Use TweetDeck Web as a Twitter Desktop App

As you are probably aware if you are reading this Twitter are closing down the TweetDesk desktop application, however fear not. TweetDeck Web looks exactly the same as the desktop application and you can essentially emulate how the old TweetDeck app worked using Google Chrome and a bit of trickery. Essentially you can create a shortcut that will run TweetDeck website in a borderless web browser window, complete with its own icon.

As you can see below from the screenshot comparison below running TweetDeck in a borderless web browser window looks exactly like the TweetDeck desktop app.

tweetdesk-chrome-web-app-desktop

Your TweetDesk desktop web app can even have its own icon on the taskbar, just like the old TweetDesk desktop app did:

tweetdesk-chrome-web-app-desktop-2

How to Use TweetDeck Web as a Twitter Desktop App:

If you’d like to set TweetDeck Web up as a Chrome desktop app you first need to have downloaded and installed Google Chrome: Download Google Chrome

Before getting started its worth mentioning this could used to do this directly in Chrome, however i no longer see the option in any of my current Chrome installs. The option used to be under Tools > Create application shortcuts, from here here you could add a frameless webpage to the desktop, startm menu or pinned to the taskbar.

Once you have Google Chrome installed go to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs and find the Google Chrome shortcut, you want to make a copy of this and rename it to something like TweetDeck.

tweetdesk-chrome-web-app-desktop-3

Now you want to right click on the TweetDesk shortcut, go to properties, click the shortcut tab, then in the target box you want to add a space after chrome.exe” and type

–app=https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/

tweetdesk-chrome-web-app-desktop-4

The end result should be your target box in the shortcut looks like this: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” –app=https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/

Please note your Google Chrome could well be installed in a different location to the above, if you have the 64bit version installed for example, however all you need to do is add a space then  –app=https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/ to the end of the target in the shortcut properties.

If you now double click on your TweetDeck shortcut the TweetDeck website should load in Google Chrome, however will have no frame around the website, essentially looking the exact same as TweetDeck for Windows did. You can re-size the window however you desire, or even maximize it, without it interfering with your normal Chrome browser session.

tweetdesk-chrome-web-app-desktop-5

Optional Step: Pin TweetDeck Web To The Taskbar With An Icon:

If you want to pin your new TweetDeck web app to the taskbar you sort of have to go through the above process again, however in a slightly different way.

Open the TweetDeck shortcut you just made, right click on it then select “pin this program to the taskbar”:

tweetdesk-chrome-web-app-desktop-6

You will then end up with another Google Chrome icon which opens Google Chrome and not TweetDeck.

To fix this open the following folder: C:\Users\Matt\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar – be sure to change Matt in the file path to the username you use to log on to Windows with.

Right Click on the Google Chrome (2) shortcut and go to “Properties”, as we previously did:
tweetdesk-chrome-web-app-desktop-7

Add a space then  –app=https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/ to the end of the target in the shortcut properties, like we did previously:

tweetdesk-chrome-web-app-desktop-8

If you also click change icon you can then change the default Google Chrome icon to a Twitter icon, you can Download the TweetDeck Icon here and unzip it somewhere on your system, e.g. the Documents folder, then simply click “change icon” and browse to the location of the TweetDeck icon you saved, selecting this as the new icon. You can then press ok and rename “Google Chrome (2)” to TweetDeck if you wish.

Note: Be aware if you rename the Google Chrome (2) shortcut you will need to log off and log back on again for the changes we just made to be reflected in the Task Bar.

That’s it, you can essentially use TweetDeck as you always have, without having to keep a tab in your web browser open all the time! (woohoo!)

FAQ:

Q: I don’t get desktop notifications from TweetDeck

A: You might need to add a new column to TweetDeck and ensure popup alerts is ticked, like so: tweetdesk-chrome-web-app-desktop-9

Google Chrome will then ask if you wish to allow TweetDeck to show desktop notifications, you simply need to click allow:

tweetdesk-chrome-web-app-desktop-10

Join The Outlook.com Office 365 Exchange Preview

Exchange access to your Outlook.com or Hotmail.com inbox is now possible if you apply to join the new Outlook.com preview program.

As mentioned above joining the Outlook.com preview program gets your email account converted in to an Exchange Inbox, meaning you can fully take advantage of Microsoft Outlook on the desktop. Changes you make to your inbox, calendar and contacts will sync in real time just like your Exchange inbox you might have at School or Work, as will the mail rules you create and so on.

