[Windows 7] Minimize Windows Live Messenger To System Tray

wlm-logo-iconWhen you use Windows Live Messenger in Windows 7, you noticed that when you run it, and then minimize or close it, it does not go to Windows System Tray as it used to be in Windows XP or Vista.

I know this is new Windows, but some things can still irritate and this is definitely one of those things. I simply hate to see Windows Live Messenger mixed with my other applications that are running at the moment or that are pinned down to the new Windows 7 taskbar.

If this irritates you as well and you would like Windows Live Messenger to go directly to System Tray when you minimize it, here’s a simple how-to for you.

To accomplish this little tweak, we are going to use the Compatibility Mode feature which will trick the Windows Live Messenger into using the old behavior that it used for previous versions of Windows like Vista or XP.

Here’s step-by-step how to make Windows Live Messenger to go directly to system tray:

1. Close the Windows Live Messenger completely.

2. Go to Start Menu and locate the program. In this case you can find it by going – Start – All Programs – Windows Live – Windows Live Messenger.

3. Right-click on it and select Properties.


4. Under the ‘Compatibility’ tab check the box that says ’Run this program in compatibility mode‘ (see the image below)

5. In the drop-down menu, choose ‘Windows Vista‘, and finally click Apply. This is the key step that tricks Windows Live Messenger into using the behavior of Windows Vista instead of the new Windows 7 mechanism that we don’t like.


That’s it! Now when you start Windows Live Messenger after applying these steps above, it will still display itself in the taskbar like it did before, BUT, now when you close it by clicking the ‘X‘ in the top right corner, you’ll see that your System Tray will now be complete with a little blueish green man. Yes, that’s the result we wanted.


Now your Messenger will display an icon in system tray when you close it and it will be ready for using whenever you need it. And the best of all – it won’t interfere with your other running applications and pinned down icons on the taskbar. Which means less clutter and more enjoyable experience! So… Enjoy!

And if you would like to know some more tweaks that can help you with Windows 7, read 70 Fantastic Windows 7 Tips & Tricks For Better Functionality.

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40 Responses
  • Bash Bosh Reply

    Cool tip indeed :)
    I’ve tried everything… but not that!

    • GenniCe Reply

      Yeah, it’s simple but really useful! :) Enjoy!

  • The great Reply

    thank you very much, it works, finally I can find windows live messenger in the system tray :D

    • GenniCe Reply

      I’m glad you can enjoy the old system tray msn icon! :) Enjoy!

  • Ingo Reply

    Cool tip! It really works! – Thanks a lot.

  • TheDeadServ Reply

    Finally! Thank you!

  • Jeppe Reply


    Is the latest messenger really supposed to not go in the tray?

    • GenniCe Reply

      It’s not about the latest messenger, it’s about Windows 7 that has some problems (or maybe Microsoft intended it to work that way). So in Windows 7, Messenger won’t minimize to system tray, instead, it goes down on desktop toolbar.

      So this post lets you know how to fix that little bug…

  • JF Reply

    Whether it’s a bug or not, is uncertain. Perhaps, Microsoft want this program to be in the desktop tool bar. Who knows? But, I’ve mistakenly closed the icon thinking that messenger was still running, (like you would do with the messenger window of old), when in fact it causes it to close. So, I’m sat there wondering why I’m not receiving messages and all the time the program isn’t even running!

    Using this method solves that, as like in previous versions of Windows, when you close the messenger window the program remains open and is reduced to the system tray.

  • ghasl1 Reply

    Thanx it works for me but for others like myself you cant right-click on properties on the icons in the start menu dunno way. But go to c-drive and find the msn messenger and it should work.

  • SunnyW Reply

    Thank you for this post! It was bothering me greatly!

  • Devin Reply

    Thank you! Google+gnoted.com = awesomesauce.

    • Dennis Reply

      Haha! Thanks for the kind words! Enjoy! :)

  • Siddique Reply

    thanks a lot!!

  • Proportion Reply

    yea thanks for the tip definitely cant get this sort of help from stupid windows support

  • pankaj Reply

    thanxs mate
    i blow my head for months looking for this and finally found this thing working . dam it was tough to work with it. now its simple

    • Dennis Reply

      You’re always welcome! :)

  • Matt Reply

    Thank you for this trick. I’m glad the program and messages no longer stack. Question: How can I have incoming messages pop up full on the screen instead of just appearing, flashing in the task bar?

  • Joe Reply

    Thanks for the tip. It was bugging me to have to restart everytime.

  • JR Reply

    Heyyy… good shot! I was annoyed with this “bug”. Thank you!

  • Adam Webster Reply


  • jeenna Reply

    you are a star….this has been bugging me for ages…finally sorted it now thanks to you. cheers x

  • allen Reply

    SWEET!!! Simple and effective tip!!

  • Elliphant Reply

    I used to use this trick and it worked great. Don’t know what has changed, but seems to no longer work for me (Win7 HomePrem). Not sure when it happened, but makes me very unhappy – I REALLY don’t like the new behaviour. Am going to look into some 3rd-party tools to see if I can get it back to the system tray, uh, pardon me, “notification area”….

    • elliphant Reply

      OHHH…. after reapplying the fix AND rebooting, it works again! Yay!!!

  • peGGi Reply

    Thank you for this tip. It’s great. Exactly what I wanted. Makes so much more sense. You’d wonder why they changed it for Windows 7. It’s so ‘in-the-way’ in the taskbar. Anyway thanks again, great to get it staying in the tray. :)

  • Mat3 Reply

    Thanks for this, great trick. But WTF is wrong with Microsoft when they make utterly stupid changes like this.

  • Todd Reply

    Awesome…easy and works! Thanks!

  • Brent Reply

    Thanks for this, it was definitely super irritating to have this in my taskbar.

  • Jeff Reply

    Finally! What was MS thinkning by WASTING TWO spots on the Taskbar? I could have lived with one, but my space is too precious. Thanks for the fix!

  • Irina Reply

    Thank you so much for the trick! I loved it and it is not drving me crazy anymore:)

  • Lisa Reply

    I could just cry with joy, lol! The two taskbar slots and inability to minimize like old times was driving me crazy and I thought I was the only one! Thank you SO much for this!

    • Dennis Reply

      I’m glad it helped. You’re welcome! ;)

  • ms_flores Reply

    awesome, thanks so much!!!it was driving me mad!!!

  • Amanda Reply

    Ahaha. Thank you!!! I had started to go crazy trying to get MSN to do this!

  • Weeber Reply

    THANK YOU. This works.

  • Eduardo Reply

    That didn’t worked for me! The system tray icon appears but I still have the annoying task bar icon! To solve that -at least for me- I needed to run in compatibility with Windows2000. If i’m logged in and I close the Messenger Window, it completely minimizes the program to the system tray, if i’m logged off and close the window, the messenger process get closed. At least for me that was the best solution!

    • Dennis Reply

      Eduardo, it seems odd that it didn’t work for you, but thanks for contributing with your way of solving the problem. I’m sure someone else will find it helpful here.

  • B haskara Reply

    Cool trick. It helps me a lot.

  • Min Reply

    Finally! Fantastic! Thanks!!!

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