Earlier this month, Microsoft began rolling out a private beta to about 5,000 testers for an exclusive preview of the upcoming Windows Live Messenger 9, which is scheduled for public release at the end of 2008. Inevitably, the download has been leaked and is now available for download.

This major upgrade over the current Windows Live Messenger 8.5 will enable users to be online in more than one place, meaning you can be connected to Messenger on a mobile device as well as on your desktop PC. Other features include animated display pictures, clickable URLs in personal status messages and a new anti-spam feature called "SPIM."

Microsoft did warned, however, that the private beta is intended for a very small audience only and if the build gets out too widely and starts causing problems on the service it would have to be shut down. So don't be surprised if it stops working after a while.