MSN Messenger

1. Description

Server status:
Type: Proprietary
Identity: Windows Live ID associated with an email address, e.g. user@…
Interoperability: Yahoo
Popularity: Europe
Default server; port:; 1863

2. History

MSN Messenger, now called Windows Live Messenger, is a freeware instant messaging client that was developed and distributed by Microsoft in 1999 to 2005 and in 2007 for computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system (except Windows Vista), and aimed towards home users. It was renamed Windows Live Messenger in February 2006 as part of Microsoft's Windows Live series of online services and software.

3. Censorship (?)

MSN censors messages containing particular fragments of URLs. Previously, the message would simply be dropped with no indication to either side that it went away; now, at least, you get an error message (inline in the message view).

Pieces of text that are known to cause MSN to throw a message into the memory hole

The most common ones that we know of are:

  • .info
  • profile.php? (including ‘?’)
  • download.php? (including ‘?’)
  • gallery.php
  • pics.php
  • ListAllTopics.php
  • .scr (source)

Andrew Wellington has a much longer list.

See Microsoft censoring MSN Messenger conversations for more information.

4. Known Issues

Notable missing features (in comparison to original or other clients)

If you'd like to save a custom emoticon received from somebody else, right-click on it and choose “Save Image As”, then save the file somewhere. This is of limited usefulness, since you can't send it to somebody yet, but you can keep the image file around so you can use it after we add that feature.

  • Yahoo interoperability: see MSN and Yahoo for more Information.
  • Slow file transfers: they go through the server instead of directly between you and the other user (p2p). See #p247. Adium 1.4.1 and later support direct file transfers, so you can now send files at full speed.

Defects, broken features

  • Status "Has You. Yes/No" not reliable anymore. See #p10681.

Connection problems

  • If you have been able to connect to msn before and you for some reason can't right now, then it's most likely just a temporary server error which happens fairly often. The only solution is to wait.
  • "Retrieving Contact List 100%" / "Reading error":

This is caused by "incorrect" contacts in contact lists. If you're running into this error you need you need to remove the offending contact. You can identify it by getting a debug log (see CurrentAdiumDebug for instructions) and looking for the following sequence in the log:

(Libpurple: msn) FQY error 241
(Libpurple: msn) FQY response says <offending contact> is from network 0
(Libpurple: msn) Ignoring user <offending contact> about which server knows nothing.

If removing the contact doesn't work with Adium, you could try with the original/mainline client. See #p10023 for details.

Other errors

  • "Unable to add user (Unknown error 204)":

This can happen when with certain Yahoo users on your MSN contact list. The workaround for "Retrieving Contact List 100%" / "Reading error" also applies here. See #p8988 for details.

  • "A message may not have been sent; a timeout occurred": #2475

The bug that caused this problem on some network configurations is fixed in Adium 1.4 but this error can still happen if you or the person you are talking to are having real network problems.

  • "Contacts can't send you messages" and/or "Message could not be sent because the user is offline" even though the user is online:

This is related to the the problem above and happens on some network configurations. See #p10049 for more information.

  • "Buddy list synchronization" error:

This Pidgin Wiki page has information which helps you to solve this issue.

Page last modified by Robert, 9 years ago