What is Msnmsgr.exe

msnmsgr - Windows Live Messenger - Microsoft Corporation

File description

Msnmsgr.exe with description msnmsgr is a process file from company Microsoft Corporation belonging to product Windows Live Messenger.
The file is digitally signed from Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Time-Stamp Service
We do not recommend removing digitally signed files from Microsoft Corporation

What is msnmsgr.exe?
This is the main process for the MSN Messenger/Windows Live Messenger software. The following is a screenshot of Windows Live Messenger running under Windows XP:

This process is not essential to the operation of the system. Killing it will result in MSN Messenger/Windows Live Messenger closing. There is no harm in preventing it from running at startup; however, if you wish to remove the software entirely, you should follow the normal uninstallation procedures for MSN/Windows Live Messenger. The following screenshot illustrates how this process should appear in the Task Manager:

Notice that msnmsgr.exe always runs as the current user (in this case, Mike). A process with this name running as a user other than the current user may indicate a malware infection.

Dangers of msnmsgr
As this is a program that runs on many Windows systems, it is common for virus writers and spyware vendors to disguise their malware as the genuine one.

Some malicious files may have the same name as this but be stored somewhere other than in %ProgramFiles%\MSN Messenger or %ProgramFiles%\Windows Live\Messenger. Other malware may use a name that appears similar to that of the legitimate one but with slight differences in spelling or with appended digits. The following malware is known to disguise itself as msnmsgr.exe:
  • W32/Rbot-AVP (%SystemRoot%)
    • This is a worm that spreads via several known network vulnerabilities, including the RPC DCOM exploit.
  • W32/Mytob-A (%SystemRoot%\System32)
    • This is a mass mailing worm and a backdoor Trojan that accepts remote commands via an IRC channel.
  • W32/Annew-A (%SystemRoot%\System32)
    • This is a worm that actively attempts to prevent its removal and includes functionality to infect removable storage devices.
There will typically be only one instance of this process running at a given time on a system, as it is uncommon to run more than one copy of MSN/Windows Live Messenger at once. The presence of multiple instances may be an indicator of a malware infection. If you are not running MSN/Windows Live Messenger, the presence of this process is a strong indicator of a malware infection.

Common problems
  • This process uses 100% CPU time
    • This known to occur in isolated instances. First, try reinstalling Windows Live Messenger. If you were using MSN Messenger, uninstall it and get Windows Live Messenger, as it supersedes the former.
    • If you are using an nVidia graphics card, try updating or reinstalling your graphics card drivers.
    • If you are using Microsoft Office, ensure it is up-to-date.

Automatic startup locations

001 Running Processes
002 Autorun registry entries local machine
003 Autorun registry entries Current User
004 All users startup startmenu
005 Current user startup startmenu
006 Start Menu\Programs\Startup
007 Roaming Start Menu\Programs\Startup
008 Autorun registry entries Default user
009 Autorun registry entries SYSTEM user
010 Installed services
012 Autorun registry entries S-1-5-XX users
033 Winlogon Userinit
035 Active Setup Installed Components
042 HKLM Internet Explorer Extensions
073 %windir%\Tasks
135 Current User Runonce (+ subkeys)
136 Local Machine Runonce (+subkeys)
166 HKCU Policies\Explorer\Run
167 HKLM Policies\Explorer\Run
191 Terminal Server\Install\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

Digital signatures found for this file

506 Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Time-Stamp Service
500 Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Timestamping Service
14 Microsoft Corporation - VeriSign Time Stamping Services Signer
1 Microsoft Corporation MSN - VeriSign Time Stamping Service

MD5 security rating in our database

577 files (Not yet rated and not signed)
21 files (Not yet rated and digitally signed)
1 files (Safe and not signed)
1227 files (Safe and digitally signed)
Some versions of this filename have not yet been checked for safety.
Warning: Some malware might rename itself to msnmsgr.exe. Always make sure that your file is from a verified publisher.

User ratings for this file

File rating: Average rating of msnmsgr.exe: by 1826 files and users.

Application errors

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