking at making some changes to address your concern.

Q: [37] When will we be allowed to change the color to white or black, rather then grey?
A: You can change it to white or black, but it just looks really ugly. :-) We're aware of how ugly it looks, and we'll make it look better in a future build.

Q: [218] Are you going to disable colors such as white to avoid making the title bar unreadable? Or maybe on change, fix the other font colors to avoid these problems
A: Yes we are looking into fixing this problem.

Q: [73] Experts, im recently redesigning a new UI for messenger. i would like to submit it, i dunno if microsoft will ever consider my design?(it matches the vista aero style)
A: Submit it through connect.

Q: [79] Would it be possible to change the colour of the "user is typing" message to a colour other than gray. Personally, my background is brightly coloured in places (ie:at the bottom) and its very hard to see the message when talking with contacts
A: we are working on this!

Q: [98] Will it ever be possible to hide the ads?
A: This is not being considered.


Sharing Folders

Q: [25] When will non US users get Shared Folder access/support?
A: Sharing folders is supported in several non-US market. Is there a specific market you need which is not supported?
A: Whether your country supports Sharing Folders or not is up to Microsoft but instead to your home countries policies, rules and regulations regarding the sharing of digital data.
A: We are actively working on enabling Shared Folder for additional countries/markets, so you can expect to see Shared Folder access/support very soon
A: Currently, Sharing Folders only works between you and your buddy. You can have a Sharing Folder with all your buddies, but you can't have one Sharing Folder with more than yourself and one other buddy in it.

Q: [20] Will the shared folders feature try and copy across all files that have been previously shared when you sign in on a new computer and have the shared folders feature enabled?
A: The Shared Folders will be transferred to your new machine only from your sharing buddies who are online (and only content from their machines).

Q: [15] Any chance we'll see a progress indicator for currently synchronizing items in shared folders?
A: You will have to wait fo the next release and see

Q: [435] It was very strange that when a contact invited me to share folders, I was told I'd have no virus scanner. A) I have one. B) You wanted me to download and install one - no name, no version, no destination folder. Just someone wants to to install something.
A: Sharing Folders currently only integrates with Windows Live Safety Center, and that's the only AV it recognizes (unlike file transfer).

Q: [64] The Shared Folders will be transferred to your new machine only from your sharing buddies who are online (and only content from their machines). This behaviour could lead to problems, especially if lots of files are able to be shared...
A: Yes, this is a known issue. The "New Machine" scenario can get pretty heavy if you have a lot of sharing folders.

Q: [49] When you modify msnmsgr.exe, you can't use the filesharing folders anymore. Is this on purpose?
A: Yes. The exe is signed, for security reasons.
A: Modifying the executable is against the EULA and is not supported in any way, shape, or fashion.

Q: [108] So if I have done a reformat of my pc and have no files in my shared folder, when I then get online and my contact has say 5high res pics, it will download those pics again?! Or not, am i misreading that?
A: Yes it will, because you don't have them on your machine anymore. Any machine where you sign in, if your sharing folders don't contain the same files as your online sharing buddies' sharing folders, they will be sync'ed.

Q: [70] I know a lot of people who probably would never clean out their folder and are always online, which would mean i would always be redownloading their files. Would it not be better to improve the file transfer, add folders for different contacts, add resume.
A: If you are refering to Sharing Folders, we only re-download content if you don't have it from your buddy (if there are changes from your buddy).

Q: [358] Can we change "file sharing" to the old style? Like sending one file at time, with a progress bar so we know how much time it will need to complete the file.
A: Yes, you can. Tools --> Options --> Sharing Folders --> Disable Sharing Folders (Use direct transfer instead)
We'd like to know why you prefer the old version - if it's something we can fix with the new Sharing Folders, let us know!

Q: [404] I have an uploading speed of 1Mbit/s yet Sharing folder used a 10KB/s upload (other client was cabable of downloading with > 1 Mbit/s)
A: This sounds like a firewall or NAT issue to me. I'd check your firewall configuration to be sure you're not blocking Messenger on either PC.

Q: [452] What im saying is not direct transfer file, remember in the MSN messenger 7.0, there is a file sharing under activities? Contact can select files that they want to transfer. because in the new file sharing, it automatically sync all files in share folder.
A: File sharing as an activity under that menu of the same name will NOT be coming back. FYI. If you want to share specific files the "old" way you have to turn off Folder Sharing.

Q: [433] will multiple people be able to share 1 folder? (maybe a group of people?)
A: That is a great idea. Thanks for pitching this in

Q: [371] inesk, ref q108: in that case, can i suggest having the ability to change the shared folders folder? that way, things can be stored on a different drive other than the system drive as it is currently... might save the hassle when formatting...
A: Yes, that has been a request from many people. Thanks for bringing it up

Q: [387] Are you guys worried that Folder Sharing function will be mis-used for transfering 'Warez' ?
A: You should be careful who you share with. You can only share with people on your "Allow List", which hopefully alleviates this mis-usage.

