For those of you ‘lucky’ enough to have already updated to the new Windows 7 then you have probably already noticed the major changes to the task bar. Good or bad, you decide. Personally, I like some of the new functionality that it provides but I also enjoy a slim taskbar — similar to that of Vista. Fortunately Microsoft provided a “Use small icons” option in the taskbar properties (right-click the taskbar and select properties) which makes the task bar a similar size to that of Vista.
Changing the taskbar to use small icons, however, does not fix the fact that Windows Live Messenger likes to constantly take up a space in the taskbar even when the window is not open. Since there does not currently appear to be an option in Windows Live Messenger to display the program in the system tray, instead of on the taskbar, we need to use a simple work around.
First, close any current Windows Live Messenger instances. Then open your start menu and locate the Windows Live Messenger shortcut. Right-click the shortcut and select properties. Switch to the Compatibility tab and check “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” and select Window Vista (Service Pack 2)”. Now start Windows Live Messenger and problem solved. You should now see the Windows Live Messenger icon in the system tray. As you would on Vista, XP, etc.