Legacy OS support?


#1

I tried using the patched versions on my retro Windows 98 machine just for fun, I also have a friend who wants to do the same with me on his Windows ME retro machine.

Now MSN requires IE in order to function, but these OS’s can only run 6 as the highest (Almost no site loads with IE6 due to an exploit but most sites still load in IE 5.5, so I wouldn’t bother supporting 6 at all)
The only issue with IE 5.5 and under is when a site uses forced HTTPS (where the site will redirect from HTTP to HTTPS like this site right here)
You get the notorious “This page cannot be displayed”.

This happens on this Escargot MSN Server and because IE 5.5 can’t connect to the site, neither can MSN since it uses IE as a base to connect.
Will this ever be changed in the future? Thanks :grinning:


#2

I don’t think Escargot can work with Windows 98… I think it’s the same problem as Windows 2000: TLS cipher. This will not change.

Just to be sure, please download this tool ( https://gitlab.com/valtron/msn-server/uploads/100030c84cd3931a94fcd8a61e446b0f/Escargot-Troubleshooter-1.3.zip ) and copy / paste the log here.


#3

Alright I’ll let you know how it goes when I get the chance!
But yeah IE6 is out of the question, nearly every site including google won’t load.
However IE5.5 can open significantly more websites, it’s really odd but I’ve read it’s due to an exploit IE6 had so everything blocks it.
I think there’s a pretty good chance of having it be compatible with IE5.5 (which I think it can run on Windows 2000 too)


#4

I’m surprised you got that far. For me, the pre-patched Messenger 5.x didn’t work on Windows 9x (in the screenshot below I’m using Windows ME), and based on what I found on the Messenger web site though the Wayback, Microsoft had different Messenger clients for different versions of Windows.

So I downloaded Messenger 5.0 from oldversion.com, and tried modding the main program myself in Notepad, and of course, that destroyed the specific Windows resource forks, which in turn left me with this. Unfortunately, I can’t find an old version of Resource Hacker (or another resource editor) that works on Windows 9x.

(The screenshot is in 256 colours because this is an old laptop with a DSTN LCD (or “passive-matrix” screen).


#5

You can download the free Hxd hex editor:

https://mh-nexus.de/en/hxd/

It should work on Me and it’s better to use this kind of tool to work with binary files.


#6

If it helps I have KernelEX installed, you can get it on the MSFN forum which lets you run quite a bit more modern programs on 98 and ME.
What I did since the patched installer doesn’t work was that I installed the unpatched messenger on 98, and installed the patched one on my main PC and transferred the files over in program files to the 98 computer because it was easier than patching it manually.
I’m also using MSN 7.0 as that’s the last official version that works under 9X.

Btw the tester doesn’t work as it needs MSCOREE.dll, which requires a version of .net framework that doesn’t work under 9X.


#7

Which version of Messenger is working on 9x with Escagot?


#8

Anything before 7.5, although the actual MSI installers themselves don’t work so you’ll have to install them on a newer pc then transfer the installed files over to 9X.
However no version is able to connect to Escagot as of now due to IE 6 and under don’t support the encryption the website itself uses.

So you can run them, just not actually login.


#9

If someone want to do it one day, it would be possible to create an alternative login server using compatible SSL settings. This login server would internally proxy the login request to the Escargot server and forward the response. You just need to edit the Messenger executable to replace the Escargot login URL with the one from this proxy server.


#10

I know for a fact that Microsoft, at one point in time, made a few different versions of Messenger for different versions of Windows. I haven’t got any of the pre-patched ones to work, but I only tried 5.0. I did try the main executable myself, but couldn’t really do so.


#11

Well, I was able to manually patch Messenger 5.0, however, I was not able to get it working.

I realised I forgot to do the registry thing, so I did, but there was no “Server” entry there, so I added it myself. I got this error instead:

After mucking about with the Windows “hosts” file, I then get a different kind of error, and my Escargot address does show, so it (to me) looks like it was able to reach the Escargot servers, but did not support its newer encryption standards.

So yeah, I think it has to do with the encryption, because I wasn’t able to access the Escargot public site in both IE 5.5 and Firefox 2. I’m not sure if I should try updating to IE 6.

While I was trying to get Escargot working on Windows ME, I had the idea of creating a HTTP, SOCKS3, or SOCKS4 proxy that handles rerouting from the Microsoft servers to the Escargot servers. While I was browsing Wikipedia, I came across this page that lists the TCP/UDP ports and URLs Messenger used back in the day.

While I was trying to write a tutorial on how to do it (that I would have posted if it was successful), I ripped the “Patching instructions” from the Escargot public website, and copied it into a separate webpage that you can view on an old web browser, because my web server just happens to not have any encryption, but then, it doesn’t need to. Anyway, the page is here.


Update: I installed IE 6, and I still can’t sign in. Over on my XP laptop, Escargot does work fine in Messenger 7.5, and it has IE 8.

Actually, it probably works on versions older than XP using the “old MSN support”, but I did hear from someone (who I was chatting with in a Discord chatroom) saying that with that, the user can’t log on using the newer versions. I don’t know if this is correct or not.