Yahoo! Messenger archive search

For quite a while now I’ve been frustrated by the fact the Yahoo! Messenger does not give you the option to search through the archive. I’ve found myself wishing for that search function more and more often lately. Having to browse through each conversation, to find what I needed, was inhuman – especially since I didn’t remember when the conversation took place!

So I decided to build a small application, that reads the Yahoo! Messenger Archive and implements basic keyword search. The first version of the software is already complete and can be downloaded here. The current version is completely functional, though many improvements are still in store.

So far I’ve only been interested in functionality, so the interface is kind of awkward, but will be one of the last things I will take care of. There are still some issues with the multithreaded code that have to be sorted out, but I’ve found this utility helpful a few times already.

Check it out and let me know if you find any bugs or have any suggestions!

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  1. it’s not working on my computer, i’ve moved the program in the profiles folder, i see the archive, but when i search there are no results and the stop button doesn’t work

    anyway, great idea, useful program, hope you can help me

  2. Are you using Yahoo! Messenger 9 by any chance?
    You don’t have to place the program in the profiles folder, it should work from any location.
    I will be looking into this.

    Later edit: turns out that it was actually Yahoo! Messenger that screwed up on install.

  3. Thanks a lot, I too have been frustrated by the lack of search and export facilities in Yahoo Messenger. Your simple app improves the usefulness of Yahoo Messenger archives by several orders of magnitude. I think you should complete it and get rich 😉

    PS. Want to share the source? :p Seriously, I’ll finish the save functionality and return it to you 🙂

  4. I was considering giving out the source code. I might do it a little bit later, after I tidy up a bit the code. Glad you found it useful.

  5. OMG, I’ve been waiting for this feature since forever. Thank you!

  6. You’re welcome 🙂

  7. thank you so much for this app. i used an early version of yammy years ago which had a search feature, but apparently current versions do not. it’s crazy that yahoo doesn’t include search functionality themselves – i mean, come on – they’re YAHOO for crying out loud, search is their business! just used this app for the first time a short while ago. it’s a pleasure to be able to search my archives again.

  8. That’s why programs like pidgin ( exist. Because sometimes, open source it’s better. All the conversations are logged in HTML format, so you can search with any program you want.

  9. Thanks so much! This is the one thing I’ve been needing so badly for months! And it works great.

  10. it doesn’t seem to work with 9.0 …. or am I missing something?

  11. Hi Hal,
    I just tested it with 9.0 and works ok for me.
    You might want to try manually setting the path to the archive under Options->Configuration. A typical path is C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\Profiles\ but it might be different under Vista
    *Though I did notice a bug, the time stamp is messed up, I will have to look into that*

  12. Thanks so much for this! I was expecting an installation process when I double-clicked the exe, but the app just popped up — pleasant surprise :-). I hit the search button and found what I was looking for within seconds.

    Silly that Yahoo doesn’t include such basic functionality. Keep up the good work!

  13. Foarte bun programul! Mersi mult de tot! Am avut nevoie sa caut in arhiva si as fi innebunit pana gaseam.

  14. Hey, glad to see someone has thought of this program and ofc there are lots of programs like this out there, but I have yet to see one that offers such simplicity and the capability of searching through you’re hole archive with just one click.

    Also I may require some help. I’ve had a previous installed YM, but after reinstalling my windows I still used that version of the program, without it being in the systems registers. When I’ve tried to run the program for the first time it didn’t work, giving me a simple error regarding the fact that my YM is not in the system’s registers. Ok, so I decided to do a fresh install. After all this, the program initialized and all seemed to be running smooth, but the problem is that the searches aren’t returning any input.

    Please advise!

  15. Hi Blodskaal,
    please make sure you are using the latest version. If you still have problems please contact me via email.

  16. I don’t seem to be able to access the yahoo conferences with the Yahoo Messenger Archive Search. I can access the archives of messages. Please help!!

  17. It doesn’t yet support conferences, but I’ll try to add Conference support as soon as possible.

  18. it says he cannot find the yahoo messenger regkey. can you help me? i really need this program. thanks

  19. You can still use the program by going to the Options menu, choose Configuration. Under Archive path, enter the full path to your Yahoo Messenger Archive (the default path is C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\Profiles\ )
    After this click on OK and the program should work

  20. +1 for conference support. This program is simplistic and great. Thanks so much. Haven’t been able to find the make a paypal donation link yet…

  21. Salut Radu, programul merge foarte bine chiar si cu ultima versiune de messenger. Este extraordinar de util, mai ales cand ai o arhiva mare…
    Ma mir ca cei de la yahoo nu s-au gandit sa implementeze o optiune de cautare in vizualizatorul lor de arhive…

    Bafta si toate cele bune 😉

  22. Conference support is on the way, but it might take a while to get it up and running.

  23. Thank you so much, this program is awesome! Only thing that would make it perfect is if I could search in Chinese 🙂

  24. Awesome, i was searching for a cc for almost a week going through the conversations almost starting from last year, you this tool i found it in less than a minute. Hats off to the creator.

  25. Hi!

    Just to let you know, version 05b doesn’t work on Win2003 Server Standard Edition SP2. It work perfectly on XP. Thanks for your work!

  26. Hi,
    unfortunately I have no access to a PC with Windows 2003 Server right now, but I will keep an eye out for one and try to test.
    Thank you for updating me on this!

