Category Archives: MSN Messenger

Recent Messenger outages

UPDATE (2016-02-12): After more investigation, it seems the DNS reported in some regions (especially in Europe) will connect you to servers that are no longer operating.  Reviver has been updated to fix this issue.  If you are having this problem, please revive Messenger again using Messenger Reviver 2.4.7.

msnmsgr_2016-02-11_22-24-59

In the last 24-36 hours, a handful of users have been reporting infrequent outages resulting in error code 80072efd (can’t connect to the server).  Waiting a few minutes and just trying again usually will remedy the problem.

Four days ago it was reported on the forum that all the bn1 category servers had disappeared, but the actual connectivity problems with Messenger were not reported until several days later.

So far I have not seen the issue on any of my accounts and therefore have not yet been able to properly investigate the situation. However, at the moment my best guess is that the servers are being reorganized in some way and when you get the error message, you’ve been redirected to a server that is no longer operating. At the end of 2014, the same problem occurred when some of the servers started to phase out direct MSNP and HTTP access.  However, I think this might a bit of a different situation.

Although it may or may not be related, during the same time period I have also seen some disconnections with Skype causing it to sign out completely, which usually mean the server has signed me out automatically.  These sign outs might indicate that Skype’s infrastructure is also being changed too.

Unfortunately the inner-workings of the Messenger servers have never been completely fully known, so we’ll have to continue monitoring to see what happens.

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.

Messenger Reviver 2:mac

Messenger Reviver 2:mac

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.

Messenger:mac failure

As the underlying problem is similar to the issues from earlier this week, using the same technique used by the third-party clients and for Windows Live Messenger 2009, we can revive Messenger:mac.

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.
Messenger Reviver 2: mac opening

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.

System Requirements
A compatible version of OS X running Messenger:mac 8.0.1

When is Messenger really shutting down?

Messenger Shutting Down?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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

The answer
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.

Final note

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.

Windows Live Messenger 2009 signed in on September 11th, 2014

Windows Live Messenger 2009 signed in on September 11th, 2014