Q: [487] Has the FolderShare technology which Microsoft recently purchased been integrated into sharing folders yet?
A: That's a good question. Can't be answered at this time unfortunately.


WLM BETA invites

Q: [21] hi, i sent an invite to my other account but it wouldnt let me sign in because it was a gmail account, will i be able to use this account in the future?
A: We are aware of an issue with gmail accounts not being able to sign in and we are investigating.

Q: [95] For GMAIL Accounts, you cannot view the source in invitation emails. To view the "source", open the message, then click "more options", and then click "view original", and you will see the message "source". From there, you can search for the link
A: This is a good point. It is a known issue that the images of the invite (the button) aren't displayed correctly in gmail. As a quick fix we will be including a text link in the invitations as well as the button. Going beyond we are investigating how to tailor the invitations to rendor correctly in gmail. Thank you for the question.

Q: [116] Will we reicieve more invites?
A: yes. can't say when.

Q: [372] What are the factors influencing who get the guest invites? I did not get even the first two that many people reported getting, and I was wondering if this is intentional or some error in your part. Thanks
A: We've only just started inviting people to the beta and giving invites for people to give to friends. Please be patient and we'll get to you as soon as possible. Watch for John on neowin and as he visits often to share invites.

Q: [14] how can i change the email i sign in with on wlm
A: Go to, sign in with the email that has access to wlm, click on the link "leave this beta" after doing this, you should be able to re-use your invite with a different passport

Q: [17] Could you explain why some ppl have gotten more than 2 invites but other got nothing, even the first 2?
A: For the early part of the beta we are monitoring server load very carefully. Thus, we are only slowly giving out invites at this time. The reason why some have gotten more than others is both by design and by accident. You should expect new invites in the near future.

Q: [246] no, not everyone got 2 invites, can you please check this issue? for example I did not receive them (I am in Italy and... yes, I still do not know how I got inside this test, but I am happy to be here)
A: Let me clarify. Everyone in the US/UK and Canada got some. We are still fixing some bugs with the Ideas site before we send to the non-EN markets. This should happen shortly.

Q: [420] What do you guys think about people selling their windows live messenger invites on ebay?
A: I think it is cool. We actually have a pool to see what the highest price is.



Q: [63] Will the layout be improved from the History log and will all logs be recorded propertly?
A: We realize that History log can be improved and we are studying improvements for a future version.

Q: [400] Hey guys, any improvements going to happen in saving history of conversations? How about archiving all the chats every month? (I asked this earlier. did I miss the answer?)
A: We've been looking into this, but no specific plans yet


Bugs and Performance

Q: [54] Nicole are you going to fix the scroll bug in the near future?
A: Yes it is fixed. do you see a problem with in in the Beta?

Q: [27] How come the call button still appears when you send people offline messages?
A: Hi -- the Call button is enabled because you can make a Phone Call from Messenger to the person you are sending an offline message to. Phone Call is available in the US today and will be available in additional markets as time passes. Shameless plug -- It's really cool! You should try it!

Q: [77] [29] Are you going to do something about performance and not keep adding new features while older features still don't work correctly? CPU Time uses when idling is 8% (even after waiting) and WLM Hangs 90% on signing in
A: Yes. It's definitely something that we will actively work on.

Q: [38] Will we see better sound quality in WLM 8 and future versions? Quite often it sounds like the user is under water
A: Yes, we are actively working on improving the sound quality, so you can expect to see signficant improvement in this area very soon.

Q: [172] Now I'm on the Beta I can’t sign into Msn Messenger on my PDA because it doesn’t use protocol 13, will there be a way to use my account on my PDA again, maybe a Windows Live Messenger Mobile?
A: I am totally with you on that one, since I just recently got a Samsung i730. The Mobile Messenger versions are built / modified by the Windows Mobile Group, and thus naturally lag the PC versions. All I can say here is stay tuned ...


Future Features

Q: [184] Will you be REMOVING any features from WLM currently available in MSN Messenger
A: No plans to remove any features currently in MSN Messenger

Q: [267] Will there ever be a "MSN Today" like in previous versions of Messenger?
A: Can' say. Do you miss it?
A: We're deciding now what to do w/ MSN Today. Near term, we'll probably be bringing it back. Longer term, we're looking at some further improvements

Q: [251] Any plans for animated gifs to be used as animated display pics?
A: Short answer. No.

