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.

Colored Title Bar On Windows 10 – Remove The White

Update: The Windows 10 1511 Build 10586 released in November 2015 now nativity supports colored title bars. The title bar colours can be configured in Settings > Personalise > Colours.

The white title bar for active Windows on Windows 10 is a bit bland / lifeless and it can often make it quite hard to distinguish between and active window or an inactive window. Plus lets be honest a bit of colour never hurt anyone, especially if you are spending 8+ hours a day using a PC.

Below, the bland white title bars on Windows 10:

Windows 10 Title Bar Colour Change

So how do i get a colored title bar on Windows 10 and add some colour on my desktop?

Unzip then install UxStyle, this consists of a tiny system service and a kernel driver that are loaded into memory which patches Windows on the fly to allow unsigned themes to load, meaning no system files are modified.

Next you need to unzip and copy the Colored Title Bar Theme for Windows 10 to C:\Windows\Resources\Themes as shown below:

Windows 10 Title Bar Colour Change

 

Now you can simply load the Windows 10 “Settings” app, go to Personalisation > Themes then click on Theme settings.

You should now see you have three installed themes – Windows 10 Black, Windows 10 White and Windows 10, as shown below:

Windows 10 Title Bar Colour Change

If you want a Windows 10 black or white theme choose the appropriate one, however to have a colored theme you can control select the “Windows 10” theme with the colored icon as shown above.

You can now go to Settings > Personaliseation > Colours and turn off “Automatically pick an accent colour from my background”, you can then select an accent colour, which will also be the colour of your title bar:

Windows 10 Title Bar Colour Change

Of course if you want a random title bar colour you can let windows automatically choose one based on your current background, this can allow for colours you cant normally choose from.

You should then have a colored title bar, just like in Windows 8. Below you can see I have a nice light blue title bar, much nicer than the default white i’m sure you will agree!

Windows 10 Title Bar Colour Change

Windows 10 File Explorer Open This PC By Default

By default the Windows 10 File Explorer opens to the quick access folder by default, personally i dont find that at all useful and would sooner it open “This PC” (My Computer) so I can have easy access to hard drives, connected devices and network shares.

Thankfully the Windows 10 file explorer can be made to open This PC by default, it even has its own setting hidden away, so no registry hacks are required like on Windows 8.

To make the Windows 10 File Explorer open this PC by default you need to do the following:

  1. On any open file explorer window click the view tab
  2. Then click options > change folder and search optionsWindows 10 File Explorer Open This PC By Default
  3. Now simply change the open file explorer option to “This PC”Windows 10 File Explorer Open This PC By Default

When you click on ok you have done it, now when you open a new file explorer windows it will default to opening “This PC” from now on. I hope this helps someone out, again easy once you know where to look!