Web Culture Windows

Deskbot – Your Own Free Talking Desktop Buddy

Ryan Dube 19-10-2009

Deskbot - Your Own Free Talking Desktop Buddy merlinFirst of all, I must admit that I like odd software. I like applications that push the edge of available technologies and do things that you’d never even consider doing with your computer. It’s with this in mind that I went out in search of a free talking desktop buddy to add to my new Sony Vaio list of installed apps.


My requirements were pretty simple. I wanted a little character in the lower right corner of the screen that talks to me and interacts with me when I want it to, and otherwise keeps its trap shut when I don’t. I wanted a little dude that’s helpful and functional, but wouldn’t get in the way when I wanted to click on the screen.

With all of these requirements listed, I struck out in search of a cool application that could accomplish all of these things. Needless to say, I was terribly disappointed for many hours. As my search grew old, I almost gave up. Other than countless websites with viruses or malware doubled as an alleged virtual desktop characters – there was no legitimate application to be found. That is until I landed on the very last link that I found – and then like that I discovered the perfect app, simply called DeskBot. Let me introduce you to my brand new free talking desktop buddy.

DeskBot, The Free Talking Desktop Buddy – It’s For Real

First of all, kudos to Gordon Bell at BellCraft Technologies for developing this cool little app and offering it for free. After installing the base application from the download page and running it, you’ll immediately discover a little blue Genie in the lower right corner of your screen, and you’re presented with the settings window.

free talking desktop buddy

The two features you can set up on this first screen are the ability for your character to read any text that you highlight and copy in a digitized voice, and in various intervals (which you can set), your little desktop buddy will tell you the current time. The next few tabs let you configure everything about the character.


free talking desktop buddy

The software comes default with the Genie or Merlin, and you can set the voice, the animations, whether a balloon appears when your character talks, and a whole bunch of other customizations. Now, as an aid for those learning to read or elderly who can’t read the small text on the screen, the next “Read” tab is fantastic.

free talking desktop buddy

Your desktop buddy is prepared, at any time, to read entire texts out loud for you. Just copy and paste the text into this screen and click on the green “Read” button – and your character comes to life and starts reading to you, complete with a pop-up balloon (if you’ve configured one). Now, the next tab is my favorite part of this little app.


interactive desktop buddies

This is where you can configure a variety of greetings that your little buddy will greet you with when your computer first starts up. I have to say, hearing the Microsoft digitized voice saying, “Let’s rock and roll” had me on the floor in stitches laughing. Honestly, the standard voices and characters just don’t cut it for me – they’re way too 1990’s for my taste. Thankfully, the DeskBot download page offers downloads for additional Microsoft Agent characters and voices (including French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish).

To be honest, the default characters remind me too much of those annoying little animated guys in Word and Excel that keep getting in your way. So, searching through the characters, I found the guy I wanted – a bouncer guy wearing the most hilarious bright green suit.

interactive desktop buddies


This guy is a riot. When he’s bored he puts on sunglasses, drinks from a soda can and then chucks it off screen (complete with the sound effects of the clinking can).

Your new friend will greet you every time you start up your computer. You can open up entire text files and have your talking desktop buddy dictate the text while you finish other tasks. Your character will let you know the time as often as you like, and even while you’re working and don’t need the help, your little friend will wait patiently, snoozing or sleeping, until you need something.


Have you ever made use of any other applications with Microsoft Agent technology? Can you think of any other cool uses for DeskBot? Share your opinions in the comments section below.


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  1. Dave Guest
    May 30, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    It didn't download on my Mac. All that happened is the screen went black before the computer restarted itself. it sounds like a great idea though, if you can fix the little glitches.

  2. Aiden Lewis
    February 12, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    So my Genie has a purple background.
    Is there a way to fix this? or is it like this normally?

    • Andrea Borman.
      July 23, 2019 at 8:32 pm

      Hi Aiden, A lot of people have this problem on both Windows 7 and 8 and also on Windows Vista when you use the Aero theme. You need to enable compatibility mode settings for deskbot. Set it to run in compatibility mode for Windows 98/ ME and the background is transparent as on Windows XP.
      Andrea Borman.

  3. marvin stone
    January 25, 2018 at 3:11 am

    goto services and disable ms agent. ms agent comes with windows and deskbot enables the software. even tho deskbot is uninstalled, ms agent is still active and thus starts apon boot. again disable ms agent in services

    marvin stone
    January 25, 2018 at 3:08 am
    fyi, ms agent uses the same avitars as deskbot. both do the same however deskbot adds more features to ms agent. deskbot is nothing more then a custom ms agent program.

