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Real Computer Help Online: From the beginner to the seasoned user, this website is designed to answer all of your computer questions and take some of the frustration out of trying to use Windows.

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Microsoft Chat


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NOTE: As of February 14, 2001, Microsoft closed it's chat server for Comic Chat. You can still use the chat program to log onto Chatnet, Undernet or any of the other IRC chat servers on the Web, so the following questions and answers still apply. Microsoft does, however, still maintain its Community Chat, which you can log onto from your Internet Explorer browser at http://chat.msn.com

These instructions are geared toward the single-click method of using your mouse. If you use double-clicking, you should compensate accordingly. Additionally, if any terms used in these instructions are unfamiliar to you, refer to the Glossary for their definitions. Menus and items you click on are shown in yellow.

Click on any of the questions below for the answers. To retract an answer for easier viewing of the questions, click on the question again, not the answer.

Q: Ok, so I wanna chat. How do I begin?

A: When you first execute your Chat program, it will ask you to sign in. Type a nickname for yourself and click OK to enter Chat. A good place to start might be to join an existing room and let the fun begin. The next question tells you how to join a room.

Q: How do I go into a room in Chat?

A: Once you are in Chat, click on the Room List icon on the toolbar (the one that looks like a door with a list in front of it). When you find a room you like, left-click on the name of the room to select it, then click on Join Room at the bottom of the window.

Q: When I get disconnected and try to reconnect to Chat, sometimes it won't let me keep my nickname?

A: There are usually two reasons for that. The first is that nicknames must be unique. If someone else has logged onto Chat in the meantime using the same nickname, it will ask you to select another. The second is that there is sometimes a delay when you get disconnected and Chat thinks you're still there. If you don't want to change your nickname altogether, try adding something to it, like 123. You can change back later to your original nickname. See the next question for instructions.

Q: Can I change my nickname while I'm in a room?

A: Click on View, then select Options. On the Personal Info tab, type the new nickname you want to use. Click Apply, then OK to finish.

Q: I find it hard to have a serious conversation with someone who looks like a Tazmanian devil. Is this just a comic chat?

A: No, to leave comic mode, left-click on the Text View icon on the toolbar that looks like a page of a document. You can now chat in text mode.

Q: My profile says I'm too lazy to create a profile. How do I change it so people won't think I'm lazy?

A: That's just Microsoft's sense of humor. To create a profile, click on View, then select Options. On the Personal Info tab, type a profile for your self under Brief description of yourself. Click Apply, then OK to finish.

Q: Why do people keep telling me to lower my caps?

A: Typing in all caps (LIKE THIS) is considered yelling in Chat. It's rude and hard to read. Always use Upper and lower case letters when chatting.

Q: People keep telling me I moofed. Is this something I should see a doctor about?

A: Moofing just means you've been disconnected from the server. Not to worry, it doesn't cause a rash.

Q: Can I look for a particular kind of room without having to go down the whole list?

A: When you click on the Room List icon (the one that looks like a door with a list in front of it), type a subject, for instance romance, in the text box beside Display chat rooms that contain. A list of all chat rooms containing the word romance will then appear.

Q: How do I find a friend in chat?

A: Left click on the User List icon on the toolbar. It looks like a person with a list in front of it. Enter your friend's nickname in the text box, then click on Search. When your friend's nickname comes up, highlight it by left-clicking on it. You can then choose Join User or Whisper Box to send him/her a message.

Helpful Hint: If you don't know the exact nickname, you can enter a portion of the nickname and the User List will find all instances of the sequence you typed.

Q: How do I invite someone to a room?

A: Once you are in a room, find your friend on the User List. See the previous question for help in locating someone. When his name appears, click on his nickname to select it, then click Invite. He will receive an invitation to join the room you are in.

Q: What's a whisper in chat? It's not like we're really talking?

A: A whisper in chat is a communication between two people that only they can see. Even though it appears in the room, it is invisible to all other room members.

Q: How come some whispers are in the room and others come up in a box?

A: There are two ways to whisper in chat. The first puts your whisper into the room where it is only visible to you and the person to whom you are whispering. The second way pulls up a whisper box which is more private and helps prevent you from hitting the wrong button and putting a private conversation into the room for all to see. Both are explained below.

Q: How do I whisper to someone in a room?

A: After you've typed your message, highlight the person's name from the Member's List to the right of the room by clicking on it, then enter your whisper into the room by clicking on the Whisper icon to the right of the text box which looks like a bubble with a dotted line around it.

Helpful Hint: Be sure you are clicking the Whisper icon or what you've intended to whisper will be visible to everyone in the room.

Q: How do I whisper to someone using a whisper box?

A: Right-click on the name of the person you wish to whisper to on the Member List to the right of the room and choose Whisper box. When the whisper box appears, treat it as a mini-room. Type your text into the text box at the bottom and click on the Whisper icon to send your whisper.

Q: Do I have to be in a room to whisper to someone?

A: No, you can whisper to anyone in chat once you've located them. Left-click on the User List icon on the toolbar. It looks like a person with a list in front of it. Enter your friend's nickname on the text box. Click on Search. When your friend's nickname comes up, highlight it by left-clicking on it. Click on Whisper Box to send your message.

Q: Can I whisper the same message to two people at the same time?

