Most third-party Messenger clients have gone offline temporarily

YzK3IFf[1]If you have been using BitlBee, Pidgin (or anything using its library, libpurple), Trillian or some other third-party instant messaging client that supports the msn protocol, you may have noticed over the past few hours that either your contact list is no longer accessible or you cannot sign in.

In BitlBee, you’ll see:
<root> msn – Logging in: Authenticated, getting buddy list
<root> msn – Login error: Connection timeout

In Pidgin, you’ll see it attempt to log in but get stuck at “Available – Connecting…”.  In Trillian, your contact list will just not appear.

The problem seems to stem from a change on Microsoft’s end about which application IDs are allowed to retrieve contact lists.  The ID used in the above clients is the applicationId (CFE80F9D-180F-4399-82AB-413F33A1FA11) from Windows Live Messenger 2008 (8.5).  When the client attempts to get the contact list, the server will reply with: Invalid Application Header Application ID is either not defined in database or blocked from access.

The Fix
The 2012 application ID key still works as do clients revived using Messenger Reviver.  If you’re wanting to re-compile any of these applications with source code, just edit the code to change the above ID to the 2012 one, 484AAC02-7F59-41B7-9601-772045DCC569.  Additionally, if you’re familiar with running python, you can use this python script to automatically patch your client (thanks dx for creating this).

For Pidgin users, you might consider using the msn-pecan protocol plugin, then setting up a new account as the WLM protocol in Pidgin.  This has several benefits, including avoiding the issue mentioned below.

UPDATE: Both BitlBee and Pidgin have both updated their source code trees, and Trillian has a new beta release.

Not showing online to your contacts
On some accounts, you will no longer show online to your contacts after changing the application ID.  This issue is being investigated, but does not affect the Microsoft Messenger clients revived using Messenger Reviver.  On Pidgin you can also use the msn-pecan protocol plugin to bypass the problem.

Meanwhile, despite “the end” of Messenger supposedly 12 days ago, the Messenger Service continues to hum along.

 

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Posted on November 12, 2014, in Messenger, News. Bookmark the permalink. 83 Comments.

  1. Brilliant thank you! I’ve just managed to patch my copy of Adium with this Python script. If anyone else is trying to do the same the libpurple file is in Frameworks/libpurple.framework with the Adium.app

    • Hi Paul, Can you be a bit more specific about using the patch on Adium?

      • 1. copy paste the python snippet to a file
        2. change `#!/usr/bin/env python` to `#!/usr/bin/python` (at least that is where my python is)
        3. `chmod +x `

        On Mac,
        `mv /Applications/Adium.app/Contents/Frameworks/libpurple.framework/Versions/Current/libpurple /Applications/Adium.app/Contents/Frameworks/libpurple.framework/Versions/Current/libpurple.old`
        `./patch.py /Applications/Adium.app/Contents/Frameworks/libpurple.framework/Versions/Current/libpurple.old`
        `mv libpurple.old.out /Applications/Adium.app/Contents/Frameworks/libpurple.framework/Versions/Current/libpurple`

        restart your Adium.

        • Cheers David thanks!

        • Having run into this problem (I love Adium!) and not being an expert in unix, I just wanted to clarify the Mac fix for this problem,

          1) Take the raw text of the fix and save in is a text file called patch.py
          2) Where should the patch.py file be located?
          3) Open Terminal
          4) Do I need to change my working directory to Applications, and if so, how?
          5) Enter “mv /Applications/Adium.app/Contents/Frameworks/libpurple.framework/Versions/Current/libpurple /Applications/Adium.app/Contents/Frameworks/libpurple.framework/Versions/Current/libpurple.old”
          6) Enter “./patch.py /Applications/Adium.app/Contents/Frameworks/libpurple.framework/Versions/Current/libpurple.old”
          7) Enter “mv libpurple.old.out /Applications/Adium.app/Contents/Frameworks/libpurple.framework/Versions/Current/libpurple”
          (all without the quotation marks!)
          8) Exit Terminal and restart Adium.

          Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the heads up. I wondered why I couldn’t connect today and was worried MSN shut down for good.

  3. For someone like me that is computer illiterate, I just don’t understand the work around above.

    • Greetings Dave. If you tell us which client and platform you’re using, myself or someone else can probably fix up a file you can just copy over.
      Probably something I should’ve done in the first place 🙂

      • Thanks Jonathan. Bare with me as I truly am a layman when it comes to computers and code. I may have a ton of questions. Even your question about “client and platform” I don’t quite understand fully. But hopefully this is what you are talking about. I use Pidgin as the program for IM and log in through my MSN(hotmail) account. I’m on a PC(not Mac). Sorry, I hope this is what you were referring to.

        • Yep that’s what I was asking! I’ve updated the post above (see under Pidgin patch) with a tool and some basic instructions which should do the fix for you.

          • Jonathan, you are truly THE MAN. Thanks for your help with this and hopefully others with this problem find your page.

          • Sorry, I’m lost at ‘setting up a new account as the WLM protocol in Pidgin.’ I am an educated woman, but ???? I seriously do not remember my password, and I don’t want to lose all my contacts. I installed the patch and don’t know where to go from here. I’m running Vista.

  4. Any fix for pidgin yet? I’ve updated and still does the same thing.

  5. I have manually updated the libmsn.dll for windows, using the python script as a guide (it does not work on windows) in my VS2013 binary editor. You will need to put this in C:\Program Files\Pidgin\plugins folder, replacing the one that is there. I would probably make a copy of the original first. Also, normally I would not recommend just downloading a dll off the internet, that’s like taking candy from a stranger. Others can vet that all I changed is the ApplicationID in the couple of places.

    Anyway, use at your own risk. No warranty implied or otherwise. 😉

    https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BzxnwprqhYeXV2dwNkI0ZDBydzA&usp=sharing

  6. Im in the same position, running Xp (upgrading to 7 shortly) and cant log into msn using pidgin. Dont understand sourse code trees or python. Downloaded pidgin client again and still the same.

  7. Thank you for the fix!

  8. Thanks for the Pigeon fix!!

  9. A a caritative soul to help the illiterate in Python commands and Terminal process, I need some noobie instructions to patch the file.
    Thanks

  10. This work for Adium in mac in terminal: python patch.py /Applications/Adium.app/Contents/Frameworks/libpurple.framework/Versions/2.10.7rd8d96a636413/libpurple

    Then do that:

    1) copy lib purple.out to the previous folder
    2) mv libpurple libpurple.old
    3) mv libpurple.out libpurple

    Note: The folder inside “Versions” may differ between versions.

    • hm, doesnt worked for me. Got the libpurple.out and copied as mentioned, restartet adium but still cant geht looged in to msn

  11. Guys, is there a fix for Windows Live Messenger 8.5 itself?
    I’m not smart enough for that Python thing and I don’t want the WLM9 version via reviver either.

  12. Thank you, thank you. Ran the python script on /usr/lib/pidgin-2/plugins/libmsn.so on my Solaris box, fixed it there. Copied the DLL C:\Program Files\Pidgin\plugins\libmsn.dll from my WIndows box to Unix, ran the script on it, and copied it back, and it’s fixed it there. Only hiccups were fixing the first line to point to the right python, making sure the transfer was in binary, not text (doh!), and having to copy the file via the desktop to get round the Windows permissions (I’m using WinSCP). Don’t forget to take a copy of the original file.

  13. So I’ve been using Windows Live Messenger (14.0.8117.0416) for a while now without downloading any of these scripts or workarounds. I just changed my msnmsgr.exe to compatibility mode for Windows 2000 and it’s been working like that for a long time. I’m on Windows 7.
    But as of maybe yesterday, I get an error message saying that I can’t sign in to WLM and that my contact list is not available.

    Anyone know what the issue might be?

  14. Thanks for the info Jonathan. 🙂 Anyone know the fix for Miranda IM? I’ve tried updating the ID to the new one, but it still didn’t log in. I had to use a Hex editor though, using notepad or wordpad just made the plugin not work at all. Two other settings I noticed were the BinaryVersion=5 and the UIVersion=1. I played around with those a bit, but I had no luck there either.

