Category Archives: Messenger

First look at Microsoft’s new “Messenger” client

UPDATE – Oct 12, 2015: A newer version (1.10.7000.0) is now included in Windows Insider Build 10565 which you can try out yourself by joining the Windows Insider program and being in the Fast ring.  Among possible other fixes, it includes a full emoticon set and the Ctrl key doesn’t seem to be sticking.

A version of Windows 10 leaked out late last week and contained within it was the long-awaited Windows Messaging Universal app.

Supposedly written from scratch, it’s the successor to the Messaging app contained in Windows 8.0 and the Skype WinRT app previously available (since withdrawn).  The executable is still named SkypeApp.exe however.

For these keeping track, this app is labelled as version Windows Messaging 1.9.26001.0:
Windows Messaging 1.9.26001 version windowThe user interface is barren when you begin.  Messaging window blankBut soon fills up when you start conversations:Messaging with conversationsWhen sending messages, Messaging claims they’re being delivered on Skype, which is technically not accurate as I was signed in with a non-linked Skype account and speaking only to .NET Messenger contacts.  I suspect Microsoft is trying its best to blur the difference.

Messaging runs in the background separate from the user interface itself and appears as a second location in Messenger while you’re logged into Windows.  After starting it for the first time, it took a while to start working initially and during usage, regularly disconnected.  There was no indicator in the actual Messaging app when these disconnections occurred and although messages appeared in the window as being sent, they weren’t delivered until later.  UPDATE: I observed later in the Event Log that the background SkypeHost.exe process was constantly crashing.  This is most likely the cause of the disconnections observed in the client.

Emoticons are extremely limited in this version, as well as being static and non-animated.  Space bar and backspace buttons are added presumably for use on touchscreens.  You can bring up Windows’ touch keyboard and use its standard emoji though. You certainly won’t be finding any custom emoticons here.
Messaging emoticonsThe paperclip in the conversation window does not function yet, but I assume will be used for sending files when activated.

There’s an integrated search function but it seems quite limited in its results as shown as individual lines of text.  Typing your search term too quickly seems to not put the search through, although adding a space to the end seems to help:

I also encountered multiple instances where it seems the Ctrl key on the keyboard got “stuck”.  Here’s an example where I’m trying to type Jon and as Ctrl-N starts a new conversation, when I get to the letter n, it starts a new window:

This problem was reproducible on multiple machines, so I don’t believe this to be a hardware problem. At least I was able to successfully put in my name by copy/pasting it to the box.

Toast notifications for Messaging have a textbox to reply back to sending contact and although you can type in them, I’ve found they work inconsistently.
Toast

A significant problem with the notifications is that once they’re gone, there’s no little indication that you received a message. The Messaging taskbar icon does not blink and the only way you’ll know you received a message is by opening up the Action Center or the Messaging app.

I’ll note that the notifications broke on all my machines after some light usage and never seemed to worked again, even after multiple reboots.

Sending messages is a bit painful right now, as upon presssing Enter to send a message, it adds a new line to the textbox instead of just sending the message. You have to press Ctrl-Enter to actually send the message. Hopefully this will changed or be an option in later builds.

Messaging has a select option and is the first of the built-in Windows 10 apps to support select all (a feature still painfully missing in Windows 10’s Mail app).  You can select conversations to mute or delete, as well as Delete, Copy and Forward individual messages.
Messaging forwarding

When you forward the message, Messaging makes a new empty conversation with that same text and if you switch to another conversation, it will make a draft just like an e-mail client.
Draft Messaging_2015-10-08_05-29-21

I’ve connected Cortana and Mail to my Office 365 account and Messaging seems to know about that too:
Messaging Office 365 2015-10-08_05-31-15Searching the Office 365 Directory didn’t seem to work yet however.  If you push the + button in the corner, another window shows all your contacts and offers to search the Skype Directory.  This doesn’t work either as it attempts to load a “skypepage” that doesn’t exist.
Search Skype DirectoryMessaging uses a separate Skype Video app to do voice and video conversations. I wasn’t able to get it to successfully call another computer but it does appear at least try to make a connection:
Skype_Video_2015-10-08_05-42-25Unfortunately you won’t find winks, custom emoticons, display names, animated display pictures, nudging, coloured text, customization, games, voice clips, or any other of the standard Messenger features in this application.  I couldn’t find an Options screen, so there isn’t much in the way of things to tweak.

