Outlook.com dropping DeltaSync support (and possibly MSNP) June 30

If the title sounds familiar, it’s because this whole situation started back in December.  Subsequently the disastrous KB3093594 patch was released to replace DeltaSync with Exchange ActiveSync, and then withdrawn.  The patch was clearly rushed and untested, as it crashed on Windows 10 and usually fell short of fully synchronizing messages.

Just like back in December, a number of users have notified me that they’ve received an e-mail from Microsoft entitled “Action required for users of Windows Live Mail 2012”.  This was sent last month and I’ve still yet to get my own copy of the message.  I’m guessing you need to be a daily user of Live Mail to have received it.

The following are the important portions:

It appears that you are currently using Windows Live Mail 2012 to connect to your Outlook.com account. Windows Live Mail 2012 does not support the synchronization technologies used by the new Outlook.com. When account upgrades begin at the end of June, you will no longer be able to receive email sent to your Outlook.com account in Windows Live Mail 2012. Rest assured, you can always access your email by logging into Outlook.com from any web browser, and you will continue to have access to all your data that is currently in Windows Live Mail 2012.

Please take action before June 30th, 2016, which is when we’ll begin upgrading accounts that currently use Windows Live Mail 2012. If you have more questions, please find answers to common FAQs in this help article, or you can contact Microsoft support.

Both in the email and the above referenced help article, they do not cover using IMAP or POP3 as an alternative so you can continue to use Live Mail. Instead they’re more interested in pushing you to the Windows 10 Mail application or signing you up for Office 365. Re-adding your account using IMAP would be my recommendation if you make use of Live Mail and Outlook.com/Hotmail.

What does this mean for Messenger?

Even if you don’t have Messenger installed, Windows Live Mail 2011 and 2012 partially sign you into Messenger using MSNP21.  This Messenger connection is used for e-mail notifications (when it worked) and although it’s technically a separate service, downloading your contacts.  While the announcement from Microsoft specifically mentions receiving e-mail, which is done over the separate DeltaSync protocol, there is a possibility that this has been one of the key reasons that MSNP21 is still operating and therefore the protocol could be shut down on June 30th.  Without further details there is no way to know until then.

 

 

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Happy third anniversary Messenger Reviver 2!

Happy Anniversary

It was on this day, three years ago, that Messenger sign-ins started being blocked by the official Messenger client and three years ago that Messenger Reviver 2 was released.

Although we’ve lost some features over time, access to versions prior to 2009 and unfortunately most of the third-party clients haven’t kept up with the required changes, you can still use Windows Live Messenger today.

Thank you for your support!

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.

Messenger Reviver 2 temporary download

Update:
Both Google and Microsoft unblocked the original Reviver links from their respective browser detection engines within 12 and 3 hours respectfully.

Although frustrating for the need to continually stay on top of these false positives, I do applaud them both for being quick and relatively painless to resolve the situation.

I have returned all the links, with the exception of this page, to the originals.


 

Here is a temporary link to download Messenger Reviver 2

Download Messenger Reviver 2

It seems someone doesn’t like the idea of Messenger Reviver and has reported all my links as malware.

2015-12-16_16-07-24

I suspect this may be related to McAfee being slow about removing a recent false positive.  Having these false positives removed takes up time in my life every week, but the antivirus vendors have always removed Reviver without question, although naturally they take their time about doing it.

I find the best way to check software (including Messenger Reviver) is to use virustotal.com.  The current analysis reveals that almost every vendor agrees it’s clean.

In the past, I have had infrequent threatening comments directed at me, specifically from those who trust their antivirus software without question and claim that I am harming their computer.  I have had my registrar falsely accuse of me of distributing malware, giving me a 24 hour warning to “remove it” or risk losing my entire account.  In all instances in these situations, after reviewing the real facts, these people stand down.

Ignoring anything else, just thinking logically, why would I, someone who has been assisting people with Messenger problems for for nearly 15 years, run a blog for 10 years, with comments, forum, live chat on a variety Messenger related topics, only to trick a few people into installing malware now.  Why would I ruin my reputation like that?  It just doesn’t make any sense.

Messenger Reviver does not do anything other than what it says it does.  It does not report any statistical data or personal data about yourself or your computer, it does not install anything other than Messenger, it does not contain ads, or contain any income-generating mechanism.  Messenger Reviver loses me time and money and it is simply a work of love.

Which is exactly why the icon for Reviver is Messenger with a heart.
reviver2.png

Thanks everyone for your support.

Installing Windows Live Mail 2012 on Windows Vista

During the process of making Windows Live Messenger 2012 function on Vista earlier this year, I was also able to get Windows Live Mail 2012 working.

As Microsoft will not be patching Windows Live Mail 2011 to replace the DeltaSync protocol, you may find this helpful to install 2012 on Vista to avoid disruption if you’re using Live Mail.

Before you get started, you need to make sure you have all the requirements installed:

  • Windows Vista Service Pack 2
  • Windows Update KB971644 Platform Update (found in the optional updates section of Windows Update)
  • .NET Framework 4.0
  • Windows Live Mail 2011

If you do not already have Live Mail 2011 installed, I can supply installers of any supported language on request.  If there is sufficient demand, I may add Live Mail into Reviver for clean installs.

If you had to install any of the above required components, please restart Windows before starting the process.

If you use Windows Live Movie Maker 2011, it will not be able to export movies after the upgrade.

Finally, download and run Messenger Reviver 2 which will upgrade Messenger, Mail, Writer, Photo Gallery and Movie Maker to 2012 versions.

Download Messenger Reviver 2

When prompted, click the link to install Windows Live Messenger 2012.

reviver click 2015-12-12_02-01-51

This installation tends to take a while, due to the age of the computers running Vista and the overall slowness of the Windows Essentials installer.

