In earlier versions of Windows, Microsoft (later MSN) Instant Messenger was a must-have utility. This simple text-based chat tool allowed you to send instant messages to friends or colleagues within your office network or across the internet. Those messages would then pop up at the bottom of the recipient's screen using a small window which is technically known as a "toaster".
Recent years have seen such IM clients give way to fuller featured solutions such as Skype, Microsoft Lync, and webmail. But if you long to have a simple IM system back on your PC again, I've found one that's simple to install and completely free for personal use.
The program is called Brosix, and you'll find it at http://www.brosix.com if you want more details. There's a monthly per-user fee if you want to use it in a corporate environment, but for personal users it's free. The personal edition can be downloaded from http://www.brosix.com/download/ and the file is around 28 MB. The program is malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust, and works on all recent versions of Windows including 7 and 8.
As well as allowing you to chat by text, you can also do audio and video chat if you want. Plus, you can send files, and you can also send an instant screen shot of your system. This makes it a handy tool for troubleshooting problems with friends' computers.
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