I know there are many alternatives to Windows Live Messenger like Empathy, Pidgin, emesene or aMSN. However, I usually use the 'Photo Sharing' feature with my friends that is not in any chat client.

I need to use my MSN Messenger account. So how to use Windows Live Messenger in Ubuntu? Or can I connect to WLM and use 'Photo Sharing' with any chat client for Linux?

Would you recommend to use a virtual machine?

  • 1
    If you do end up using a VM, make sure to check out Virtualbox's "seamless mode", which will make it less annoying (by making the window manager treat VM applications normally). Aug 30, 2012 at 17:28
  • Yes, it's the only option.
    – user77111
    Aug 30, 2012 at 17:58
  • @BrendanLong Thanks for the info about seamless mode.
    – nanofarad
    Aug 30, 2012 at 18:17

3 Answers 3


You may need a VM for photo-sharing.

Why not Wine?

While running in Wine is an option, the newer versions are reported as Garbage, which means they didn't install, or didn't work. You can try running version 8.5 if it still is available, but it also has issues, as it is rated Bronze. Even rated Bronze, it is very difficult to use and can cause Unity or Compiz crashes as documented here.

What can I use?

Emesene Install Emeseneappears to have a great outlook1 but it is unable to perform photo-sharing tasks.

For a VM, you should use virtualbox Install virtualbox. It is lightweight and works with many systems. Ensure you have a license to use Windows. VirtualBox has a Seamless mode which makes applications integrate with the host OS, but I have not tested such functionality yet.
The info about Seamless mode is courtesy of this comment by Brendan Long.


1 No Microsoft-related pun intended.

  • oldversion.com/MSN-Messenger.html contains a list of several different versions available for download. Aug 30, 2012 at 15:22
  • The problem is 'Photo Sharing' only is avaliable from WLM 2009. And emesene don't have that feature: groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/emesene/nfFNdI4YMG0
    – Kaer
    Aug 30, 2012 at 15:58
  • @KernGoldstein Unfortunately, WLM 2009 probably won't work well, according to the AppDB.
    – nanofarad
    Aug 30, 2012 at 16:43
  • I tried it and it doesn't work in wine. So the only way would be to use unfortunately a virtual machine, because, as I said, emesene can't use that feature (yet).
    – Kaer
    Aug 30, 2012 at 17:28

Unfortunately, the best way to run something natively in Linux that will guarantee that all features will be supported is to run a Windows virtual machine. It is not the most convenient thing to do at first, but if you setup the file sharing between host and VM, it becomes more or less manageable.

Edit: I see a lot suggest Wine here. The problem is, from their website it does not look that Messenger is 100% supported and even if you manage to install it, there is a chance some functions won't work (this is happened when I installed some Quicken soft; it worked, but was so pathetically slow under Wine that I switched to a VM).

For VMs look at VirtualBox, very easy to install and maintain.


If you want to use the original Messenger by Microsoft you should install it using wine. A lot of windows programs run under wine but not all of them. Just try it.


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