Windows Live Messenger Does Not Start Automatically or Save History

A registry fix for Live Messenger startup and history saving problems.

Tags: msn windows


When using Windows Live Messenger (including the latest version 2011) it may happen that the application fails to start on Windows startup or does so only sporadically, even though the option to Automatically run Windows Live Messenger when I log on to Windows has been set. Similarly, the message history may fail to save or be displayed in new message windows despite the corresponding options being set in Live Messenger’s settings. These problems may appear after upgrading to a new version of Messenger.

While the reason for these problems has not been investigated by me, it seems that a quick registry edit can fix them. The following solution may not work in all situations, but it has proven successful for many users, including myself.


Perform the following steps to delete the Live Messenger related settings in the Windows Registry:

  • Quit Windows Live Messenger.
  • Click the Start button, select Run… and enter regedit to start the registry editor
  • In the registry editor, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER → Software → Microsoft
  • Delete the key MSNMessenger and all of its sub-keys
  • Restart Windows Live Messenger.

When Windows Live Messenger is restarted, all the required registry keys should be recreated with the correct initial values. Some of the settings in Windows Live Messengers will be reset and may have to be configured again. Assuming that all the corresponding options are set, the program should now start automatically with Windows, save the message history and display it when conversation windows are opened.

Related Resources

This solution was first discovered on the Tech Support Forum website.