  27. Hi,

    great app out there 😀

    I just wanna report a little bug .. if there are more than one appearance of the word in that chat only the first one comes out in the results panel 🙂

    hope that helps ..

    Good Work.

  28. Very useful in a pinch..many thanks for posting this!

  29. Great idea! This is the functionality that YM has been lacking (and I’ve been looking) for ages.
    Tried to run exe and got “Could not find yahoo messenger regkey (system can not not find the file specified)” . Then the program crashed with “Runtime error! abnormal program termination” message.
    I’m on XP SP3.
    Looking forward to get this thingie working on my PC.

  30. Can you tell me which version you’re using? Is it 0.4.x or 0.5?

  31. I’ve tried both 0.4 and 0.5 with the same outcome. I’m on YM ver 10


  32. Thank you for the info. I’m away until Friday, but will take a look at this issue during the weekend and will get back with a fix as soon as possible.

  33. I’ve fixed the issue, please re-download the application (version 0.5 beta) and try again. If it can’t find the Yahoo registry key to extract the path, it will ask you to enter the path manually. Just point it to the Messenger\Profiles directory in your Yahoo folder.
    The typical path is c:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\Profiles\

  34. thanks a lot. Works just fine!

  35. Glad to hear!

  36. Great program. Thanks.

    Is there any way to get your app to not display the font tags within the messages? It’s harder to read when it looks like this:

    yimusername: :x

  37. Sure, I’ll work on the filtering for the next version.

  38. A new version is up, hopefully this fixes the display of weird Yahoo Messenger control chars.

  39. Cool. The example I attempted to paste didn’t actually display here correctly, probably because of the html tags. But I’m sure you know what I meant.

    This is a very handy app. Thanks again.

  40. Like somebody else mentioned, I get the “regkey” error message on launch. I can still use the app, but I have to manually set the path to my Profiles directory every time i use it.

    Is there any way to get it to save the path, so I don’t have to browse to it every time?

  41. Hi Grey,
    the path should be automatically saved when you exit the application and should be read the next time it is started. Unfortunately I don’t have access to the source code right now and won’t be able to look into this ’till the end of the week.

  42. Great program… but I can’t get it to work. Any time I click a name to check and then try to open a conversation or search for something… the program crashes to Not Responding or it says that it’s has to close and I shoudl file a report of Microsoft.

    What is the deal?

  43. Does this happen for all conversations? I have not encountered this issue before. Does it correctly detect your username?

  44. i also _Always_ have the _Same_ problem as Namrepus221.. windows 7 clean/fresh install..

  45. Hi Darien,
    at this point I can’t tell why it is crashing as I don’t have sufficient data.
    Please download the latest version ( and start it with the -debug parameter like this:
    YMArchiveViewer.exe -debug
    Then proceed as you normally would. This will create a file called debug.txt where it logs the steps of reading the archive.
    After the crash, please open the debug.txt file in the folder where the application is stored and let me know the last line in the file. This will help me identify at least the point where the error appears and hopefully I can fix it.
    Thank you!

  46. I just installed the latest version on XP Pro and still have the same problem. Each time I launch it, it get an error that says “Could not find yahoo messenger regkey”, and I have to manually set the path to my Profiles folder every time.

    You said the path the path should automatically be saved. Where would it be saved? Is it in Windows Registry?

  47. Yeap,
    the path should be saved in the Registry at the following path.


    I don’t have access to the source code from where I am now, but I will take a look when I get back home, to make sure there’s no bug in saving the settings.

  48. Hi Grey,

    can you please try downloading this file:
    I tried to fix the error with the path not being saved/retrieved. Kindly let me know if the fix works, and, if affirmative, I will make it a full release.

    Thank you!

  49. Yes, the problem with the path not being saved/retrieved seems to be fixed in that version. It works perfectly for me. Thank you!

  50. Thanks for the feedback, Grey! I’ve made the change a new release

  51. hi radu,

    i was about to write this application but then found yours. good idea. i’ve been frustrated with this for a long time. i’ve downloaded it. is there any way i can report bugs, contribute to the code?


  52. Hello Pranav,

    sure, please contact me at radulucaciu[at]gmail[dot]com for any bugs you find! I hope this app helps you!

  53. SUPER UTIL…Radu..mersi mult !!!!

  54. I had used your program previously on my old computer and had lost it when I bought a new one and the old one crashed. It took me forever to find your website again. I didn’t know how much I had missed this little program until it was gone. Great service you done for making it and having it free for everyone.

  55. Just wanted to thank you for a much-needed app. I’ve always dreaded finding something in my YM conversations, and now I can finally search!!


  56. Glad to hear it helped you!

  57. hi there. this program it doesn’t work on my laptop. i got lastest version of Y!M-11 and windows 7. i can’t find anything and the STOP button it doesn’t work as well. hopefully this problem can be fixed ’cause i really need to find something very important on my archieve.

    • Hi Gabi,

      unfortunately I have stopped the development of YMSearch a long time ago.
      However, it might be just a matter of the program being unable to automatically determine the location of Yahoo Messenger’s Archive path. You will have to find the archive location on your hard disk. It is usually saved at the following location:
      c:\Users\\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\Yahoo!\Messenger\Profiles\\Archive\

      Also, please note that I have never tested the app with Y!M v11 and I can’t do it either since I am no longer using Windows.

      I hope you manage to get it working using the fix above.

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