Re-enable links in Messenger 09

Microsoft disabled hotlinks in their Messenger 09 (Messenger 14) product on November 13th, 2009.

There has been a recent spread of malicious links that can infect your computer with a virus and has prompted Microsoft to disable hotlinks in messenger. They recommend you upgrade to the latest version of messenger and that the disabled links are temporary.

If you are anything like me, you don’t want to be forced to do something that someone else imposes on you. The new messenger kind of sucks. Microsoft took out one of the best features – hand writing – so “upgrading” isn’t an option, at least not for me.

1) Download a free hex-editor program. I recommend XVI32.

2) Exit messenger completely.

3) Open XVI32, and then open the msnmgr.exe file that is located in your program files directory.

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Messenger\msnmsgr.exe

4) Click “search”, then “find”, search for “hotlinks” (without quotes).

5) change “hotlinks” into something else, of the equal amount of characters. I changed mine to “totlinks”

6) Save the file

7) Restart MSN

You should be good to go.

If you found this to difficult, I’ve uploaded the modified version for you to download. This is for messenger version 2009, Build 14.0.8117.416 only.

Why does this work?

I searched in the Registry looking for obvious items that would enable / disable this function in messenger, but I couldn’t find anything. Since this started happening without an upgrade, I knew there was something being sent from Microsoft that was disabling hotlinking.

I opened up wireshark and started MSN looking for packets that had to be sent from the server to our messengers as a disabler. I found a packet that contained this:

<cli maj=”14″ min=”0″ minbld=”0″ maxbld=”9999″ deny=”hotlinks” />

HOTLINKS! I knew that had to be it. I couldn’t intercept the packet or change it (at least not easily) so the next best option was to manually edit the code in messenger so that “hotlinks” was no longer a keyword for the application at startup. By changing it to “totlinks“, your msn will never disable “hotlinks”, unless of course microsoft starts sending “deny=”totlinks” in their login process – but then we will just change it to something more crateive, like “bigboobs”.


88 Responses to Re-enable links in Messenger 09

  1. Dawn says:

    Haha, too funny that you just hacked a program that didn’t work how you wanted it to :)

    Also, like that you gave me a copy.

  2. roberto says:

    Thank you so much, you saved me and my friends from a totally rage attack ^^

  3. derp says:

    won’t allow me to save says error writing msnmsgr.exe

  4. derp says:

    nevermind just had to put in correct compatibility

  5. Cliff says:

    This works on 14.0.8089.726 as well.

  6. Ana says:

    Hey there, I tried it, must have done something wrong though, it wouldn’t let me save it? I had to do save as. But my mate reckoned that your upload might be okay for me? Even though my version is 2009 (Build 14.0.8089.726). He said they’re basically the same thing.. I figured better to ask than try and potentially do damage lol.

    Cheers so much for putting all this up too! Good laughs ;)

  7. Aeron says:

    Damn, thanks dude. I’ve searching for a way to re-enable links for days!

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  9. DarkOverord says:

    You have no idea how glad I am that someone worked this out. You are an awesome dude and should feel good.

  10. lhz says:

    Thank you so much, works like a charm.

  11. Ana says:

    Nevermind I tried running XVI32 as an administrator and it was alll good :D Totlinks enabled, thanks so much!

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  13. Maru says:

    Dude, thank you so much!

    I’ve been having to copy and paste links for the past 10 days or so, and it’s been driving me up a wall. I REFUSE to give into all their pushes to update to the hilariously useless 2011 version, so this is a godsend.

  14. Harry Scanlan says:

    No problem :)

  15. Kalle Navn says:

    Thx a LOT dude! That did the trick:)
    I support the right to draw cocks and click links!

  16. Nephthys says:

    Very cool! I agree that the new version is worthless, and they made the emotes look really bad.

    But like every other major update they do, they’re going to require it in a few months, and you won’t be able to sign in until you upgrade. ]:

    When you find a solution to that, get back to me :P

  17. Edwin says:

    Thanks a lot ! I can finally enjoy using msn again, I almost wanted to switch to an alternate client.

  18. fraidso says:

    Just downloaded the version you upload, works perfectly. :) Thanks so much for giving us a way to get around the link problem!

