Half of this world’s problems… errr… Half of the problems that I face in this world are solved during one of those quick chat sessions with my online friends out of Instant Messenger contact lists.

You see, experimentation is not the first thing to do when you’re stuck.

Search for a solution. Someone might have already had the same problem as you are facing and maybe someone already found a way out of trouble. Now, how you search matters.

The first thing I do when I am stuck is (not panicking, actually.. but) to ask some of my online chat buddies who I think might have the solution to the problem. I ask my programmer friends when I am tweaking wordpress plugins and themes to my advantage, the seniors from college when I need to fix something up with the Training and Placement Cell, classmates if I am in a rut with the homework and they happen to be online. And then there was this very recent case when one I needed to talk to one of my ex-girlfriends who is leaving for Delhi in a few days time for higher studies and I couldn’t think of the best words to talk to her. One of the girls in my yahoo contacts helped me with that.

Google is just a click away, but I prefer IM chats as the primary option because:

  1. Anyone who has a first hand experience can guide you out better than a static tutorial. In case the issue is technical, the platform on which the tutorial is based might be different, or it might be that the solution provided for your problem on your platform is outdated. Or even, that the tutorial is not comprehensive, or not complete, or whatever. If someone can dynamically help you out its well and good. If not, Google is anyone’s buddy
  2. Sometimes, I may not get time to talk to my online chat buddies if I am caught up with my work. Whether you’re going to chat about your problems and solutions – you get a chance to say a quick hello and most of the times, it has a positive impact and assists in healthy social networking.

Now, what if I need to go retrieve my chats for reference at a later point of time? Searching for a page on the internet, and bookmarking it (if useful) is pretty easy (CTRL + D). You can chose to archive (save) your chats in almost any Instant Messenger you might be using- Yahoo, MSN, Google Talk, etc. The method of archiving might be different. For me, because I discuss so many issues which are important to me (regarding my blog, programming, college, friends, life, etc.) archiving chats becomes as important as backing up my databases!ย  I might need to use these saved chats for reference any time.


Archiving Chat in Yahoo Messenger

You can not only save all of your chat history in Yahoo messenger but also your voice call history! To save your chats in Yahoo archive :

Sign into your account using the messenger. When signed in, click on the messenger tab in the menu bar. From there, choose Preferences. In the preferences dialog window, navigate to Archive. And you’ll see something like this:

Chose the options “Yes, Save all of my messages” and “Yes, Save my call history” and Apply the changes. You can view your saved chat history from this very place, as you can see in the image above.

Archiving Chat in MSN (Windows Live Messenger)

Chat history in MSN Messenger (Windows Live Messenger) is saved in XML files at a location that you specify. These XML files can then be opened in your browser and they’ll show you the chat history in tabular form – From, To, Message, Sent On, etc.

Let us first see how to enable saving chats in MSN :

Sign in to MSN messenger using your username and password and once logged in, click on Tools in the Menu Bar. From the drop down menu that opens, choose Options. In the options dialog window, navigate to the tab called Messages. This image will show you what to do next:

You select the option to keep a history of your chat messages, and also specify the location where you wish to save the chat history. To view the chats later, you goto the location you specify here and open the XML file in your browser (I recommend that you use Mozilla Firefox over Internet Explorer. You can get it from the badge in the sidebar.)

Archiving Chat in Google Talk

The chats in Google Talk are not saved on your hard disk, if you enable archiving them – but in your GMail account as emails with the title Chat With [PersonName]. To save chats in Google Talk, you need to sign into your account using the messenger. Then you click on settings on the top right of GTalk window. Further, under the chat tab you choose to save chat history in GMail account:

Apply the settings, and you’re done.

Not Archiving Chat History but Only Saving Specific Chats

In case you don’t wish to save each and every chat session you ever had, you can just save a specific chat as a text file (.txt) onto your computer. To do this, when you’re chatting with someone and wish to save the chat, simply press CTRL + S and a familiar Save As dialog box will open. Specifiy where you want to save the file, save and there you are! And the good thing about this method of saving chats is that this works on any instant messenger.

So now whenever you need to look back into your chat histories for reference; it’ll be easy and convenient. Did you like this post? Drop a comment using the form below.

19 thoughts on “Archiving or Saving your Instant Messenger Chats for Reference

  1. I use Pidgen so I can access more than one IM. I log all my chats for blackmail purposes, no – just kidding. But I do log them and have been very glad more than once to be able to go back and get some information I needed. Great post!

    Wills last blog post..Wordless Wednesday 7-30-2008

  2. Nice post! I actually use Adium for Mac OSX, which archives chats for me automatically. I think the new AIM does this as well. I constantly refer to these to back myself up or to get funny quotes or even phone numbers.

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  5. Thanks for info, it’s very usefull

    ROBIN BENEDICTs latest published blog-post ………. 20 Rules For Better Web Blog Design

  6. I’ve been doing that too.. ๐Ÿ™‚ But sometimes, I cut-and-paste as well, especially if important messages, just in case. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hello guys, you may also want to meet new friends outside messenger, check this http://www.humanhood.com .. And experience this coolest and fastest growing social networking site that helps people achieve goals.. Get an invite now.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I LOVE saving my MSN chats with people. I don’t always do it, but when I have a specific discussion that something gets resolved in, I pretty much always save it for future reference. And I’d say about 8 out of 10 times I end up making use of that saved file. So useful!
    .-= Ted@best gaming mouse´s last blog ..Logitech G9 =-.

  8. Hi, I am not so familiar with such technics in chatting online.. Archiving a chat session is a nice thing for me to know. It is important most especially when you are having a online interview with your employer, you can retrieve the session that you had. And from that you can review the questions that he asked to you. This are the things that I think that is important advantage of archiving a chat.. Thanks for sharing this topic..

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