Yeah, win ME does blow, but there's 2 options that might work to get rid of it. I haven't tried these myself on ME, but it works just fine on XP.
Go into Add/Remove Programs, click on Add/Remove Windows component and uninstall the Windows Messenger.
Right click My Computer and click manage. Expand the Services and Applications tab. Click on Services and stop the Messenger Service.
Its a frigging Laptop, not a Labtop!!!!