If you happen to be using Mac OS you can finally use your Outlook.com or Hotmail.com email account in the OSX Mail app or even Outlook for OSX without having to resort to using IMAP, meaning everything will sync and not just your email.

If you have always wished your Outlook.com / Hotmail.com was a Microsoft exchange inbox then follow this link Outlook.com Preview Program Request Signup and get yourself on the list today.

If you want to learn more about the new Outlook.com powered by Office 365 have a read of the New ways to get more done in Outlook.com blog by the Office 365 time.

Outlook.com / Hotmail.com Exchange Inbox

MSN Plus (Messenger Plus) PLE Chat Log Decryption

MSN Plus was a popular add on for MSN Messenger (Windows Live Messenger) throughout the 2000’s. One of the features MSN Plus had was the ability to log chats, then in later versions of MSN Plus encrypt these chat logs.

Encrypted chat logs we’re certainly a good idea, however as the years go on things change. MSN Messenger has long since been merged with Skype and development of MSN Plus has ended. So what can I do about the all the encrypted chat logs I have spanning almost 10 years?

It’s still possible to view the chat logs if you install an old version of MSN Messenger, which will then allow MSN Plus to be installed so your encrypted chat logs can be opened as normal. To me installing two programs which are no longer supported (and not even possible to download unless you have archived a copy) was certainly not ideal in my mind, so I wanted to find a way to decrypt all my old chat logs.

As it turns out back in 2006 a MSN Plus community member going by the alias of CookieRevised created a batch file that would decrypt (or encrypt) all MSN Plus chat log files found within a folder / sub folders of that folder.

Providing you know the password used to encrypt your chat logs this script can scan through your chat logs folder, locate any .PLE files (Encrypted chat logs) and batch decrypt them back to the standard .html chat logs MSN Plus used for non encrypted chat logs.

The process is pretty easy to do presuming you have an offline installer for MSN Messenger and a compatible version of MSN Plus. If not I have uploaded a copy of everything you will require below.

Removing Chat Log Encryption From Messenger Plus (MSN Plus) PLE Chat Logs

To remove the encryption from your chat logs you will need to download the following:

I have created mirrors of the above files from my download archives as none of them appear to be hosted online anymore, all the files were sourced from their official sites many years ago.

Note: I installed the above on a Windows 7 SP1 64bit virtual machine which i can confirm this process will work on, newer versions of Windows might not be compatible.

Once you have download the files above, follow these steps to decrypt your MSN Messenger chat logs:

  1. Install Windows Live Messenger 2009
  2. Install MSN Plus Live 4.90
  3. Extract the DecryptEncryptAll batch files to the folder your chat logs are located in – Documents\My Chat Logs is the default location.
  4. You should have now have something like this:MSN Plus Chat Log Decryption 1
  5. As you can see each months chat logs are encrypted:
    MSN Plus Chat Log Decryption 3
  6. Open the DecryptAll 4.1.bat file and enter the password used to encrypt the chat logs:MSN Plus Chat Log Decryption 2
  7. The decryption process should now start:
    MSN Plus Chat Log Decryption 3
  8. Once decrypted the encrypted chat logs will be deleted and you will end up with the standard MSN Plus HTML versions of your chat logs in the same folder the encrypted chatlog was located in.
    MSN Plus Chat Log Decryption 5

To decrypt all my chat logs it took around 20-30 mins (I wasnt really watching it), this will vary depending how many logs you have saved over the years. My chat logs were encrypted from September 2007 onward to December 2011.

I believe December 2011 was around the time I switched over to Trillian as i didnt really like the look of the newer MSN clients, however at that point Trillian was still capable of connecting to the Messenger network and was a much nicer client than in my opinion.

I hope this helps some fellow MSN users out, I think old chat logs are something good to keep and look back on in years to come to see what I was doing in a certain point in my life, even just looking back at a few when posting this blog i was thinking “wow i totally forgot about that”.

If you are from the UK you likely grew up with MSN Messenger, it’s something I had used since the year 2000. Back when I was in school or college you would just ask someone for their MSN email address, rather than a mobile number. Back then not everyone had mobile phones and for those who did calls / texts where not usually free, so most people would often be on MSN during the evenings. The modern day equivalent seems to be WhatsApp / Facebook messenger. Anyway i’m going a bit off topic here, i hope someone find’s this blog post of some use sometime in the future!

Note: the source for the batch script used in this guide was the MSN Plus forums, which now no longer appear to exist. A community hosted archive of the MSN Plus forums can be found here. The batch file used in this blog was found in the archived topic here.