Even compared to Windows Messenger that came with Windows XP, nevermind modern instant messaging clients like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram or Kik, Messaging still has a long way to go.

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Butterfly Messenger

It’s no small thing to say that the reaction to Windows Live Messenger 2009 and related clients that use the older Messenger protocol has been pretty intense.  Regardless if you’re using Windows XP, you have a favourite feature that’s missing in the 2012 version, or you simply do not want to use Skype, it seems everyone is looking for another option to choose from.

Butterfly Messenger

Butterfly Messenger is an improved working version of the client used to demonstrate MSNPSharp.   It supports the same protocol version as Windows Live Messenger 2012 (MSNP21), and has the a basic Messenger feature set.

The current release is an alpha version of Butterfly Messenger intended to be used to collect feedback on bugs, features and other changes.  However, it is relatively stable and usable.

Butterfly Messenger

System Requirements

Butterfly Messenger currently requires Windows XP or above with at least the .NET Framework 2.0 or above installed.

Although MSNPSharp was deliberately written to support Mono (on other platforms), the client presently does not run on Mono (but probably works on WINE), hopefully this will be addressed later for Linux and/or OS X compatibility.

Download and installation

You can now download the third alpha release of Butterfly Messenger.  Due to the early nature of the project, it does not presently have an installer and you will need to extract the files to a folder of your choice and run it from there.  Butterfly Messenger makes use of the Segoe UI font (like Messenger).  If you do not have the Segoe UI font installed right now, you can install it from the Messenger 2009 files.

Feedback and bugs

Please feel free to leave quick comments here on this post, but if you wish to go in depth, you can make use of the Butterfly Messenger category on the forum.

Known issues

  • Depending on the situation, brand new conversation windows may blink even if they’re in focus.  If you start typing a reply, they should stop blinking.
  • Flickering in the contact list.
  • Custom emoticons will appear, but the current conversation window does not support animated GIFs.  Animated GIF display pictures work though.
  • You cannot rename contacts.

Open Source

Butterfly Messenger is open source software and based on the MSNPSharp project code.  A repository will be set up shortly once more details about the project have been finalized.

Oct 10 2015 0.1.2.0
  • Further nameserver exception fix
Sep 23 2015 0.1.1.0
  • Fixes Nameserver exception trying to connect to 25.127.129.101 by changing server hostname to the same one used for Reviver
Mar 25 2015 0.1.0.0
  • First alpha release of Butterfly Messenger

Older versions of the protocol no longer being accepted by any Messenger server

I’m sorry to report that this Thursday’s update ends the last bit of trickery for any clients prior to Windows Live Messenger 2012 (MSN Protocol Version 21).

You can see this for yourself using dx’s server list on www.ismsndeadyet.com.

On Thursday, February 26th, most of the servers removed MSNP18 support, but left a few bn1 servers allowing the old version and all db3 servers.
On Thursday, March 5th, the last of the bn1 servers removed MSNP18 support, leaving only db3 servers.
On Thursday, March 12th, the last of the db3 servers removed MSNP18 support.

If you’re using Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10, and wish to continue using Messenger on its own, you will need to upgrade to Windows Live Messenger 2012.  You can do so by downloading and running Reviver again, clicking the Advanced button, selecting “Do a new Messenger install” and choosing Windows Live Messenger 2012.

If you’re using Windows Vista, despite being unsupported officially, with a workaround you can install Windows Live Messenger 2012 too.  I’ll be detailing this process shortly.

If you’re using Windows XP, Mac OS X, Linux, or any other non-Microsoft Messenger client (as of this writing, none I’m aware of support MSN Protocol 21), you will need to either use Skype or the web-based client in Outlook.com.  My efforts on bridging an interface between the newer and older protocol wasn’t terribly successful so far.  You can always use Messenger 2009 or other clients if they’re made to work again.

