Donavon wrote a gadget for Live.com, Spaces, and the Vista sidebar that counts down to when Vista officially ships to the general public. So I thought I would continue this using the Messenger Add-In APIs and write the same thing but for Windows Live Messenger and have it display the countdown in your Personal Message area. Now, due to the limitations of the APIs themselves, I found no way to actually have the countdown flow like you would expect, but I have countered that by setting it so that whenever a message is received or sent, or your status is changed, it updates.
So: how do you add this add-in to Messenger? Well, there is no simple way at the moment, but I will give instructions on how to do this. First off, we need to tell Messenger that we want to be able to use Add-ins as Messenger by default doesn’t have this option turned on. There is an entry in the Windows registry that we need to add, but for your ease I have a reg file that will do this for you. Just run this registry file and it will make the necessary changes; you will need to fully exit Messenger for this change to take effect.
Next you will need to download the actual Add-in itself, which you can get here. Unlike the plugins for Live Writer, the add-in DLLs can go wherever you like as we will be telling Messenger where the file resides. So, extract the DLL to a place on your computer and from the Messenger options, go to the Add-ins section and press Add to Messenger…. Point to the DLL we just extracted and load it into Messenger, your options pane will now look like this:
Then just OK out of the options. So our add-in is now loaded into Messenger, now all we need to do is turn it on. To do this, on your main contact list window, click your Display Name, and you will now see an extra option:
Turn on the add-in and you will see your Personal Message change to the countdown:
As an added feature, I have also set it so that if any of your contacts asks “When is Vista released?” (case sensitive), it will automatically reply with that countdown message:
So what are you waiting for, let everyone know when Vista is going to be launched . One important note though, the filename must be WLMVistaCountdown.VC.dll otherwise the add-in simply will not load.