Monthly Archives: June 2009

Changing Windows Live Messenger 2009’s Hotmail button to use Internet Explorer instead of the default browser

Prior to Windows Live Messenger 2009, when you clicked the Mail button in Messenger, Internet Explorer would automatically pop up and log you into Hotmail regardless of your default browser.  Beginning with Windows Live Messenger 2009, clicking the Mail button will open Hotmail in your default browser and if that is not Internet Explorer, it will not provide the automatic log-on into Hotmail*.

So, I created Hotmail in IE, which will set allow you to continue to use your default browser in Windows and other applications (including links in Messenger conversations), but use Internet Explorer for Messenger’s Hotmail features. 

How to use
Hotmail in IE does not require installation.  Just download the executable and run it directly.  You will be shown the following:
To set Internet Explorer to open when you click the Mail button in Messenger, choose the Internet Explorer button.  Should you wish to set it back, choose Default Web Browser.  Once you have made your choice, choose Done and no further changes should be needed.

The next time you start your normal default browser, you may receive a prompt regarding its default status.  Choose No to this prompt and elect to not receive these notifications to avoid needing to set the mail button handler again.

Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
Both 32-bit or 64-bit supported
A Windows Live ID that supports Hotmail (such as,, etc.)

Hotmail in IE is written in Visual C++ 2008

Download Hotmail in IE

Version history:
6/8/2009  1.0  Initial Release

* The official reasoning for the inability of Messenger to log-in you in automatically is for security reasons.  Messenger has no direct secure route to sign you into Windows Live ID in other browsers as it does with Internet Explorer.


Using the Windows Live Call button with Skype and other applications

Like a lot of people reading this, I’ve invested in various Microsoft headsets and webcams (some pretty good, some disappointing) but one thing in common with all of them is that they have a Windows Live Call button.

Out of the box and the software installed, pressing the button with bring up Windows Live Messenger’s contact list so you can start a call with your contacts.  Which is great for some people, but for me, the vast majority of my calls are made and received on Skype nowadays and the button has remained unused.

Introducing Skype Call Button
So, I created Skype Call Button.  Skype Call Button remaps the Windows Live Call button to operate with Skype or any other application you choose.  Additionally, when you receive a call in Skype, you can answer the call by just pressing the button.  I’ve been testing this functionality for over a month now, and being able just to throw my headset on and press the button to answer a call has vastly made life easier.

Click the download link below and run the executable to begin the installation.  The setup wizard will guide you through the necessary steps to install Skype Call Button.  After installation is complete, you will be prompted to unplug and plug your headset or webcam back in.  Alternatively if that isn’t possible, you can just reboot your computer or just continue on.  If you choose to just continue, both Messenger and Skype will appear when you press the button until you restart.  Finally, you will then need to authorize Skype Call Button to be used in your Skype client by opening up the main Skype window and choosing the Allow access button or in previous versions, choose Allow this program to use Skype radio button and choose OK.  This only needs to be done once.

Using and options
Skype Call Button will appear in the notification area and by default will automatically start up with your computer to monitor calls.  To access the options, just double-click on the icon. 

You can configure what Skype Call Button does when you press the button normally and what happens when you press the button during an incoming call.  Skype Call Button supports Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Call, and Office Communicator and you can switch the button to work in another application when you choose to.

Additionally, if you choose to not show the notification area icon, you can still access the options by choosing Skype Call Button from the Windows start menu.

Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
Both 32-bit or 64-bit supported
.NET Framework 2.0 or higher (checked during setup)
At least Lifechat 1.3 or Lifecam 2.0 (checked during setup)

Download Skype Call Button

Version history:
6/2/2009  Initial Release