How to Install the Pidgin and OTR software and then Register and Set Up Your Account to Pidgin

List of sections on this page:

2.0 About Pidgin

Both Pidgin and its associated Off-the-Record (OTR) automated encryption and authentication plugin must be installed properly for either program to work. Fortunately, the installation process for both the programs is easy and quick.

2.1 How to Install Pidgin

Step 1. Double click ; the Open File - Security Warning dialog box may appear. If it does, click to display the following screen:

Figure 1: The Install Language confirmation box

Step 2. Click to display the Welcome to the Pidgin 2.10.9 Setup Wizard screen.

Step 3. Click to display the License Agreement screen; after you have read the License Agreement, click to display the Pidgin 2.10.9 Setup - Choose Components window.

Step 4. Click to display the Pidgin 2.10.9 Setup - Choose Install Location window.

Step 5. Click to accept the default installation path, and display the Pidgin 2.10.9 Setup - Installing window to begin installing the Pidgin software.

A number of folders and files will begin installing themselves in rapid succession; after the installation process has been completed, the Pidgin 2.10.9 Setup - Installation Complete window will appear.

Step 6. Click to display the Completing the Pidgin 2.10.9 Setup Wizard.

Note: During Step 3 of the installation process, Pidgin was configured to be included in the Start > All Programs list, and can be launched from there in the future.

Step 7. Click to complete installing Pidgin.

2.2 How to Install the Off-The-Record (OTR) Plugin

Step 1. Double click ; the Open File - Security Warning dialog box may appear. If it does, click to display the following screen:

Figure 2: The Welcome to the pidgin-otr 4.0.0-1 Setup Wizard

Step 3. Click to display the License Agreement screen; after you have completed reading the License Agreement, click to display the pidgin-otr 4.0.0-1 Setup - Choose Install Location screen.

Step 4. Click to begin the installation process.

Step 5. Click to complete installing the Pidgin-OTR messaging software plugin.

After you have completed installing both Pidgin and OTR. The following icon will appear in the Windows task bar when Pidgin is started from the Start > All Programs list:

Figure 3: The Pidgin-OTR icon outlined in black

Congratulations! You have successfully completed installing both the Pidgin and OTR programs!

2.3 An Overview of Account Registration and Setup Process in Pidgin

There are four basic steps in the Pidgin account registration and setup process; registering an existing IM account to Pidgin, adding a correspondent or buddy, getting your buddy to do the same, and lastly accessing the chat window for your first chat session.

Given that chat or IM sessions take place between two parties, the examples on this page describe how the various forms and windows appear to both buddies/correspondents (represented by two fictional characters, Salima and Terence) at different stages of the account registration and set up process. All examples are based on the Riseup.net IM service.

Note: Before you can start using Pidgin, you must already have an Instant Messaging (IM) account with one of the providers listed in Figure 6 below. If you would like to create an IM account, we recommend using Riseup email account which can be later used for XMPP communication. Please refer to chapter RiseUp - Secure Email Service for information and instructions on how to setup Riseup account. You can also use XMPP account providers listed in section 2.2 How to Add Accounts in Jitsi, like: Jit.si or Google Account.

2.4 How to Register Your Instant Messaging Account to Pidgin

To register your IM account to Pidgin, perform the following steps:

Step 1. Click or select Start > All Programs > Pidgin to launch Pidgin. The first time you use Pidgin, the following screen will appear:

Figure 4: The Accounts confirmation window

Step 2. Click to display a blank Add Account window as follows:

Figure 5: The Add Account screen displaying Basic, Advanced and Proxy tabs

Step 3. Click the Protocol drop-down list to view the IM service protocols supported by Pidgin as follows:

Figure 6: The Add Account window displaying a list of supported IM protocols

Step 4. Select the appropriate IM protocol.

Note: Different IM service providers will display their specific text fields for you to fill in. Some of them are automatically partly filled in. However, all services require that you to enter a username and a password.

Step 5. Type in your email address (for example, terencethetester@riseup.net) in the Username field.

Step 6. Type in your password for this specific account in the Password field.

Step 7. Type a nickname you would like to be identified by in the Local Alias field. (This field is optional.)

