Category Archives: Messenger
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.
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:
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:
- Click Start, then Run, type inetcpl.cpl and click OK.
- Click the Advanced tab, scroll down to the Security section at the bottom and select Use TLS 1.0 so that it’s checked.
- Then choose OK and try Messenger again.
The change should take effect immediately and you should now be able to sign in as normal.
The 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.
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.
- 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.
This page remains here for archival reasons. As of March 12th 2015, the last of the servers accepting sign-ins from Messenger:Mac 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.
Starting November 13th, 2014, Messenger:mac clients are no longer able to sign in to the Messenger service and you will receive the following error:
Sign in to Microsoft Messenger failed because the service is not responding. The service is not available or you may not be connected to the Internet.
Using Messenger Reviver 2:mac
To revive Messenger:mac, download the Messenger Reviver 2 dmg and open it from the Downloads folder. Then right-click on the Messenger Reviver 2 mac icon and choose Open.
If you receive the “unidentified developer” warning message choose Open when asked. Next, you may get a message reminding you that you’re about to install software, click Continue. You can then click Continue to the Introduction screen, then the Install button, type in your password, and finally click the Install Software button. After Reviver has completed, Messenger:mac should re-open and you should be able to sign in.
Important note: Unlike the Windows version, Messenger Reviver 2:mac at this time is not able to automatically download and install Messenger:mac. If you do not already have it installed, you can install it from c|net Download.com.
Known issues and workarounds
When you sign into Messenger:mac after using Reviver:mac, you most likely will see various contact list addition requests from your contact list. This is a side effect of tricking the server, and can either be ignored or dismissed. Unfortunately, they will return again when you sign in again. This issue is being seen in various third party clients as well.
In addition to this, even though contacts appear on your contact list, you might receive a message “Do you want to accept a message from an unknown sender”. Click the Accept button and you can proceed with the conversation.
Lastly, on some accounts you might not appear online to your contacts. Regrettably, this is a result of the same issues above. You can workaround this problem by signing in on another client first (including logging into your Microsoft account at Outlook.com) and then signing into Messenger:mac. The other client will put you online and Messenger:mac will take over your Messenger session.
A compatible version of OS X running Messenger:mac 8.0.1
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 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.
In the past few weeks you most likely read the headlines in the popular press, “MSN Messenger to end after 15 years”, “MSN Messenger Turned Off Forever!”, “Microsoft Is Officially Killing MSN Messenger Once and For All”, and similar captions of the same premise. Reading through these articles, you’ll find that Microsoft has sent out messages to the current Chinese users of Messenger, informing them that after October 31st they will need to use Skype to sign in, plus a bonus $2 Skype coupon for their trouble. The writers then jump to the conclusion that there will be no Messenger after that time, as it seems none of them have noticed that you can still use Messenger and that they’ve just been using Messenger in Skype.
With no other evidence to the contrary, Microsoft is most likely doing the same in China as it did for the rest of the world, force-upgrading its users to use Skype as their Messenger client instead of Windows Live Messenger.
Here are some facts about the situation:
- Messenger contacts (as of yet) did not transfer to Skype contacts. When you link your Skype username to a Microsoft account, Skype (or also Outlook.com) will sign you into both Skype and Messenger services. Despite the accounts being linked up, you can still sign into your Skype username separately or sign into your Messenger account separately using another Messenger client.
- Recently Microsoft started blocking users from signing into older versions of Skype. This seems to be primarily to push people into using the newer versions of Skype which support MSNP24 (Microsoft Notification Protocol version 24). To compare, Windows Live Messenger 2011/2012 uses MSNP21, so they are in fact transitioing from Skype’s native protocol to the Messenger protocol for all Skype communication. You can view the MSNP server and protocol information in Skype by opening up any Skype window and typing /dumpmsnp.
- The Messaging app included in Windows 8.0 (removed in 8.1) signs into the .NET Messenger service. As Windows 8.0 will remain supported until January 12, 2016, this client within 8.0 should continue to work within this supported time frame. This version of Messenger uses MSNP22.
- Although unsupported officially, third-party clients, Windows Messenger 4.7 above and “revived” clients still continue to work nearly a year and a half after the official shutdown date. These clients do not connect to Chinese servers or pretend to be in China.
- The dates of these forced-upgrades have been incorrect so far. Initially Messenger was to “shut down” on March 15th, 2013, and then was moved to April 8th. However, the forced compulsory Skype didn’t truly begin on the servers until April 23rd. Then more recently was the issue of “MSP” (not MSNP) first declared to be discontinued first in March of this year, then May, and then the reference was removed from the Microsoft website all together.
I have no idea when non-Skype Messenger clients will no longer be able to sign in.
Regardless of the facts above, Microsoft could still prevent non-Skype Messenger clients (and their subsequent versions of the protocol) from signing in at any time. I would personally implore them not to do so, as they only face to alienate more users to other services, particularly with their dwindling usage and increased competition. Additionally, once their move to the MSNP24 protocol on Skype is fully complete, they could open and encourage third-parties to write for that new protocol.
After reading through the most recent Messenger headlines, I think it’s worth a reminder that MSN Messenger was replaced by Windows Live Messenger in 2006. Everyone knows that Messenger is colloquially known as “MSN”, which can correctly refer to the protocol (MSNP) being used, but in reality the actual versions of software called MSN Messenger were discontinued and replaced in the years following the name change, particularly as older versions of the protocol were retired and security issues were found.
