MSN Chat experimentation


I mentioned to @tristanleboss a couple of weeks ago that it might be fun to have MSN Chat functional, as it’s one of the parts of the MSN community that are accessible from (some versions of) the MSN Messenger client, and it’s something a lot of people will remember from that time. Now, I also said that I didn’t know if I was going to work on it, and I wasn’t sure if I should clutter up the forum mentioning it since it’s not a core part of MSN Messenger, but I decided to make a thread anyway, just to see if it inspires anybody.

I threw together a quick test server which seems to work fine with the MSN Chat 4.5 OCX control, with a mocked up page to put it in, based on some assets I pulled from the Wayback Machine. It’s probably not an accurate recreation as the page I pulled the graphics and stuff from were from the People & Chat section, not a Chat page directly. Here’s what I managed to put together:


If anybody’s interested in working on this, it seems to be a mixture of IRC (and specifically IRCX, Microsoft’s proprietary extensions for IRC) and an auth protocol they called GateKeeper.

Documentation for the little progress I’ve made is here

Chat rooms?

Maybe it’s because I’m not particularly nostalgic about old MSN services but I’d probably prefer using IRC for this chat format.

That said it’s nice work you’ve managed there, bit by bit this community is putting together more recreations of the old MSN services…


It would probably be possible to have it accessible directly via normal IRC clients if that’s how some people prefer it. With a custom server there would be no need for old mIRC scripts to enable GateKeeper auth via the MSN Chat applet (which I think is how they did it, I never tried to get on MSN Chat with mIRC).

I didn’t get to use MSN Chat very much so I know what it’s like to not have a lot of nostalgia for it, but I did use it a little with a friend of mine many years ago, and I think it would be cool to preserve it along with MSN Messenger :slight_smile:


i dont know from web developing but if you like to help you with testing i’ll be happy


same, me too!, i would like to try, however i dont have an messenger (patched) version under 5.0
also msn add-in (for 4.7) because why not: (15.3 KB)


also, JK found a real chat image:


I knew it was based on IRC, but Microsoft IRCX?

I believe Microsoft may have reused (back then) some servers they had for Comic Chat, and (correct me if I’m wrong) IRCX was also used in the Comic Chat client.
(Just checked Wikipedia, and I think I’m correct)

Unimportant stuff

While typing the above comment, I ended up dreaming up some related stuff, which I won’t mention here because I don’t want to go off-topic, but that thought sequence basically involved hacks and open-source software. I can still post them here if someone wants.


how did you get chat working