  19. Barriecuda says:

    You sir, are a God. Thanks for fixing MSN’s stupidity. This link has been passed on! (through MSN, ironically!)

  20. Udi says:

    Thanks for that, genius.

  21. S3nd41 says:

    Thanks for this. Worked like a charm!

  22. Robbie says:

    You’re a hero, thanks a fuckton!

  23. Jimbo says:

    Thanks man. It works. But instead of changing it to something I put zeros in the hex code instead of hotlinks.

  24. Lemon says:

    I downloaded your version but it wouldn’t work for me? It said there was a problem with the configuration )8

  25. cayo79 says:


    This was quite a hinderance since I pretty much professionally draw cocks and click links all day.

    Nice one :D

  26. cayo79 says:

    oh by the way you might need to save the modified .exe to another location then cut / paste back to the original location (I did)

  27. anyƔd kurva says:

    not good, and back into the original work is not msn: S

  28. wayc says:

    I tried to do it the simple way with the program you made, but it said the side by side configuration is incorrect. Then I tried doing it with the hex editor, but it said I didn’t have permission to save over the hex file in the Messenger folder. I am the administrator and have the permissions. Any advice?

  29. Ade says:

    That image of the cock drawn in handwriting seriously cracked me up, me and a mate of mine use handwriting all the time and the majority of them are cocks! LOL

    Thanks for the solution for the links, it is seriously appreciated – I was going mad copying/pasting them all the time.


  30. wayc says:

    Never mind. All I had to do was drag the Messenger folder out of Program Files, and put it back in when I was done.

    It works! Thank you so much! You are my hero! <3

  31. Richard says:

    drawing dicks and clicking links


  32. James says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! It is so incredibly irritating that Microsoft is punishing users by taking this feature away. I can’t wait to use this fix.

  33. kath says:

    Thanks mate!
    I had a bit of trouble at first because it said I wasn’t allowed to change the file, I then realized I should have opened the program as admin. Maybe you should mention it in your instructions? It seems like maybe it’s a important detail :P

    But thank you, it was driving me insane the fact that I had to c&p every link I was sent!

  34. Pingback: [WindowsTeamBlog]Active links in Messenger 2009 temporarily turned off - Page 3 - -

  35. Rumon says:

    Thank you :)

  36. Ed Hank says:

    Thanks for the tip on editing MSN exe file. The links work again..

  37. Sergio says:

    For those of you getting an error when saving, make sure you are running the program as Administrador ( Right Click -> Run as Admin..)

  38. eva says:


  39. Sico says:


    Yes, all those 1111!!!’s were needed.

  40. tom says:

    thank you thank you!!!! OP saved my day:D

  41. Sherilyn says:

    Thank you so so SO much! It worked perfectly, and I needed to save the file somewhere else and then copy&paste to the folder (Maybe you should suggest that in the artice just in case)
    Again, thank you!

  42. Al says:

    Hey dudes. I’m slightly lost. I get up to the search/find what not, but when I search for hotlinks, it says “string can not be found.” What am I doing wrong?

  43. Del says:

    I did a video tut showing how to do this in case anyone is wondering. I referenced this blog in it as well since the credit should be giving to the guy who discovered the fix.

  44. Del says:

    Oh, the link to the video tut is in my name. Simpy click my nick and you’ll be taken to the vid. =-}

  45. B. Moore says:

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

  46. Luke says:

    Thanks for this, I have 1 friend that always sends me links and when I can’t click them it just angers me even more.

  47. Rachel says:

    Thanks so much for this fix :D I was so annoyed by the fact that links were disabled. Thanks to you, that problem has been averted. ^_^

  48. Kit says:

    Any time I try to run the edited version you supplied, it says there’s a side by side error or something. I tried running it as an administrator and it does the same thing. D:
    What do I doooo?!


  50. Cliff says:


    Make sure msnmsgr.exe isn’t still running when you do this.

    The posted download is only for 8117.416 only, but the fix works for both versions of 2009. (May also work for 8064.206 if anyone has that still working)

  51. Eli Dirkx says:

    Yeah, well, guess I messed up and forgot to back my .exe file up when replacing it with this new one.
    Now it doesn’t do anything at all.
    Can’t repair it, no chance of installing over again…not sure what to do here.

