Step One: Download mIRC
Before you start the download, you should make sure mIRC will run on your system. To run version 6.0 or higher you will need a 32-bit Windows operating system, more specifically Windows 95 or higher (98, 2000, NT, ME, XP, etc.), and a connection to the Internet. If you have Windows 3.11 or earlier you will need to download a 16-bit version of an earlier version of mIRC.
To download, locate the list of download sites at the bottom of this page and pick a location close to your own. Click on the link, wait for the download to finish, then proceed to the next step.
Step Two: Install
mIRC now has an easy install program to make installation much simpler. Run the .exe program located in the directory you selected when you started the download.
Step Three: Configure the program
After installing, open the program by double-clicking on the icon or selecting it from the Start menu. After you have opened mIRC for the first time, a connect window should open, if not it’s located under File->Connect. You may also see the About splash screen which you can close. From the Connect window, you can select which IRC network you want to connect to, the three major networks are DALnet, Undernet, and EFnet. You are also required to fill out the Full Name, E-Mail, and Nickname (a short name that others will see you as, similar to the username your email address) fields.
You don’t *have* to use your real Full Name and E-Mail, and most people don’t. The invisible mode option at the bottom shields you from being seen in server-wide searches on the IRC network. Basically, a person won’t know you’re there unless they know your nickname, or you join a channel they are on. Most people enable this, and it can also be enabled when you are connected to the server by typing “/mode nickname +i” without the quotes and replacing the nickname with the one you chose. The other categories under the Connect tree list (left side of the mIRC Options window) can be changed if you wish, but it isn’t necessary. They can always be changed at a later time.
If you’re behind a firewall, common at some workplaces, then you will need to fill out that information. Contact your system administrator for help with the username, password, etc. Also, if you attempt to connect to a server and it tells you that you need to enable ident or identd, don’t worry this is easy to fix. Select the Identd category in that same window and check the box to enable it and put in a User ID such as your nick. You shouldn’t need to change the other fields below.
Finally, click on OK. You’re now ready to start chatting on IRC.
Step Four: Connect to a server
To sign on, select Connect under File on the menu bar, or click on the farthest left icon. mIRC will now connect to the server. If nothing happens, select another server in the Connect options.
You are usually connected after the server sends you the MOTD (Message Of The Day) and the “End of /MOTD command” is displayed. mIRC may popup the channel folders box, you can close this. If this is your first time, and you keep staring the blinking cursor wondering why people are not talking to you, then you need to read the mIRC Help file to understand some of the basics.
Okay, here are a few commands to get you started…
/join [channel name] the join command enters the channels or rooms that you want to be in. A couple of good channels for beginners are #newbies and #mirc. Some of the larger IRC networks have 10,000 or more channels and 30,000 users.
The /help command will open the help file. I suggest typing “/help channels list” for more information on channels.
/nick [nick name] this will change your nickname to whatever you choose.
/whois [nick name] the whois command will give you some information on another user.
Hint: Under the Commands Menu (at the top of the screen), most of the basic IRC commands are there, and can be useful if you are a beginner.
Now would be a good time to remind that you should you never give your personal information, especially credit card information and passwords to strangers on the Internet. You should also be wary of accepting files from people you don’t know and also visiting a website a stranger suggests to you. This may sound scary, but if you use common sense, Internet Relay Chat can be very entertaining.
If you’re having trouble with something, don’t worry there are plenty of places you can find help. The first place to look is the mIRC Help file included with mIRC. Many questions are already answered in the FAQ which can be downloaded. If you made it on IRC, join the #mirc or #newbies channel. Most of the operators in these channels are there to help you. An operator or op for short has an @ in front of their nicknames. There are also newsgroups, such as alt.irc.mirc where many questions are answered. You can also post your question to my Web Board.