We’ve noticed a few questions from users about the changes to the Sharing Folders functionality in the new version of Windows Live Messenger and thought it was a good time to post a follow-up to our initial December posting.

The Sharing Folders functionality was removed in Windows Live Messenger 2009 and replaced with integrated access to Windows Live SkyDrive.  If you are interested in reading more about the changes, here’s a link to the full post from December: Sharing Files with Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live SkyDrive.

What’s different?

  • You can now share files in the following ways:
    • Publically
    • Only to pre-defined/custom group of people
    • or just with your contact.

You have full control over the permissions of the file(s) you share.

  • In the past, files would only synchronize when both users were online.  Now, when you publish files to Windows Live Skydrive, those files upload right away and are accessible whenever your contact logs in, without having to worry about syncing.
  • If you are on vacation or on a computer where Messenger is not installed, as long as you have a web browser and an internet connection you can still sign in with your Live ID and get to your files.

What is the same?
You can still transfer files in real-time with a contact who is online.  That has not changed at all.

What happens to my Sharing Folders when I upgrade to the new Windows Live Messenger?

Nothing, your files will not be deleted or last.  When you upgrade to Windows Live Messenger 2009 you will see a prompt the first time you try to access/view or publish files online explaining the change and a link to your folder.  A shortcut is also created for you, and placed in the Documents folder. If you do not have Sharing Folder files locally on the machine you are signing in on, you will not see a migration dialog.

If you still can’t find your files, you can look here:

<AppDataLocal>\Microsoft\Messenger\<User Sign In Email>\Sharing Folders\

For example:
C:\Users\MyName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Messenger\MyAccount@live.com\Sharing Folders\

If you are still having problems finding your files, make sure that you are actually on the same machine that had the files on them locally.  Several users have mentioned that were still having problems finding their files.  Please keep in mind that, it’s likely in this scenario, that the files had never been synchronized to that specific machine, even though you may have had a sharing relationship with that contact.  If that is the case, you’ll have to go to the machine that has the files on them locally.

The Windows Live Messenger Team