Many of the people using the current public Windows Live Messenger 2009 Beta wonder about the changed (or modernized?) interface. Things look different, are at a different place, etc. Of course, a product used by millions of users should make progress every now and then, also in the User Interface. However, some liked the Messenger 8.5 style more, are accustomed to its arrangement of items and windows. So, they ask: is there a way to restore that Messenger 8.5 design, while staying at Messenger 2009 for the new features?
The answer is: yes, there is. Do you still remember my words in the release post for Plus! 4.79: Public Beta now available?
You might ask… “I would like to revert my contact list and/or chat window design to what it was like in Live Messenger 8.5.”
Well, as the change of the user interface is a design change, there is not an option in the Plus! preferences. Nevertheless, you might consider using a skin to reconstruct the contact list and/or chat window. There is the technical possibility to create such a skin, and we will have to see who is the first to take the chance.
Want to know the truth? By the time when I wrote that, there was already a skin doing exactly this. It was not public however, so I just kept with hinting a bit. That was … until today!
And here you go: the skin is called “Sopair” and has been done by … guess whom? Yep, famous Messenger No. 1 skinner Will Ingles, also known as “Willz”. He’s writing:
So what can you expect in Sopair? Well as per usual you will have the standard button removal settings as well as a few transformation settings that will allow you to bring back the 8.5 look (more or less). This includes transforming the dashboard back to 8.5 style, moving the display pictures back to the right in the chat window and moving toolbar in the chat window back into the place where they were in the chat window.
On top of these settings there will be minor enhancements to the Messenger user interface. One of the more noticeable changes is that I have changed the look of alerts to match Windows Live Messenger 9 a bit better as well as modifying the sign in window to try and match the version of Messenger briefly shown at PDC.
Let’s summarize: With Sopair installed, you can…
- Hide the links at the bottom of the sign-in window
- Use the Messenger 8.5-style contact list dashboard in Messenger 2009 Beta
- Use a normal toolbar button for changing your scene
- Hide the “What’s new” social area as well as the tabs
- Revert the chat windows to 8.5 style with Display Pictures at the right side
- Add a 3rd display picture at the top so you can hide the normal ones with seeing your contact’s display picture nevertheless
- Restore the button for sending the message in the chat window
- Hide various toolbar buttons
- Move the Messenger Plus! Functions button back to the formatting toolbar
And this is what the result could look like – yes, this is the public Messenger 2009 Beta:
Now where to get that fancy piece of software?
Sopair 2.0.0 has been released to the Official Skins Database today.
Download Sopair 2.0.0 Skin for Live Messenger 2009 Beta and Messenger Plus! Live 4.79 Beta (485 kB)
Please remember that this is beta software. If you have any concerns, ideas or problems, feel free to comment on this post, or start a thread in the forums.