Comprehensive guide

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The Miranda comprehensive guide is the long guide to installing and using Miranda for the first time. It provides a basic overview on almost every aspect of the original client and should help you get Miranda running, especially if you have never used an instant messaging client before. If you are not new to Miranda or instant messengers and just need a basic overview of using Miranda, head over to the Quick Start guide.

Contents

Download and installation

Downloading and installing Miranda-IM is fairly trivial and should be gotten out of the way before continuing though this guide. As you may have noticed, there are a number of options to choose from and each one provides a different advantage over the other. The following sections below will help you choose which option is best for you.

See also Downloading Miranda

ANSI vs Unicode

With the new releases of Miranda, you may be left to wonder what is the difference between ANSI and Unicode and which one should I choose? One major drawback of ANSI is can only support 256 different characters. However, languages such as Hebrew and Chinese have thousands of characters. Thus, ANSI does not work in these situations. Unicode on the hand, allows for up to 65,536 different characters which means better support for these languages. Unicode is fairly complex, and is only supported by Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003 as well as all future releases of Windows. So, if you are using an older system such as Windows 95/98/ME you must download ANSI versions. For newer operating systems, it is recommended you download the Unicode version because it provides better language support, but the ANSI version will still work.

See also 64-bit Miranda

Stable releases

Stable releases provide the most reliable and bug free versions of Miranda. They have been tested numerous times by users and developers before releases and should be used if you want a reliable bug free experience. To get the stable releases: simply go to downloads section. You'll find that you can download either an installer or a zip archive. Either one are fairly small in size, but provide different installation options for users. The section below provides a detailed comparison of each choice. Whatever option you choose you will be redirected to the Google Code page when you click on either one.

Using the installer

The installer defaults your installation to the C:\Program Files\Miranda IM\ directory (which can be changed), allows you to pick the protocols you want installed, and provides shortcut and start-up options. To run the installer, just click on it and it will take you through a series of steps allowing you to pick and choose what you want installed. When you are done, either Miranda will automatically run (if you choose this option on the installer) or you will have to click on Miranda and run it either from a shortcut or from the installation directory.

Using the 7z archives

On the other hand, the 7z archive allows the user to extract Miranda to any directory they want and run it from there. You will have to create shortcuts, start folders, and start options by yourself. To run Miranda, you will have to extract Miranda from the archive into a directory and then double click on the miranda32.exe. To extract the archive you need 7-Zip archiver.

Development releases

From time to time the Miranda development team releases Preview Releases and nightly builds. These releases are not intended to be stable, but they do provide the newest developments in the Miranda project. You can find these under the development section. These releases are recommended if you want to help test the newest releases and help fix bugs. Another reason you might want to install a development version is because sometimes it is required to install the newest plugins.

Running Miranda for the first time

Creating a profile

On Miranda's first run, the profile manager will popup before anything else runs. Here you should add a profile the reflects what your account is for. IE: If you are at work, you might call it Workplace. If multiple people plan on using Miranda, you might name each profile after each others' names.

Setting up accounts

Once your profile is created, the account manager will pop up. Create accounts for networks and enter you screen names/ids and passwords for each account. If you do not have an account with selected service, you can follow the URL in "Account information" area and register an account. Don't worry if you put incorrect information or accidentally forgot to create an account because you can always change the information later.

Navigating the client

The Miranda client may seem fairly complex if you never used and instant messaging service before, but it's fairly straight forward. At the top of the client you will find the menu. The menu contains a button for the main menu and the status menu. If you click on the main menu you will find you can Add/Find Contacts, Change your details, do protocol specific actions, visit the options dialog, see various help options, and exit the client. The status menu allows to change your status for each protocol or all statuses at once. Each time you change your status you will be asked to fill in a reason why via the status message dialog. At the bottom of client you will see the status bar. The status bar indicates what protocols you have connected. Dim icon means that the protocol is not connected. The status bar also shows overlays indicating your current status for each protocol. To minimize the client to the system tray, click the 'X' in the top right corner of the client.

Using The contact list

The basic most crucial use of the contact list is to show you a list of your buddies. But, it allows much more. The following section will guide you through using the contact list for the first time.

Connecting

When the Miranda client starts up for the first time you will notice none of the protocols are connected. You can either click on the status menu and start all the protocols at once (hotkey: Ctrl+1) or you can connect each protocol individually. The status menu is also accessible by right clicking the system tray icon and selecting status. If you receive an error message about incorrect contact information, you can easily click on the main menu and head into options and change it. Protocols are accessible in the options window by going under the Network->Protocol Name, where Protocol Name is the name of the protocol such as "AIM". If you cannot seem to get the client to connect you can always visit the Miranda forum help discussion (Be aware: the help forums have rules; follow them before posting there). To learn how to remove protocols completely visit the "Removing a plugin" part of this guide.

