Live Messenger stores Winks
, which are
animated files in
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
. 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,
Note: the equivalent location on a Windows XP system would be
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
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
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
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 Source.cab [-F:Files] EXPAND Source.cab -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
you use the syntax,
expand source_filename -f:filename
destination. To extract all files from within an
archive file, you can use
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.
The result was the following 3 files being placed in the
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
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<package xmlns="http://messenger.msn.com/messengercontent/1.0" version="1.0" type="wink" xmlns:wink="http://messenger.msn.com/winks/1.0" 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.
Created: Saturday February 4, 2012