  52. forsakenidentity says:

    Insanely awesome!
    Thanks for this. :)

  53. Alex Franklin says:

    Finally I can get back to sending friends links to cock pictures I’ve drawn.

  54. Helpless says:

    Help! I can’t save it! Error 5 access denied keeps popping up at me! Even when i am the administrator! Why? Please help! I am so near yet so far!

  55. Miih~ says:

    Thanks a lot, I mean a LOT, this really saved my day. I’ve been so annoyed that links won’t work and I have to copy-paste them to web browser, I’m really happy that hotlinks are working again, thank youu *bows*

  56. Woks says:

    Seriously, thanks a shit tone.
    I was unable to use links for almost 2 weeks now and I never knew why, reinstaled msn a couple of times. I found

    And there was a link to your blog. Your tutorial was easy to follow and now i can finnaly use my msn without having to suffer for the idiots users taht would click on anything they see.

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  58. ian says:

    Thanks a lot for this. I didn’t want to “upgrade” to 2011, but the lack of live links was driving me nuts. Perfect fix

  59. Stephanie says:


  60. Kakurine says:

    Thank you so much. I tried the new MSN before I even figured out hotlinking was disabled.. it sucks, so you did me a biiiiiig favour.

    Thanks again =D

  61. Pingback: Re-enable Clickable Links In MSN Messenger 2009 « Float Here Forever

  62. dudewearingblacktrousers says:

    thnx dude, rly saved some headaches!

  63. ClevererthanMSN says:

    Good job with the packet sniffing!

  64. keops says:

    you good sir, are my new hero :D

  65. kule says:

    thanks mate, this works!

  66. de says:

    Don’t work 100%

    The other girl that use original will see plain text link.

  67. Zaheer says:

    I’m still running XP on some of my computers so this was absolutely essential. Thanks a bunch!

  68. DaAfroMan says:

    I figured that most people who want to re-enable the links don’t want to mess with hex editors or simply want an easier way to do so, so I decided to make this for them.

    It’s a simple hex patching program made with codefusion to do the same thing as mentioned here, except in an installable format. Enjoy. :)

  69. Eug says:

    You are the shit!!! Awesome stuff!

  70. meouw says:

    i can’t save the file !
    it says: error writing msnmsgr.exe Error 5: File access denied

  71. meouw says:

    @ Helpless yeah i have the same problem !

  72. meouw says:

    :( :( :( IT DOESN’T WORK
    and msnmsgr.exe isn’t running anymore
    tell me what to do.
    it’s driving me crazy !

  73. girl next door says:

    I LOVE YOU *_________*

  74. girl next door says:

    PS = I love tha hand writing function too ;-)

  75. JJ says:

    Thank you so much!

    @de: did the sender do the same fix on their msn? I think she has to before she’ll be able to see the hyperlink.

  76. Sherpya says:

    ++ for you

    You can instead put 0 in place of the initial ‘h’, the str compare function will always return false

    by looking at the asm, I think they can block also filexfer via header

  77. Sherpya says:

    the check is so stupid, msn picks ’14′ from executable resource, by changing to 15 it automagically believes to be wlm 2011 and displays links :)

  78. Destro says:

    doesn’t work for me. XVI32 returns ‘string not found.’ when I search for ‘hotlinks’ ‘links’ or ‘link’

  79. mysec says:

    Open the editor with administration rights.

    Then save it after changing as msnmsgr2.exe

    And put a new shortcut on your desk.

    if microsoft wil repair it, it wont it again.

    cause the other name.

  80. hv says:

    Thanks a lot for the trick! It works greatly for me! But apparently since a few hours ago the emoticons stopped working in WLM 2009 too… I wouldn’t be surprised if this was another move of the Microsoft team. One thing is sure: I am NOT going to install WLM 2011!

  81. Joe says:

    Not working for me here…

    I’ve followed all steps and used XVI32, even downloaded the already done .exe – no success.

    version 8117.416

  82. DaAfroMan says:

    Sorry, Forgot to mention my exe has a little issue with finding the exe. Copy and paste it into the directory C:/Program Files/Windows Live/Messenger (or navigate to that in my patcher) and it should work for you.

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