This is the end of an era.  Messenger Reviver 2 supported these older clients (including the popular 2009 version) from April 23 2013 to March 12 2015, they will be missed.

Messenger down again for pre-2012 users (error code 80072efd)

If you’ve been relying on the workaround from last week for versions of Messenger prior to 2012, beginning just a few minutes ago, a number of the Messenger servers disappeared and sign-ins on these prior versions are once again failing with error code 80072efd (which means, can’t connect).

Another workaround I was trying this week has not been successful, so you’ll have to upgrade to 2012, use the web-based Messenger version on Outlook.com or upgrade to Skype.
To upgrade to 2012 on Windows 7, launch Messenger Reviver 2, choose the Advanced button, then select Do a new Messenger install, and then choose Windows Live Messenger 2012.

If you’re using Windows Vista, version 2011 will not presently allow you to sign in, but this should be fixable eventually as it uses the same version of the protocol as 2012.
If you’re using Windows XP, you will need to use Outlook.com or upgrade to Skype for now.

A small number of users using pre-2012 versions are redirected into the “db3” servers, which revived clients will now automatically try.  With this in mind, if you are one of the lucky ones with an account that operates in this way, you may till be able to sign in or have contacts that do using these old versions.

Note: conversations on 2012 are sporadic right now, I’m going to assume once the current server changes are completed, it will go back to normal.

Major Messenger outage as MSNP and HTTP logins are rejected

Starting a few minutes ago, new sign-in attempts to Messenger are being rejected and depending on your account, you’ll now receive either error code 81000305 or 80004005.  Normally during the sign in process, the client and the server will negotiate the version of the protocol being used to access the service, but unfortunately the server is now rejecting the major versions of the Messenger protocol up to 18 (used by Messenger 2009).

With that said, Windows Live Messenger 2012 is still working over HTTPS.  If you need Messenger access right now, please either install Messenger 2012 or use the Messenger client in Outlook.com.

UPDATE (Feb 26/2015 18:24 EST): A workaround is now in place as one of the servers hasn’t been updated yet, but it most likely will not last long.  As this workaround is being done on the server side (DNS), depending on your ISP, it may take several hours.  Some accounts will still not be able to connect.

Issues signing in to Messenger today

Within the last 24-hours or so, a handful of users have let me know that they haven’t been able to sign into Messenger and are receiving error code 80072efd (which means quite simply, “can’t connect”).

This new problem is related to earlier changes Microsoft has made to push Messenger to HTTP and then also to HTTPS.  Now, another group of the Messenger servers no longer are accepting all connections (specifically HTTP and Messenger protocol).  Although Reviver 2.4.0 attempts to address this, because of these changes, at times you will sometimes be sent to servers which older versions of Messenger can no longer connect to.

Despite a good number of sign-in attempts, I have yet to experience the problem, and it seems to be a matter of (bad) luck.  It’s certainly possible this was happening before, but it’s only now become an issue.  A good percentage of those who have had the problem have been able to get back in by simply trying again later.

Unfortunately, there’s no particular elegant fix for this without some software development, but if you’re consistently seeing this problem and wouldn’t mind doing a bit of beta testing on some possible fixes, leave a comment below indicating so and I’ll follow-up with you.

Additionally, Windows Live Messenger 2012 should not have the problem, so if you are using Windows 7 or above, you can upgrade to 2012.  To do so, download and run Reviver, choose the Advanced button, then Do a new Messenger install, and then choose Windows Live Messenger 2012.

Messenger Service now requiring HTTPS (and error code 80072efd)

In the last fortnight, Microsoft restricted previously revived or third-party Messenger clients to use HTTP access.  Yesterday, they improved security by requiring TLS instead of SSL.  Today, they’ve gone a step further and now require HTTPS, therefore making Messenger conversations encrypted to the Microsoft server.  Presently, the only non-modified desktop Messenger client to support this is Windows Live Messenger 2012.