Important: To optimise your privacy and security, do not enable the Remember password option. It means that Pidgin will prompt you for your password whenever you log in to chat on-line. Doing this prevents imposters from logging in and pretending to be you, if you happen leave your computer unattended for some time. Also, remember to select the Quit item from the Buddies drop-down menu after finishing your chat session!

A completed Add Account screen would resemble the following:

Figure 7: An example of a completed Add Account form

Step 8. Click to complete adding your account, and simultaneously display an updated Accounts the Buddy List screens as follows:

Figure 8: An updated Accounts window; Figure 9: The Buddy List in Active mode

After completing these steps, you are now ready to register your Pidgin buddies, by entering their contact information.

2.5 How to Add a Buddy in Pidgin

Adding buddies or correspondents in Pidgin involves adding and saving their contact information. In the example that follows, Terence will add Salima as his buddy.

To add a buddy to your IM account in Pidgin, perform the following steps:

Step 1. Click Buddies to display its corresponding menu, and then select the + Add Buddy... item as follows:

Figure 10: The Buddy List menu with the "Add Buddy..." item selected

This will display the following screen:

Figure 11: The Add Buddy window

Step 2. If you have multiple accounts, select the account that corresponds to the same messaging service as your 'buddy'.

Note: Both your buddy and yourself must be using the same messaging service, even if he/she is not using Pidgin. You cannot add an ICQ or MSN buddy to a Google Talk account. However, you can register and use multiple accounts based on these supported protocols in Pidgin. Whereby you may chat with one buddy using your XMPP account and with another using your ICQ or MSN accounts.

Step 3. Type in your buddy's email address in the Username field.

The following step is optional.

Step 4. Type in an Alias or nickname for your buddy in the (Optional) Alias field, so that your Add Buddy form resembles the following screen:

Figure 12: An example of a completed Add Buddy form

Step 5. Click to add your buddy.

Note: This will send a message to your buddy requesting approval or authorisation of your request, and will appear for your correspondent Buddy List as follows:

Figure 13: The Authorize buddy request as it appears on Salima's Buddy List

At this point, your buddy must perform the following step:

Step 6. Click to add this person as your buddy and display her/him in your Buddy List as follows:

Figure 14: Terence's Buddy List displaying Salima as his buddy

Note: In the example above, Salima's Alias or nickname is displayed, adding yet another level of identity protection.

Figure 15: Terence's Buddy List window displaying Salima's as his newly created buddy

After you have added, authorised and confirmed your Pidgin chat buddy, he/she must now do the same with your IM contact information by repeating steps 1 through 6 from their own account.

2.6 How to Open an IM window in Pidgin

To open an IM chat window in Pidgin, perform the following steps:

Step 1. Right click your buddy's name in the Buddy List to display a pop-up menu listing all the tasks you can perform as follows:

Figure 16: The Buddy tasks menu

Step 2. Select the IM item from the pop-up menu to activate a typical chat window as follows:

Figure 17: A typical chat window in Pidgin

Now you are almost ready to chat with your buddy using Pidgin. First, however, you must configure the OTR encryption to ensure that your chat sessions will be private and secure. Seen next page for this.

2.7 How to Re-enable an Account in Pidgin

From time to time, you might find that your IM account has disabled itself in Pidgin; perhaps because Pidgin program was improperly closed due to Internet connection being interrupted, or your computer frozen. Fortunately, Pidgin offers a way to re-enable your account. To do this, perform the following steps:

Step 1. Click or select Start > Pidgin to launch Pidgin.

Step 2. Open the Accounts menu, and then select the Manage Accounts item as follows:

Figure 18: The Accounts menu with the *Manage Accounts item selected (re-sized)

This will open the following screen:

Figure 19: The Accounts window (re-sized) displaying a disabled account

Step 3. Click the check box next to your account to activate the Pidgin password prompt as follows:

Figure 20: The Pidgin password prompt dialog box

Step 4. Type in your password so your own Pidgin password prompt dialog box resembles the following:

Figure 21: The Pidgin password prompt dialog box with the Enter password field completed

Step 5. Click to complete re-enabling your account as follows:

Figure 22: An example of a successfully re-enabled account

Step 6. Click to close the Accounts window.