Adding buddies

If you never used a client before and are connecting to service for the first time, your contact list will be pretty empty. To add buddies, you can right click on the contact list and click on Find/Add Contacts. Alternatively you can add contacts by clicking on the main menu. You can search for buddies this way, but it might be hard to find a new friend to add. My suggestion to you, is to ask your friends for their screen names or ids. If you are really hard press for some new friends you can always advertise you are looking for some new friends in off topic section of the forums If you accidentally add a wrong buddy, you can always delete them by right clicking on them and selecting Delete.

Organizing your list

When your contact list starts to get bigger as you add new buddies, you will probably want to start organizing it. Miranda allows you to add groups where you can group together similar buddies or contacts. Adding groups is pretty simple, all you have to do is right click on the contact list and select New Group. A new group will probably appear with the name "New Group". You can either right click on the group name and click Rename to rename it or select the group and then single click to rename it. Once the group is renamed, you can easily add contacts to it by selecting contacts and dragging them on top of the group until a plus sign appears. Let go and the contact should appear under the group. Miranda also allows you to create subgroups by right clicking on a existing group and clicking on new SubGroup.

Reading buddy statuses

Buddies can have many different statuses and each varies depending on the protocol. Universally, when users are offline, they will be grayed out unless you have them hidden and online buddies will be displayed in full color. Looking at their icon beside their name will show the current buddy's status. The icon will change to reflect one of the many statuses allowed with protocol from Available, to Away, to Idle, and so forth. You can message users no matter what their status is, but messages usually won't be received when they are offline unless a certain protocol supports this.

Messaging and other cool things

In the contact list, you can right click on your buddies to send them a message, view their details, show their chat history, and delete them. This list of options will vary by protocol, but that list sums up the general aspects of what you should see. All of those actions are pretty straight forward except messaging.

Sending your first message

Once you click on the message option by right clicking on the contact or by double clicking on their name, a message window will appear. In the center of the window you will find a rich text box that displays your conversation, and below that will be a smaller one that allows you to enter text. Simply, click on the smaller text box and begin typing to enter your first message. Press enter when you are done, and the message will be sent. When the user sends a message, you will see their text in the rich text box too. If the window is minimized it will flash blue in the taskbar when a user messages you. You will notice at the bottom of the window a label that tells you when a user is typing or when you received your last message from them. When you are done with the conversation, you can click the 'X' at the top window to close it.

Receiving message notifications

If you are not currently chatting with a contact, and a contact messages your ID, you will see the system tray icon and their user icon on the contact list flash with a message symbol. To view their message, simply double click their ID or the task tray icon. When you do this a message window will open and allow you to engage in a conversation with the user.

Customizing Miranda

Miranda is a very customizable application. Anyone can write plugins for Miranda and design various graphics from icons to full blown application skins.

Using the option dialog

To customize the many aspects of Miranda, you will probably need to use the options from time to time to get Miranda to work like you want it to. Open Miranda's main menu and click on Options to get to the options dialog. The options dialog is fairly straight forward for Miranda. On the right you will see a tree dialog box. Each entry allows you to click on them and when you do, to the right you will see various options pertaining to the choice you selected. With the selector in top right corner of the option dialog, you can choose to view only options that belong to a certain plugin.

Installing/removing plugins

When it comes to customizing Miranda, if you are looking for a way to change the look and feel of Miranda or add new functionality, plugins provide that answer you are looking for. New addons are being developed all the time and old ones are being reworked, so, from time to time you may want to visit the addons section or the forums to find the latest plugins.

Installing a plugin

To install a plugin, simply extract the dll file you receive from the publisher to the Miranda IM/Plugins directory. Once there, you will need to restart Miranda. After that, go into the options dialog and click on plugins. You should see a list of available plugins for Miranda. Look for the dll you just extracted to the Plugins folder. Check the plugin and restart Miranda. The plugin should be installed after that. If the plugin does not appear in the list or does not appear to work, please make sure you have read all the requirements needed to use it and followed all the instructions of the developer. If you can not figure out the problem, try asking on the help forum.

Removing a plugin

To remove a plugin, simply go into the options dialog, and click on plugins. Look for the dll and uncheck it. Once you do that, restart Miranda and the plugins features should be gone. To remove the plugin completely from the hard drive, you will need to head into the plugins folder and delete it.

Anything else?

Mars Box guide

There's a Miranda install and customize guide available over on marsbox.com

Crashes

If you are using a stable version and a crash occurs, it is recommended you report it to the help forum and receive assistance (especially if it keeps occurring). Please include a crash report if you can, it will greatly assist the developers.

I don't like Miranda

Miranda is an open-source client programmed by individuals in their spare times. If there is something you don't like about Miranda, you can voice your opinion on the feature request forum. Make sure you search for the idea before you add it in case another user has already added it. Please be polite when voicing your opinions.