A: You can whisper to multiple people at the same time by holding down your control key and highlighting the names of the people you want to whisper to from the Member List to the right of the room. Type your whisper into the text box, then click on the Whisper icon.

Q: I found a room I really like to go in a lot, but it's not always on the Room List. Is there a way to make sure I can get back to the room whenever I want?

A: You can put the room on your Favorites list. When you're in the room, click on Favorites on the Menu Bar, then select Add to Favorites. When you want to return to the room, click on Favorites, then select the name of the room you want to join.

Q: I hate all the bells and whistles. Can I get rid of them?

A: You can shut off the sounds in chat completely by clicking View, then selecting Stop Playing Sound. To turn it back on, repeat the procedure.

Q: Some people are really offensive at times. Is there anything I can do besides leave the room?

A: Chat actually allows you to ignore someone in a room when you are bothered by them. Select their name from the Member List to the right of the room and click the Ignore icon on the toolbar. It's the red circle with a diagonal line running through it. Nothing that person says will be visible to you in the room and you'll have peace and quiet once again.

Q: Whenever I'm chatting, those annoying little chat invitations and netmeeting requests keep popping up. Do I have to be annoyed by them?

A: No. You can change your settings so you don't receive them. Click View from the Menu Bar, then select Options. On the Settings tab, remove the checkmark from the boxes marked Receive netmeeting calls and Receive chat invitations by clicking on them. Those pesky little critters won't be bothering you again.

Q: Can I put a person on my favorites list like I can with the rooms?

A: In a way, yes. You can put a person on your Notifications List so you are notified of their presence in Chat. While you are in a room with that person, right-click on their name on the Member List to the right of the room, then select Add to Notifications. When the dialog box appears, click Add. Click Apply, then OK to finish the procedure.

Q: My friends keep telling me they can't find me on the Users' List when I'm in chat. Why not?

A: You have probably become invisible to others in Chat. To change this, click View from the Menu Bar, then select Options. On the Settings tab, place a checkmark in the box marked Appear in other's user lists by left-clicking on it.

Q: How can I let someone know I'm going to be away from the keyboard for awhile so they don't talk to me while I'm gone and get no answer?

A: To activate your Away status, click on the Coffee Cup icon on the toolbar. Type in a message of your own or use the one supplied by Chat. Click OK to set the option. Be sure to click on the Coffee Cup icon upon your return to let the others in the room know you are back.

Q: Sometimes my typing looks Greek to me! What did I do?

A: Somehow you've activated Set/Reset Symbol Font. It's the icon on the far right of your toolbar that looks like a pitchfork. If it is depressed, left-click on it and your typing should return to normal.

Q: Can I be in two rooms at once?

A: Yes. In fact, you can be in more than two rooms at a time; you don't have to leave one room to enter another. Clicking on the tabs at the top of the rooms will allow you to shift back and forth. To help you track the activity in multiple rooms, the icons on the room tabs will change color when there is activity in a room other than the one you are actively in.

Q: Can I peek into a room to see who's there without actually going in?

A: In a way. You can get a list of room members without being in the room. Click on the Chat Room List icon on the toolbar what looks like a list in front of a door. When the room list comes up, select a room, then click on List Members to see who's in the room.

Q: Why can't I hear the sound files being played in a room?

A: To hear the sound files (called wavs) that are being played in a room, you must have not only have the wav on your computer, but it must have the exact same title as the one being played. Otherwise, you will just see the title of the wav being played in the room.

Q: How do I play wav files?

A: To play your own wavs, click on the Speaker icon to the right of your text box. Select the wav you want to play. You can then click Test to hear the wav or click OK to play it in the room.

Helpful Hint: As your wav file grows, you can quickly find the wav you want by typing at least a partial title (or even a letter of the alphabet) into the text box at the top of the Play Sound dialog box. It will automatically jump to wavs beginning with the text you've typed.

Q: When someone sends me a wav, I still can't hear it when it's played. Why not?

A: You probably saved it to the wrong place. When you receive a wav file, it should be saved to C/Windows/Media. Otherwise, it will have to be moved to your media file to be heard.

Q: How can I send a pic to someone?

A: Right-click on their name on the Member List to the right of the room. Choose Send File. On the Send File to dialog box, navigate to the file you want to send and click Open.

Q: How do I receive a file?

A: When you receive a file transfer request, click Yes to open up the Receive File From dialog box. Navigate to the folder you want to store the file in. Click Save to start the transfer.

Q: When someone is trying to send me a file, I don't even receive the request. What's wrong?

A: You may have Receive File Transfer Requests disabled. To enable the option, click View from the Menu Bar, then select Options. On the Settings tab, place a the checkmark next to Receive file transfer requests by clicking on the box to the left of it.

Q: Sometimes my font changes color. How do I change it back?

A: To change your font color, click on the Set Font Color icon on the toolbar that looks like a paint pallet. When the Choose Color box comes up, left-click on the color you want.

Q: I see a bunch of abbreviations and symbols being used in the chatrooms. How do I know if someone is being nice or telling me off?

A: These are called "Emoticons". They are a form of shorthand. Click on the link above for a list of emoticons you might see in Chat.

Q: How can I find out which version of Chat I am running?

A: While you are in Chat, click Help on the Menu Bar, then select About Chat to see which version of Chat you have.


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