For MSN Messenger, is there a way to archive my conversations when I use
a public computer or signed in somewhere as a guest user? Can I send the
history to my computer automatically without opening the received files of that
computer, keep it somewhere in the server somehow? (Without having to
copy/paste it to my e-mail every time.)
Well, in the strictest sense, the answer is no … MSN Messenger archives
reside on the local machine, or perhaps the local network, period.
You can archive your conversations, and then take them with you, but a) it’s
not as easy as what you’re asking for, and b) you may not want to do it,
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
MSN Messenger allows you to specify where the local archives are to be
placed. Normally they’re placed in a directory underneath your “My Documents”
directory (with MSN Messenger 7.5, at least). You can customize that location
in Tools, Options, and you may even be able to place them on another computer
… on the local network.
That’s not very helpful if you’re using a public computer, and the only
other computers on the local network are other public computers. Once you
return home, you can’t get to those computers and that network.
So the only place you can save your conversations is on the local computer,
or on the local network. How do you get to them at home? You can’t, directly.
The easiest alternative is, when you are done with your conversation, to locate
the files that contain the history (the directory containing them is listed in
your Messenger’s Tools Options dialog), and email them to yourself as
attachments. Then, when you get home, download those attachments to a safe
place. MSN Messenger stores the message history in “XML” format, which means
that they may be a little messy to ready, but at least you’ll have them.
But wait! Before you do any of that, consider carefully
whether you want to keep a message history at all when you’re using someone
else’s or a public computer.
Do you remember to erase the history when you’re done? If not, you’ve just
left your entire conversation for just about anyone to read. And even if you do
delete it, someone can come along after you, and “undelete” the saved messages
file using data recovery tools.
- If you’re really concerned about someone seeing your private IM
conversations, don’t use someone else’s computer, and don’t use public/shared
- Make sure that “save history” is turned off in MSN Messenger if you do use
someone else’s computer.
- If you must have a record of your conversation, and you
must do it on someone else’s computer, then a) mail it to yourself
when you are done, and b) delete saved log from the computer before you
I don’t want to sound alarmist, because in most cases, no one really cares
what you are saying on-line. But, to be fair, sometimes you may find yourself
in a situation where they do. When you use someone else’s computer, you have
no idea how secure it is. If your privacy really matters to you, you
probably don’t want to use it at all.