Microsoft Windows Live Messenger .dt2 Files

Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger stores Winks , which are Flash-based animated files in C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Messenger\email_address\ObjectStore\Winks3 where Username is the user's account name and email_address is the email address associated with the Live Messenger login account.

To see the location of the files, you first need to make the directory where they are stored visible, as it is normally hidden. To make the directory visible, take these steps . Then navigate to C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Messenger\email_address\ObjectStore\Winks3, where Username is the username for the user on the computer from which the user is logging into Live Messenger and email_address is the email address the user is using for Live Messenger, e.g., C:\Users\Jane\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Messenger\\ObjectStore\Winks3.

Note: the equivalent location on a Windows XP system would be C:\Users\Jane\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Messenger\\ObjectStore\Winks3.

In the directory you will see files with .id2, .dt2, and .png extensions. The .png file is a Portable Network Graphics file, i.e., an image associated with the wink. The other two are binary files associated with the wink.

As one example, one wink for a snowball fight has the falling files associated with it in the Winks3 directory: uiE+1X+GYIiHQr8UoHNGZWu2F9Y=.dt2

The .png file is an image associated with the wink, in this case the image of someone with a snowball in his hand.

To get further information on the types of files used by Microsoft Windows Live Messenger, I uploaded the .dt2 to Marco Pontello's Online TrID File Identifier. It reported a 99.9% match with Microsoft's .cab file format. Microsoft uses the Cabinet file format for a variety of installation programs. The .cab files are archive files containing compressed files.

Microsoft provides a utility expand.exe, which is usually found in the Windows\System32 directory that you can use to extract files from within a .cab file.

C:\>expand /?
Microsoft (R) File Expansion Utility  Version 6.1.7600.16385
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Expands one or more compressed files.

EXPAND [-R] Source Destination
EXPAND -R Source [Destination]
EXPAND -I Source [Destination]
EXPAND -D [-F:Files]
EXPAND -F:Files Destination

  -R            Rename expanded files.
  -I            Rename expanded files but ignore directory structure.
  -D            Display list of files in source.
  Source        Source file specification.  Wildcards may be used.
  -F:Files      Name of files to expand from a .CAB.
  Destination   Destination file | path specification.
                Destination may be a directory.
                If Source is multiple files and -r is not specified,
		Destination must be a directory.

To extract files from a .cab file using the exapand utility, you use the syntax, expand source_filename -f:filename destination. To extract all files from within an archive file, you can use -f:*.

So I tried the utility with the .dt2 file with the destination directory being a directory, Extracted, that I created beneath the one where I copied the .dt2 file for testing.

C:\Users\JDoe\Documents\Temp\Winks>expand "uiE+1X+GYIiHQr8UoHNGZWu2F9Y=.dt2" -F:* Extracted
Microsoft (R) File Expansion Utility  Version 6.1.7600.16385
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Adding Extracted\content.xml to Extraction Queue
Adding Extracted\3089300f.swf to Extraction Queue
Adding Extracted\3089300m.png to Extraction Queue

Expanding Files ....

Expanding Files Complete ...
3 files total.

Best Deals, Delivered. The result was the following 3 files being placed in the Extracted directory.


The .png file was a 50 x 50 pixel PNG file, as was the uiE+1X+GYIiHQr8UoHNGZWu2F9Y=.png file I first encountered associated with the wink. The image was the same as in that file. The content.xml had the following lines within it:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<package xmlns="" version="1.0" type="wink" xmlns:wink="" wink:version="1.0" wink:name="Snowball Fight" partnerid="AG">
 <item contentid="W3089300" contenttype="P" type="animation" mimetype="application/x-shockwave-flash" file="3089300f.swf" wink:sizex="400" wink:sizey="300" />
 <item type="thumbnail" mimetype="image/png" file="3089300m.png" />

The .swf file is an Adobe flash file format. Adobe Flash is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages. The file provides a short "movie", i.e., a little bit of animation when someone sends a wink to someone else.

Note: this information applies to Windows Live Messenger 2009 and may apply to other versions as well.


  1. Live Messenger Scene
    MoonPoint Support
    Created: March 29, 2009
    Modified: February 4, 2012
  2. Transferring Live Messenger Winks
    MoonPoint Support
    Created: December 28, 2011
    Modified: January 1, 2012
  3. Cabinet (file format)
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional

Created: Saturday February 4, 2012