Once installation is complete, Live Messenger will come up, just close it.

Next, you will want to install the Windows Live Mail 2012 KB3093594 patch that swaps DeltaSync support for Exchange ActiveSync.  Download and run the .msp file, then choose Repair when prompted.

repair 2015-12-12_02-30-10

After this is complete, click the Finish button and you can now start Windows Live Mail 2012!

Troubleshooting
Installing Essentials 2012 will force Windows to check updates, in which case svchost.exe may continue to consume CPU after installation and none of the Windows Live products will come up.  You can either wait it out or restart Windows.

 

The craziness of Windows Live Mail patch KB3093594

As mentioned previously, Microsoft has elected to discontinue the DeltaSync protocol of Windows Live Mail 2012 for Exchange ActiveSync.  This is to be done using a Microsoft Installer patch filed under KB3093594, Update for Windows Live Essentials Mail 2012.

However this patch doesn’t appear to have been fully tested nor is it made simple to install.

Windows 10 support
Most importantly, after installing this patch, Live Mail will no longer work on Windows 10.  Live Mail will open up, but within seconds it crashes with the standard, Windows Live Mail has stopped working.

Windows_Live_Mail_2015-12-11_19-55-26

This crash was repeatable on multiple machines of different bitness and Windows builds.  The actual exception is an access violation in wcsync.dll (which is one of the patched libraries).

If you want to go ahead and try to install the patch or if you already did, you can revert/uninstall the patch by pressing oldwindowsflag-R (Windows Key and R) on the keyboard, then copy/paste the following:

msiexec /package {B775C26B-EAA8-4A11-ACBF-76E52DF6B805} /uninstall {342DCD5D-5946-453B-97AC-D53B7662EDF5}

Then press enter or click OK.  When prompted, choose Repair.

Installation
Furthermore, even the installation of the patch (KB3093594) is simply awful.  After running the .msp (Microsoft Installer Patch file), you’re offered to either Repair or Remove Live Mail.  Choosing Repair is the only way to get it to install.
Windows_Live_Mail_Setup_Wizard_2015-12-11_19-49-40

After installation, the version number of Windows Live Mail will change from 16.4.3528.0331 to 16.4.3563.0918.

Usage
Installing this patch does not add any new functionality to Windows Live Mail 2012.  The only difference is that the DeltaSync protocol been swapped out with the Exchange ActiveSync protocol.  Live Mail still only allows use of Outlook.com/Hotmail/POP3/IMAP email accounts, and you cannot use your own Office 365 or Exchange server account.  Additionally, push email support has not been restored, as Live Mail still uses Messenger to notify Live Mail for new messages.  Unfortunately, this particular feature in Messenger has been broken since April 2014.

As much as we can appreciate Microsoft continuing support for Live Mail, certainly it would have been better if they fully tested this on the latest Windows version, as well as made it easier to install or just utilized Windows Update to deploy the patch automatically.

 

Microsoft to discontinue DeltaSync (for Windows Live Mail)

A good friend of mine got the following email today:

Important information about your email service

Dear user,
In a few weeks, we will be making some changes to our email services that might impact your @outlook.com, @hotmail, @live, or @msn email account. Those changes will prevent your email from being delivered to the Windows Live Mail 2012 application you use.
In order to continue using Windows Live Mail 2012 to send and receive email for your account, you need to install the latest update published here.
If you use Windows Live Mail 2012 on Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, we recommend that you switch to the built in Mail app in Windows to stay connected and get the latest feature updates on Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.
Windows Live Essentials 2009 and 2011 are not supported anymore, and you will need to update to Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10 and use the Mail app, or use www.outlook.com. To learn more about the Mail app, please click here.
We also recommend all Windows Live Mail users on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10 and use the built in Mail application to stay connected and get the latest feature updates.
We suggest saving this email so you can refer to it later.
Thanks for your understanding and continued use.

Sincerely,
The Outlook team

Although not officially mentioned in the message, Windows Live Mail 2012 uses the DeltaSync protocol to send and receive email for Outlook.com/Hotmail accounts, so it can be assumed that they are discontinuing this protocol.  Prior to DeltaSync’s creation, Outlook Express used WebDAV, which itself was shut down in 2009.

With the patch linked in the email, KB3093594, Microsoft seems to have elected to continue to support Live Mail 2012 by replacing the DeltaSync protocol with Exchange ActiveSync.

However…
As much as I can tell, after installing this patch, Live Mail will no longer work on Windows 10.  Live Mail opens up, but within seconds it crashes:

Windows_Live_Mail_2015-12-11_19-55-26Additionally, the Exchange ActiveSync support is extremely rudimentary and fixes none of the existing issues with mail notifications.

I’ve continued and elaborated my discoveries, as well as how to revert the patch on my next post.

 

 

 

 

Messenger Plus! download link disappears (but direct link still available)

Messenger Plus!Up until now Yuna software has kept Messenger Plus! (for Windows Live Messenger) still available for download.

This changed yesterday as the Plus! download page now indicates that it is no longer available:

Messenger Plus! for Windows Live Messenger

Messenger Plus! For Windows Live Messenger has been discontinued.
Thank you for your support over the years.
Please try Messenger Plus! For Skype.
All is not lost though, you can still download and install Plus! by using a direct link to the download.  Both Plugins (Scripts) and Skins downloads are still available too, although as they could soon disappear, you may want to archive any that you use regularly.

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.

Skype is down

…but Messenger isn’t!

Skype Down

More information can be found on Skype’s blog post about the problem and you can also use the web version of Skype (although it seems to be slightly overloaded right now).

UPDATE: Skype was mostly restored at 19:00 UTC, after 11 hours of downtime.  The apology from Skype.