Save/import of contacts also gone in latest QFE3 update of Messenger 2009

Continuing on the topic of features removed from the “minor” QFE3 update to Messenger, the Save and Import of contacts in Messenger has also disappeared in this latest version.  Special thanks to my commenter mj who pointed this out.

Sure, this feature won’t be missed by many as it has long since been delegated in the hidden menu.  However, it was there when it was needed and as a person who has been supporting Messenger for 9 years, I was glad it was there.

What does/did this feature do?
It saves your contacts to a file or imports them back into Messenger.  It does this by using its own .CTT file format, which is just an XML file readable in any text editor.

In what situations would you need this?

  • Moving your contact list from one account to another.  Although you can do this on the server-side if you’re not using a hotmail address (and there’s a chance it won’t work and your contacts will just appear offline), you will no longer be able to move from one Hotmail-based account to another account without either using Hotmail/Windows Live’s web-based tool, manually adding your contacts back one-by-one, or just having your contacts add the new address.
  • Fixing the above problem where your contacts are show as offline when they’re not.  Although I don’t personally recommend it as a fix for the problem, a few people have managed to use to get their contacts back to normal.
  • When you want to have a list of all your contacts for use elsewhere.  For instance, many years ago I wrote an application which changes the .CTT file into the .CSV format (it doesn’t meet my current quality bar to be linked here, but contact me if you need it).  So, you could import your contacts into most e-mail programs and websites, databases and spreadsheets.
  • Restoring your contact list after it has disappeared.  I’ve heard many stories of contact lists disappearing, and although some of them have been recoverable in various creative ways, the few that had a .CTT file saved were able to completely restore their list in seconds.

Although there’s a tiny long standing bug with this feature and Messenger where the file save dialog refuses to come up (easily fixed with a registry key change), it has been reliable and in existence since the early MSN Messenger days. 

But on a more positive note, there are other options available to deal with your Windows Live contacts, including exporting to .CSV and importing from other formats/applications.  You can head over, choose the Manage menu and then Export or Import.  However, since Messenger, Windows Live and Hotmail contacts are all bunched together, using this can be a bit complicated.  More than likely the Messenger export/import feature was removed from Messenger since it exists here, but why this had to removed in what was supposed to be a minor update to Messenger I’m not quite sure.


Posted on May 17, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. So the feature removal trend has now affected Windows Live as well!! It affected Vista first ( then 7 ( Wave 3 of Messenger originally also did away with using add-ins, the ability to transfer files when the recipient is signed in as offline as one could in 8.5, adjust webcam settings during a video call and integration with local Windows Contacts.

  2. To add…the web UI Contacts export feature at as does not export Categories 😦 ….winston

  3. This new update really stupid, doesn\’t contain anything, they even didn\’t tell us what\’s the new inside it, also the new update fucked up the scrips, less scripts works now, i prefer to back to the old version now.

  4. This is a killer for me. I just started a new job and want to import a co-workers contact list. No way am I going to manually add 200 people.So far I\’ve been very unsuccessful going back to the previous version. A guide on how to do this (win 7) would be awesome.

  5. Ericwrote: A guide on how to do this (win 7) would be awesome.Ditto

  6. @Eric.. Export the contact list at to a csv file, then import into the other Live ID at the same (

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