In July of last year, a number of users found they couldn’t sign into Messenger and were receiving error code 800488fe. This appears to have started again today and additionally, you might have gotten an “Unusual sign-in activity” message like the following:
This would seem suspicious normally, but the IP address shown is actually the users real IP, so it seems to be a false positive and can be dismissed. You can always check your account activity to verify this.
I’ve received this message myself in the last few hours on an account I only use for e-mail and never Messenger – so it seems Microsoft is having trouble with their security detection.
Like before, to solve the problem, just sign into Outlook.com with your Messenger Microsoft account (which may or may not require you do extra account verification) and then you should be able to sign into Messenger again.
UPDATE (June 4, 2014): Messenger (MSNP) is still available. It seems whatever MSP truly is, it didn’t affect Messenger or never was shut down in the first place.
The March date
The date in March was originally based from a reference on the Windows Live Developers site (no longer available, old archive.org version) which stated that “implementations that use MSP (Mobile Service Proxy) will continue to work until March 2014”. After this date passed, the page was changed to show May 31st as the date.
So it’s May 31st?
The confusion with this statement lies in the claim that the Mobile Service Proxy will be the component that no longer works after May 31st. At the time this information was presented, the various media outlets automatically assumed this is what Messenger uses, but Messenger uses MSNP (Mobile Service Notification Protocol), not MSP.
What is MSP/Mobile Service Proxy anyway?
I really do not know. Despite a decade of technical work on Messenger, I had never heard of the Mobile Service Proxy or MSP mentioned until it showed up on that page. My guess is that it could be part of the Messenger web API I’m not familiar with, Messenger connectivity on mobile networks (via SMS), or it could be that the protocol got renamed and no one bothered to inform anyone. Since this term first appeared, I’ve searched periodically for more information and the only reference I ever found was someone else asking the same question on the Windows Live dev forums. The only answer given was, “MSNP in general is not supported by Microsoft for non-Microsoft applications.“
What about April?
There was some discussion that since Windows Messenger was part of Windows XP that the XP end-of-support date of April 8th would be the day the servers were taken down. This of course did not happen and the Messaging app in Windows 8.0 (not 8.1) contains the standard Messenger implementation using MSNP. Windows 8.0 is supported until January 12, 2016.
Will it shut down?
We’ve recently seen features like e-mail notifications and offline messaging disappear from Messenger, as well as changes to Outlook.com messaging, and the rare message originally directed to Skype pop-up on Messenger randomly. Clearly changes are being made but how they will affect the older Messenger clients long-term is not known.
One great thing about the March and May dates was that they gave a definitive time we knew the Messenger service would be operating. Past this weekend we will be entering more uncertainty.
I’ve set up a new Messenger Status page to reflect the current condition of Messenger service and its features so everyone can check what is and what isn’t working.
In the last week I had two people inform me that their
Hotmail Outlook.com e-mail count was wrong in Messenger. This wasn’t a new situation that I’ve heard as over my 10 years of supporting Messenger this came up many times (including in my own account) and the issue simply resolved itself after a brief period. I double checked my own account and the count and subsequent mail notifications and they were working for me.
But today I’ve heard from many more people that this feature has been failing. After checking my own personal and test accounts, it’s now fully broken for me also.
From a technical perspective, the message count and notifications are completely handled by the server which then just notifies Messenger. Unfortunately this means there’s nothing that can be done to “fix” the problem as the server isn’t sending any mail notifications to the Messenger clients.
One can only hope this is a temporary problem and not due to a roll-out of a new version of Outlook.com that’s removed the feature completely.
UPDATE (April 16, 2014)
The e-mail notification feature has been fundamental to Messenger since it’s very inception. In fact Microsoft has exploited this feature for a long time — it’s been used as the basis for Hotmail mail checking in Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, Hotmail and Outlook.com. I was thinking more about this today and wondered that with the feature gone, if Outlook.com had a new way of handling mail notifications.
So, I took two accounts and tested them. One account is a standard Hotmail account with Messenger contacts and one is the same but linked to a Skype account. The normal Hotmail account signed into the web-based Messenger client fine as normal, but was not able to receive any new e-mails until I manually pressed the refresh button. However, the account that’s been linked to Skype was able to receive mail notifications and immediately refreshed. I can only summarize e-mail notifications have been moved over to Skype, although they don’t yet appear in the current versions of the software.
Just to be clear, linking your Microsoft account to a Skype account will not magically restore your e-mail notifications in Messenger. (Doing so will restore automatic receiving of mail while in Outlook.com however.) What it does mean is that some time in the future, the Skype desktop application will be able to notify you to new e-mail and that the notification feature has probably been removed for good in Messenger.
I would recommend you use the freeware tool Howard::Outlook.com/Hotmail email notifier as a replacement. Although the default is every 5 minutes, you can set the check time to every 30 seconds, which is the minimum on any of the protocols without Exchange Activesync (supported on phones, Windows 8 Mail and Outlook 2013).
UPDATE (May 1st, 2014)
In the prior update, I mentioned how you couldn’t receive new e-mails on the Outlook.com site without Skype linked to your Microsoft account. It seems they have fixed that problem as accounts that aren’t linked to Skype can now see messages arriving once again. However, the Messenger e-mail notifications are still missing, giving further evidence that they won’t be back.