Q: [325] any plans for multiple signin's for Windows Live Messenger. People do this through "patches" already, which im not too fond of.
A: this is a lot nastier of a problem than it seems like, it is pretty easy to get a bad version of it up and running but very hard to get one that will scale to the number of users we have in a way that doesn't make everything a lot worse. This is a feature that is at the top of a lot of our internal wish lists, I'm sure we'll do it as soon as we can do it right.

Q: [2] Will there be tabbed chatting in a new update?
A: We can't say when features will be released but we are looking into!

Q: [209] Any chance of making the conversation syntax customisable. "User says: (new line) message here" has always driven me insane.
A: We are considering some formattting options for a future release. This is a suggestion that comes up often.

Q: [16] Can encryption be added to protect our conversations from NSA spies?
A: We know that encryption is a feature request that has come up in the past. The NSA says your conversations aren't very interesting. Just kidding!! Seriously, we are evaluating this feature for a future release.

Q: [36] Not sure if this falls under the ground rules. My apologizes if it does. Any plans to add video and audio functionality in offline conversations? Currently this is a disabled feature. Thanks!
A: Hi there -- good feature request. We'll add it to our list!

Q: [48] Will we ever see a three-way video conversation feature?
A: Great idea! Multiparty voice & video would be really, really cool. We're definitely thinking about it.

Q: [133] will users be able to customize the content in the video carusel/ads area? I would much rather see news from MSNBC than videos A: It's something we are considering.

Q: [45] Have you looked more in depth into a "What I'm Watching to" feature?
A: We are considering a variety of new ways to use the personal status message (PSM). This is a good suggestion.

Q: [187] Media Center intergration would be great, as I'd much rather stay signed into WLM than have to sign out and into Windows Messenger. Also, a "What im watching - [channel name]" would be nice too!
A: We're talking with the Media Center folks about ways to integrate. The "what I'm watching" idea came up before and it's a great idea.

Q: [163] How can you reset the custom naming?
A: I assume you mean the new "nickname" feature. Yes, you can remove a nickname, but in the current builds you have do it from the Edit contact page. We're working on making it easier and more intuitive.

Q: [178] are you thinking of adding spell check?
A: yes we have thought of this... like I mentioned we can't talk about our plans

Q: [118] Any plans for new default emoticons?
A: Not currently, but it's something we always consider. What new emoticons would you suggest?
Q: [195] I would like a lion as an emoticon
A: Thanks for the feedback R O A RRRRR!

Q: [506] Any parental control plans for WLM?
A: yes

Q: [339] Will you consider having things such as Away Messaging? That would be nice, as I don't like depending on third party add-ons
A: We have been looking into various ways to do this


MSN Messenger 7.5

Q: [348] About the good "ole" msnm: will 7.5.0322 be final?
A: So far it is the best version of MSN Messenger v7.5 out there. I asked a bunch of people with sign in problems to give it a try and we just turned on an autoupdate today for about 2% of total MSN Messenger users. It may solve the sign in issues we have been seeing. It may not, and another QFE may be necessary. We are serious about fixing signin and connectivity issues.


Fun & Trivia

Q: [30] In the msn bot community, there has been a lot of speculation about whether windows live messenger bots will work after WLM8 is released. Can you comment on this?
A: Bots written to a specific version of MSN Protocol should continue to be supported, just like previous versions of the client still work on the Messenger Servers. So there are no plans to block bots that are written against the current Windows Live Messenger v8.0.

Q: [465] Is there a multi-im conversation limit? If so what is it?
A: yes -- 15

Q: [471] Do these 3rd party MSN Block Checkers really work? Is it possible by design?
A: This is not by design. We want to protect users privacy

Q: [150] Are we still considered butterfly's or a new name?
A: still butterflys for now. Do you a suggestion?

Q: [97] How do you guys feel about Messenger Plus!? and about it's upcoming Messenger Plus! Live -
A: We love people who love Messenger!

Q: [470] is it allow to tell us what language r u guys using to build messenger? C#? C?
A: Messenger is a C/C++ win32 application for the most part.

Q: [138] Did you gus made WLM from scratch or used some old MSN code to ?
A: WLM is continued improvement and evolution from MSN Messenger.

Q: [263] Why is the Messenger Icon now so fat?
A: too much pizza
Q: [281] Too much pizza? Oh, you're going to send him to make a diet?
A: Maybe!

Q: [384] How young is the youngest member on your team, and how "young" is the oldest?
A: too young too drink and old enought to be my dad

Q: [370] Is Nicole a robot or a wonder-woman?
A: I am not a robot, must be wonder-woman

Q: [483] Is Bill excited about this project? Should we bug him to get you guys a raise?
A: ABSOLUTELY to both of your questions!!