    Maybe the connection settings need changed too? They are:
    Direct: messenger.hotmail.com
    Gateway: gateway.messenger.hotmail.com

    Here’s Miranda’s original ID: 7108E71A-9926-4FCB-BCC9-9A9D3F32E423

    I see it is also looking at: messenger.msn.com, contacts.msn.com and storage.msn.com perhaps those need updated now too?

    This line also caught my eye: PROD0120PW!CCV9@ 14.0.8117.0416 VER MSNFTP

    • hola – just wanted to say, replacing the AAD9… ID with the 484… one in a hex editor on the msn.dll did work for my Miranda-IM install. 🙂

      • Oh, weird. Is that on Miranda IM v0.10.24.0 or maybe the alternative NG version?

        • Doh! I got it now, thanks Chris. 🙂 I thought Miranda had an older ID or something, but this time I searched for the AAD9 and found it too. I replaced it and can log in again. Not sure what that other ID is for, but oh well, lol.

  15. I’m sorry, but I can’t seem to find the updated Pigdin :/ I always seems to find the october version… Where did you find the most recent one, please?

    • It’s only updated in the development versions, which you have to compile yourself. For now, I’d suggest you just use ToddK’s version of the libmsn.dll file and replace it (assuming you’re using Windows). When I have time, I’ll re-work on my tool here but I was hoping a new Windows installer would be available soon.

  16. Hi there! 🙂 Thanks for this solution. I’ve modified my Pidgin libmsn.dll file using XVI32 Hex Editor (I’ve replaced 14 occurrences of the ID key) and now Pidgin can log-in with my MSN accounts and I can see all my contacts. I’ve found a problem, however. I can send messages to people connected with different versions of (revived) Windows Live Messenger or with Outlook.com (web browser), but they see me as “off-line” and I can’t receive their messages. I’ve tried to see if this was a problem of the revived versions of WLM, so I closed Pidgin and interconnected two different WLM clients with the same accounts I was using with Pidgin, and they worked just fine to send and receive messages, so the problem seems to be on the Pidgin end. Any help on this? Thanks in advance. 🙂 Regards, César

    • Greetings César. Yes I know what you’re talking about – this problem seems to only affect the third-party clients and only accounts, although there’s been some discussion and investigation on this over in the Pidgin development channel these past few days, there’s no solution yet. Workarounds so far are to use another account or use the revived Messenger client. Hopefully something can be done about it in the future.

      • Thank you, Jonathan. 🙂 Let’s hope someone can figure out what the problem is so we can have a fix soon. Regards, César

  17. Will any third-party clients ever come back online? They’re not working for 2 days already. And if not, is there a way to fix the Mercury Messenger application for Android?

  18. I use mercury messanger on my phone. How do i get on that as saying that error message.

    • I’m afraid Mercury has been abandoned and the code is obfuscated so we can’t easily modify it. However, Trillian seems to still be working, so I’d recommend using that for now.

      • Thanks for the reply. But is there a chance Microsoft fixes those IDs so third-party clients work again?

        • Unfortunately, I think that’s pretty unlikely. Even prior to the Messenger “retirement”, Microsoft had said that third-party access to the MSN Protocol was not supported. In other words, for third-party clients, they can do whatever they want, whenever they want.

          If it were a mistake, they might revert it. But, given one day the 8.5 key was revoked, and then the 2009 key the next day after, that’s two separate changes, so I don’t think it was just a simple error.

          If enough people made enough noise and/or they lost another batch of Skype customers, that might give them thought to revert the changes. So far the tech press has ignored the problem completely.

  19. Running pidgin in OS X installed with macport. I used vi to replace old id with new id inside /opt/local/lib/purple-2/libmsn.so Everything works well again.

  1. Pingback: Use Messenger Reviver 2 to bring back Messenger and beat Skype | Jonathan Kay, MessengerGeek

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