8 tips for instant messaging on your PC

It's only been a few years since we massively used MSN for chatting. Since the service ceased in 2013, competitors have been fighting to fill this void. WhatsApp can now also be used on your PC, but it remains a bit difficult. We give some good alternatives.

Tip 01: IM

Instant messaging, or IM, has been around since the 1990s. In the early years of the Internet, we sent each other messages via the ICQ program. Much more than sending text messages to contacts who were also online at the time was not yet possible with the service. As more became possible with the internet, the program grew into a full-fledged IM app. Major competitor was MSN Messenger, later Windows Live Messenger. In the beginning, this program was also only designed for text exchange, but later you could send photos, videos and web links or use emoticons in a chat text. Also read: WhatsApp on your PC or laptop in 3 steps.

Nowadays we expect a bit more from an IM program. For example, it must be possible to chat in groups, chats must be able to be synchronized on your different devices and it is nice if you can also make calls or video calls with the service.


During MSN's heyday, three major players were still active: AOL Messenger, ICQ, and Yahoo! messenger. All three services still exist, but have been overtaken by other services in terms of functions and user numbers over time. You can download one of these veterans from the websites www.aim.com, www.icq.com or //messenger.yahoo.com.

Tip 02: WhatsApp

Everyone knows WhatsApp and the fact that the service is finally available for PC is useful if you want to send a message via your PC. This is not a standalone program, but a service that you can consult from your browser. You can access your chats via //web.whatsapp.com if you scan the QR code on your screen. How to do this is stated on the website.

The web version retrieves information from your smartphone and displays your chats in the browser. As soon as you do not have an internet connection with your smartphone, the web version will not refresh chats. This means it is not a full-fledged IM service for your PC, there must always be a connection with your smartphone. Another disadvantage of WhatsApp is that it is unclear about privacy since the takeover by Facebook. In a 2015 study by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, WhatsApp scored poorly on almost all fronts, and it's unclear who exactly can read your messages. For the full research report, go here. WhatsApp recently implemented end-to-end encryption, which certainly speaks in favor of the app.

Tip 03: Skype

Another big player is Skype. With the acquisition of Microsoft, this is the actual successor to MSN. Of course, the service is made for video calling, but you can also use it as an IM service. The advantage is that you don't have to register with a phone number. Go to www.skype.com/nl, click Download Skype and in the next screen choose Computer / Download Skype for Windows. During the installation you will be asked if you want to install Click-to-Be. This is a feature where you can instantly call a phone number via Skype when it appears in your browser.

Uncheck the box if you don't want this. click on Create new account and sign in with your Microsoft account by for Microsoft account to choose. If you want to create a new account, fill in your details and click I agree - continue. You can add Skype contacts by typing a name behind the magnifying glass in the top left corner and pressing Search Skype to click. All possible hits are listed below. To make sure you add the right person, click on the name and then on the profile picture at the top for more information. If you want to add a contact, click on Add to Contacts. To chat with a person, just type your text at the bottom right. You can send files and photos by clicking on the paperclip and add emoticons with the smiley button. If you want to chat with multiple people, click the button in the top right corner Create new group.

Skype for web

Skype is now also available for your browser, although this option is still in beta. Go to www.skype.com/nl, choose Launch Skype for Web and sign in with your Skype credentials. The web version allows you to chat, but if you want to make video calls, it is more convenient to install the program.

Tip 04: Facebook Messenger

Another big player is Facebook. The service is used by almost everyone and that makes it easy to communicate with others via Facebook. You must of course have a Facebook account. Go to www.facebook.com and sign up by filling in your details and clicking Register to click. If you are logged in after registration and have added friends, you will find online contacts on the right-hand side. Click on a person to start a chat or click on the message icon at the top and then New message to start a conversation with several people. rear On: just enter multiple contacts. There is the special Facebook Messenger app for your smartphone. This way you can use Facebook exclusively for chat purposes without being distracted by your Facebook timeline.

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