Becareful when downloading using Windows Live Messenger

Over the past few weeks I’ve had friends tell me they’ve noticed some strange things happening with their computers. So I asked what do you mean?

Some of the answers were the same – laptop slowing down, Windows Live Messenger and Internet Explorer not working and several strange windows error codes.

So I asked them what have you downloaded recently? Well 9/10 replied wallpapers and emoticons and best of all through Windows Live Messenger! One of my friends asked me if I wouldn’t mind taking a look at her computer. I duly did. What I found was SweetIM… may not sound much but this little gem will really bugger up your computer by slowing it down and crashing Internet Explorer.

Best of all trying to remove it with the ZoneAlarm firewall showed that it would not uninstall unless it connected to the internet. Why? What data was it sending, where and who to? This is very intrusive and should worry users.

In fact an application called Websearch was another thing my AVAST boot scanner found which was the primary reason for the Windows Live Messenger and Internet Explorer not loading. Do a quick search in Google and you will find the link to Websearch at the top of page 1 – however (this is the best bit!) the link takes you through to a blank page!

One of the major disadvantages of Windows Live Messenger is the availability of ‘dodgy ads’. If someone is paying for the ads then why would Microsoft worry? Who cares? Well I do! Download at your own peril from Windows Live Messenger….

Skype for example the brother of Windows Live Messenger is a perfect example of how you should do it – no advertising – clean, simple and not resource hungry. However there appears a trend to move to an advertising model to monetize.. yeap I do understand this… but beware again the problem of adware or spyware popping up on your computer.

If you do happen to fall foul of Windows Live Messenger or your browser not working I suggest you run an anti virus scan. I’d also suggest you run this from ‘boot’. If you are unsure of how to do this, do a quick search in ‘help’ for ‘boot scan’ on your anti virus software. The next time you load your computer it will scan your computer without the risk of harming your computer, delete the offending file(s) and all should be well!.

Safe surfing folks!

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7 Responses to Becareful when downloading using Windows Live Messenger

  1. Iftah says:

    Dear Mr. Evans,

    My name is Iftah Yair, i'm the VP Marketing and Biz Dev of SweetIM. I was disturbed to see that you chose to name our software as one that may harm user’s PC. This is entirely misleading – SweetIM is a clean and easy to remove software that never harms the user’s PC. SweetIM has millions of happy users and was recently certified a Trusted Download Application by TrustE, which is the industry standard as far as users safety is considered. (see

    one should question some of the anti spyware companies that 'detect' safe programs with no reason.
    I expect you, as someone who would like to help users protect their pc, to take a better look at SweetIM, refer your readers to TrustE link and post a new item correcting the old one.


    Iftah Yair

  2. Niki says:

    btw I read what you said recently about webmail – with horror. I didn’t know it was quite so bad – now I understand why Obama can’t take his Blackberry to the white house…

    I got to your blog by googling for information on the risks of using Windows (Live) Messenger. My husband is afraid that it is the cause of some problems he’s been having with MS Outlook, and on advice from a colleague where he works (a school) he wants me to remove the programme from our home desktop, which we share. I understand the reasons schools and other institutions (like public libraries) don’t allow Messenger on their computers, but isn’t it relatively safe if you are an experienced user and don’t accept dodgy files or click on adverts within the programme?

    Before I was married, I downloaded Sweet IM too, on a different PC, and it caused havoc. Everything slowed down and it was very hard to remove, as you say.

    We have good, up-to-date antivirus software, and I think removing Messenger is overkill. I don’t think it is the cause of the Outlook problems either, but I don’t know how to convince my husband of this. Within the last year, he downloaded a newer version of Microsoft Office, on trial, but never bought it. I think this is what started the problems.

    Any suggestions to put my husband at ease? Or is he right?


  3. Julian says:

    Hi Niki

    Firstly apologies about the late reply – didn’t pick your comment up until we search my blog archive.

    Ok – Without looking at your computer it would be difficult to tell. Sweet IM is a problem product. Everyone I know has a slow computer or it crashes. The VP Marketing for Sweet IM wrote to my blog to ask me to remove the comments – I didn’t for obvious reasons. As far as removing MSN – you don’t need too… Sweet IM works with IM and is probably the problem. I user IM and Skype….

    Happy New Year!

  4. Niki says:

    Thanks, Julian!
    My husband’s name is Julian too, btw. Anyway, I’m so pleased you found the time to respond, I know how it is with Blogs.

    I am keeping the MSN, and I also use Skype – the Sweet IM was on an old PC, and I removed it when I realized it was probably the problem. I also had a (very nice) screensaver which may have contributed to the slowness as well.

    Cheers, and keep up the gd work,

  5. Julian says:

    You are welcome Nikki! if you want a very good – low resource anti virus for FREE I suggest you use Avast. They have 70m users currently and best of all we use it! They can be found through our website: – this finds nasty spyware stuff … oh and one last one use ZoneAlarm – it’s a great firewall which would allow you to control whether a program like Sweet IM can access the internet (hereby slowing your computer down). Anyway – back to the grind… Safe surfing Nikki.

  6. Niki says:

    Many thanks – I’ve used Zone Alarm before, and heard good things about Avast. I certainly won’t be using Sweet IM again. However, your advice is welcome. Have a great 2009,

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