For versions of Windows Live Messenger 2011, 2009 or 2008, you will get error code 80072efd and you will need to re-revive with Messenger Reviver 2.4.0 for Messenger to work.  For all other clients (Pidgin, Adium, other libpurple clients), where the option allows, you can continue to sign in by changing the Messenger server from messenger.hotmail.com to msn.messengergeek.com.

If you wish to still use the major Windows Messenger 4 or 5 versions, Messenger Reviver 2.4.0 will patch those too.  In Reviver, choose the Advanced button and then Patch Messenger option to revive these older Windows Messenger clients.

At the moment, Messenger:mac will not be working.  Future versions of Messenger Reviver 2:mac should be able to fix it.

Error code 80048820 and Windows XP

In the last 48 hours Microsoft has improved the security of Microsoft Account/Windows Live ID/.NET Passport authentication by requiring you to use Transport Layer Security (TLS) to sign in.  TLS is the “next version” of what you might know as SSL, commonly shown as a padlock icon in the address bar of a web browser.

The problem with this change is that by default, Windows XP has TLS support disabled.  This also means that Messenger will fail to sign in and you’ll see the following message with error code 80048820:
Error code 80048820

To solve the problem, you will need to turn on TLS in Windows.  You can either download and run the latest version of Reviver to enable this, or follow the three steps below:

  1. Click Start, then Run, type inetcpl.cpl and click OK.
    Run box
  2. Click the Advanced tab, scroll down to the Security section at the bottom and select Use TLS 1.0 so that it’s checked.
    Turn on TLS
  3. Then choose OK and try Messenger again.

The change should take effect immediately and you should now be able to sign in as normal.

Microsoft appears to be pushing the .NET Messenger Service to HTTP

No one suspectsThe changes to Messenger have continued this week with Microsoft blocking access to port 1863 (that’s the defacto port for Messenger) firstly with the servers known as messenger.hotmail.com (bay.*) on December 1st and then the bn1.gateway.messenger.live.com (bn.*) server(s) on December 3rd.

The ever ingenious dx put together a status page listing the various types of servers in the network and their current status.

In practical terms, this means that instead of using the MSN protocol directly, the protocol is now being funneled over an HTTP connection, just like a web page. The Microsoft Messenger clients will automatically give up on port 1863 and use HTTP without any prompting, so if you’re a Messenger Reviver user, you shouldn’t have to do anything.  However, third-party clients may require triggering their HTTP mode options manually, and some don’t support the HTTP mode.

You’ll note that on dx’s status page, only the servers that are directly called using hostnames have port 1863 blocked.  The more technically interested can force Messenger into using 1863 by using their local hosts file or setting up their own DNS server to redirect messenger.hotmail.com to one of the working bay servers, and bn1.gateway.messenger.live.com to one of the bn.* servers.

Adium Messenger Reviver

This page remains here for archival reasons.  As of March 12th 2015, the last of the servers accepting sign-ins from Adium have gone offline.  To use the Messenger service on the Mac, you will need to use Skype, the web-based Outlook.com client, or Windows Live Messenger 2012 in a Windows virtual machine.

adiumreviver

As there’s been some requests for this, I put together a simple dmg which lets you copy the newly patched libpurple to the correct Adium (/Applications/Adium.app/Contents/Frameworks/libpurple.framework/Versions/Current) folder.  Hopefully Adium is updated soon so this won’t be needed.

Update: In addition to the above, due to changes on the Messenger servers, you will now need to make a small adjustment to make Adium work.  Choose the Adium menu, choose Preferences, double-click the MSN account, choose the Options category and change the Login Server to be msn.messengergeek.com and click OK.  This should be included in a future Adium Reviver version.

The post, Most third-party Messenger clients have gone offline temporarily has more info about the change made.

Additionally, you can also revive the official Messenger:mac client.

Known issues

  • If you receive a message that the “libpurple folder” requires an administrator password, you probably don’t have Adium or the right version of Adium installed.
  • On some accounts you might not be able to see your full contact list, this should soon be resolved in other clients and hopefully fixed in Adium too.