MSN Messenger 7 is a solid instant messenger that's chock-full of features, including new, full-screen video chat that works well via a broadband Internet connection. Longtime users should upgrade, but newcomers to messaging should opt for Yahoo Messenger 6 or ICQ 4.1; both commandeer less desktop space and offer fewer pitches for extra paid services.
Messenger took just five minutes to download and install in CNET's tests. With its default setup settings, MSN changed the Internet Explorer home page to MSN Home, made MSN Search the default search engine, and added the MSN Toolbar to IE. Unless you're paying attention and you uncheck the appropriate boxes to prevent these changes, Messenger will ride roughshod over your browser settings--a potential headache for inexperienced users.