Microsoft has released a long-anticipated upgrade to MSN 8, which boasts improved spam-filtering features and enhanced parental controls.
MSN 8 now can also protect innocent eyes from offensive material by preventing images from being loaded unless the sender is on the user's contact list. Users can view these images at their discretion.
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These messages are blocked until incoming e-mail are scanned for viruses.
MSN 8 also includes a storage meter that indicates the size of each message and how much space is left in the account, making it easier for users to manage their inboxes.
Parental controls are now easier to set up and customise. Parents can approve people their children add to their contact list.
MSN ended 2002 with 8.73 million subscribers in the US, compared with America Online with 26.42 million subscribers, according to IDC's statistics from the fourth quarter of 2002.
Rebecca Reid writes for IDG News Service