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CNET Membership newsletter May 28, 2004 

The 5 that matter

Dear CNET members:
This week, I was hoping to give Jennifer a clear-cut solution to removing Windows Messenger. However, there were many variables to consider, such as what Windows version she's running (XP Pro or Home?), if Service Pack 1 was installed, what version of Windows Messenger she's running, will the removal of this program affect the performance of other applications such as Outlook, and so on. With that said, Chuck's winning answer below is a great one, but it may not be a one-size-fits-all solution. So like always, please check out the honorable mentions for alternative solutions. And use this opportunity in the forums to discuss some other issues if you need further assistance or have something to add. Good luck! Thanks for all the great submissions.

1I just bought a new PC, and Windows Messenger automatically starts running every time I go online. I never use instant messengers, so how do I get rid of it?

--Submitted by: Jennifer B. of Fredericktown, OH

If your new computer is running Windows XP Home or Pro edition, you can use the steps below. If you have SP1 installed, Windows added a new feature to the "Add or remove program" tool in the control panel called "Set program access and defaults." You can use this feature to remove Windows Messenger from the Start menu, the desktop, and other locations.

However, if you don't have Service Pack 1 installed, you can do the following, depending on whether you are running the Home or Pro version.

Pro version:
1. Click Start > Run, type gpedit.msc, then press Enter.
2. Double-click the following items to expand them: Local Computer Policy, Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Messenger 3. Double-click "Do not allow Windows Messenger to run" and click Enable.
4. Click OK, then quit the Group Policy snap-in.

For users running the Home edition:
1. Start Windows Messenger
2. Click Options on the Tools menu.
3. Click the Preferences tab, click to clear the "Run this program when Windows starts" check box, and then click OK.

--Submitted by: Chuck B. of Spokane, WA

Click here for the Chuck's complete answer, which includes instructions on how to prevent Windows Messenger from running in Outlook and Outlook Express. And don't forget the honorable mentions!

For his efforts, we’re sending Chuck his choice of any Learning CD.

Check out next week's question:

When I use Microsoft Word (XP), the program constantly underlines my sentences to alert me to possible bad grammar or other errors. While working drafts, it's annoying; how do I stop the nagging?

--Submitted by: Ken F. of Los Angeles, CA

We feature a new question every Friday. If you have the answer, e-mail us at If we choose your response, you'll get a free CD. Click here for Q&A submission guidelines

Best regards and enjoy!

Lee Koo
CNET Community
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Need help right away? Don't wait for us, come and join our lively community forums for all the tech help and how-tos.

How many partitions does your hard drive have?

Lots: I have a big drive, so I need lots of neighborhoods.
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1 Electromagnetic radiation from computers?
I've heard all the debates about cell phone and microwave oven electromagnetic radiation being bad for one's health, but computer radiation, too?! I don't know if any of you are familiar with this, but this discussion raised my eyebrow. This member's father insists that he move his server out of his room for fear that the radiation may affect his health. Do you have an answer to this question? If it's true, maybe I should stop cradling my laptop to sleep. So if you have knowledge or expertise in this field or would just like to share your two cents about this topic, pitch in so that we can help this member. More from the Desktops forum

1 ZoneAlarm joining the antivirus bunch
If you currently use the ZoneAlarm firewall, you should know that this app will be joining the big boys, such as McAfee and Norton, in warning you of viruses, too. Zone Labs recently announced that ZoneAlarm, along with the paid version of the firewall, will be adding new antivirus features. What do you think, should ZoneAlarm stick with what it's good at, firewalls, or do you think it was a good move to start tapping into the antivirus arena? Read about and discuss it right here. More from the Virus & Security Alert forum

1 The lowdown on CD-RW discs
Ever wonder how durable CD-RWs are? Or what their average life span is? What about reformatting and adding new data to them: how will that affect the disc? Find out these answers and more in this discussion. More from the Hardware forum

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CNET readers and the gadgets they love
Every day, CNET editors review all the latest gadgets and hardware and give each one their approval rating. But CNET readers are just as picky about their gear as our editors. Each of the readers featured in "Three I can't live without" have three pieces of tech that keep them going, and they're proud to show them off. Want to show other readers your own must-have survival tech? Send in your profile, and you could be on CNET's front page.

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