  4. Isabel
    January 18, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    i got deskbot and three additional characters and already i love it! my own personal desktop buddy!

    August 15, 2016 at 3:18 am


  6. Kim
    March 8, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    We can't find a way to uninstall Deskbot


  7. Anonymous
    June 20, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Just installed this program . All it need is a say to check your email and let you no , post events and tell you When they happen , and fix it can keep my friend on the computer in the computer after it starts up as it still hid's out .

  8. Sebastian
    October 21, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I installed this software in 1999.

    C'mon!! Old software detected

  9. Docquesting
    October 20, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Was able to remove the genie in the location mentioned. Now it refuses to allow me to right click and remove. Even tried booting into the admin account via safemode. The only good news is that it does not pop up anymore. However there is still something there that will not allow me to remove the merlin in the msagent folder.

  10. bigbillkahuna
    October 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Haven't checked out all the possibilities yet.....it would be really cool to tie it in to system resources so the bot could announce status. Or possible virus attacks.....or.........

  11. Ryan Dube
    October 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I may do another update to help out those of you who seem to be having problems disabling or removing the software. A few questions though - are you having difficulty making the software not automatically start? That was just a setting that you can uncheck under General-Startup, uncheck start Deskbot with Windows.

    As far as completely uninstalling the software, there were a few install scripts you could run at the link provided such as Deskbot, the TTS engine and character files - a full uninstall depends on what you installed. Do you have any files left in:

    C:\windows\msagent\chars OR C:\WINNT\msagent\chars (depending on operating system)

    What did you run as part of your particular install?

    • Docquesting
      October 20, 2009 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks for replying dude it is greatly appreciated. Yes I do - Vista C:\Windows\MsAgent. Should I delete the MSAgents folder completely? I installed everything after as usual always via the "custom" route. What should I do next? You may want to reread carefully to get a better understanding of what I have tried already.

      As a suggestion if you want to contact me about a helpful article about doing research before installing anything I would be glad to provide my experience. As in that some sites use illegal logos from legit companies for references and fake reviews.

      • Ryan Dube
        October 20, 2009 at 5:04 pm

        Yes, if I understand correctly the genie was still popping up so you tried to uninstall through add/remove programs first. My question was whether you tried just de-selecting the autostart feature from within the software first. That did stop the genie from popping up for me.

        As I understand it, some operating systems came with MS Agent as an extension, and you don't uninstall it. Uninstalling Deskbot (and the TTS engine if you have to) should have done the trip.

        What happens if you re-install Deskbot and then deselect the autostart feature as I described above? Once the Genie stops popping up, then go ahead and uninstall it again. Let me know how you pull through!

  12. Docquesting
    October 20, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Ive tried everything. Reinstalling and trying again to uninstall with revo. Then doing the same in safe mode. After that even going through the registry and removing the genie.acs and also removing the tts engine. Seems the MS agent cannot be found thus no uninstall option. W

    hat next call a lawyer? If MakeUseof.com sucks and or does not want too you will email me at this address to resolve this situation for a impossibly bad situation.

  13. ytramacanyek
    October 20, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    yea i get it waz u know jus u know and that its

  14. travel wallet
    October 20, 2009 at 4:25 am

    Finaly a program that fits my empty purse.

  15. Docquesting
    October 20, 2009 at 3:39 am

    Another update. How to uninstall? After doing so through add/remove same OS as above the software still runs. After shutting down completely and rebooting the genie pops up. Rechecking the add/remove shows it is not there as the listed deskbot previously. It would be appreciated if your able to provide a "easy way to completely remove this" after recommending it.

    • marvin stone
      January 25, 2018 at 3:03 am

      goto services and disable ms agent. ms agent comes with windows and deskbot enables the software. even tho deskbot is uninstalled, ms agent is still active and thus starts apon boot. again disable ms agent in services

    • marvin stone
      January 25, 2018 at 3:08 am

      fyi, ms agent uses the same avitars as deskbot. both do the same however deskbot adds more features to ms agent. deskbot is nothing more then a custom ms agent program.

  16. John in Austria
    October 20, 2009 at 1:07 am

    So cute and so easy to install. Lots of additional characters too.

  17. Viet
    October 20, 2009 at 12:24 am

    combining with nuance dragon speech recognition, this is kinda cool. I think I find a way to impress people now. haha.

  18. Docquesting
    October 19, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    It works on Vista Home Premium 64 bit. Having it read your article now via selecting text right clicking and copy then the genie reading from the clipboard.