After some beating around the bush, I finally got to typing up this beast of a thread: The Escargot Mega FAQ, where I’ll be answering some frequently asked questions most newbies or users in general ask, either publicly on this forum, or questions I believe everyone has on their minds right now.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Do I need to register a Microsoft account to use Escargot?
At the moment, the answer is no. This is because almost all of the authentication methods MSN Messenger utilized over the years basically obscure the password from plain sight, which is good, but access to the password would let the server intertwine your account with Microsoft’s existing services, like Outlook, for example, and push live e-mail notifications out to logged in users, along with contact lists on your MSN Messenger account reflecting the ones on your e-mail’s address book, since that’s how it worked when MSN Messenger was active. Luckily, two of MSN Messenger’s authentication methods do send the password in cleartext via secure HTTPS, which would let us do that, but due to some other existing conflicts, we can’t utilize those for real account integration until a proper solution is constructed, which is being done right now.
Just know that I’d recommend you to use an actual e-mail address than make one up, which has been done before. Not only will it let people have the option to e-mail you when you’re offline on MSN, but when you want to reset your password, Escargot will attempt to send you an e-mail with a link to reset your password. Having an actual e-mail address tied to your Escargot account will make that possible.
Where is @valtron? Is he even working on Escargot anymore?
@valtron has been inactive on here since August of 2017, but rest assured, he’s not dead. He has been since only active on GitLab afterwards in terms of Escargot. In fact, I talk to him over e-mail when I need to, and my recent convo with him was on May 1st of this year (2018) by the time I publish this.
Also, to add on to his disappearance on here, he isn’t inactive per se. He just doesn’t use his account to browse the forum anymore, and he only goes on here once in a blue moon. Why, you may ask? Well, to put it shortly, there was a period of time in 2017 where this forum was dwindling down in terms of quality, due to a few bad eggs and the overall shouting matches that were going on, mostly regarding those aforementioned bad eggs. @valtron felt that he had no other choice but to leave his public presence and remain as a lurker due to all the crazy nonsense happening. Welp, at least you know why he left.
Will Escargot support other dead IM clients?
Yes! In fact, a Yahoo! Messenger frontend is in the works as we speak. We also have plans for an AIM frontend (someone by the name of @Wildman_Fujiami has already made a replacement AIM server, but no harm in having two) and possibly more for any other IMs out there.
Also, just a reminder that Escargot is open-source by nature. So if you have the programmer’s touch, go on its GitLab page and join the project’s dev team. You could help speed progress up by a bit!
I can't log on to Escargot with MSN Messenger 1.0 - 4.7! Why is that?
First, you might want to check if your account has the option to log in onto those versions of MSN Messenger, since they utilize insecure methods of authentication that were acceptable at the time of their releases, which was MD5-based authentication (a.k.a. the authentication method that won’t let us retrieve the password for integration purposes for people using those versions of the MSN client). When registering, click on the checkbox, fully aware that you’ll have a password entry in the database with your password, hashed with a now-considered insecure hashing algorithm, before finally registering your account.
If you have already registered your account and you haven’t checked the checkbox before registering, you can request Escargot to reset your password, considering that you didn’t use a fake e-mail address when signing up, in order to check the option. Note that if you haven’t been planning to change your password in the first place, you can just type in your current password in both of the password fields and check the checkbox as normal before continuing with the reset procedure.
Now, regarding logging on to the specified clients, as long as you’ve patched the specific versions of the MSN client CORRECTLY with the .reg file supplied on the homepage, then you should be all set. But Windows Messenger 4.7.2009 doesn’t follow these standard registry values, and goes the way of MSN 5.0 - 6.2, utilizing Tweener authentication rather than the MD5-based authentication earlier versions used. This is because 4.7.2009 was a modified version of the 4.x codebase released around 2004 that supported the acceptable HTTPS Tweener method of authentication. Luckily, there aren’t any special patching instructions for this build of the client, and if you have confirmed that you use 4.7.2009 (Go to “
About Windows Messenger”, or
About MSN Messenger if exceptions apply, and check the parentheses-encased
x.x.xxxx string to see what build you use), go follow the patching instructions for MSN Messenger 5.0 - 6.2 and apply them to your copy of Windows Messenger 4.7.2009.
Now, a fair warning about doing this, not just with MSN Messenger, but with any program:
You MUST use a hex editor or a text editor that retains binary data and be careful when modifying the program files, or else you’ll corrupt the MSN Messenger program and/or its components, requiring you to reinstall the program. If you’re unsure about your binary modification skills or what to use to modify the program, get a friend who is skilled or at least knows what they’re doing and let them help you with all of the magic.
After I added someone to my contact list on WLM 8.x, said contact appears offline for a long time even when they aren't. Why does this happen?
From my understanding, this was an error on @valtron’s part, as he had neglected to implement the service WLM 8.x specifically uses for sending a newly added contact’s status to you until he had realized such action had worked that way. This also explains why this problem doesn’t happen on MSN Messenger 7.5 and below. At the moment, @valtron hasn’t pushed the fix server-side yet, but best we let him take his time.
Is WLM 2009 - 2012 support being implemented, and if not, why?
Oh boy, do we get this one a lot, and we mean, A LOT.
The answer is no, but this won’t be the case forever. However, it will be for a good while. The reason is actually very simple. We are unsure about this behaviour occurring on WLM 2011 and 2012, but on WLM 2009, specifically, it doesn’t even attempt to connect to the core MSN/WLM server (MSNP), regardless of where it points to. However, this isn’t a bug in the software, as some people have gotten different errors when logging in with WLM 2009 and the Escargot modifications, which I think has something to do with Microsoft account validation, and the WLM 2009 connection tests work flawlessly. So we are basically stumped on how WLM 2009 works at the moment. That doesn’t mean we aren’t working hard on it, though, and we’re still trying to find a solution to the problem to this day.
Escargot boots me off and it takes me longer than usual to log in or I can't log in at all. Any reason why?
Assuming that you haven’t botched the patching procedures before logging in, I explain why in this thread.
I can't connect to the Escargot service at all, regardless of the server's state. Any way to fix this?
If you’re experiencing this problem, it could be one out of many things:
- The server is down completely.
- Your network connection isn’t working.
- If you’re using 5.0 - 8.5 on WIndows XP, then make sure that it has the latest root certificates. If you don’t have the latest root certificates or if you’re unsure about it, @TReKiE made this lovely guide on how to update them..
- However, if you’re using 7.5 on Windows XP or 8.x on Vista and above, it will take some time for it to cooperate and connect to Escargot. Just keep on logging in until you see your contact list.
- In Russia, the government has sadly blocked the Google App Engine, the engine that powers the deployment servers @valtron uses to host Escargot, just to block one app, Telegram. This also affected other sites and services unrelated to Telegram that utilized the Google App Engine, but for the sake of this FAQ, let’s just say that Escargot was also affected by this overblown ban. You’re better off either using a VPN and connect to Escargot that, or not using Escargot at all.
Is there any way for me to use MSN Messenger/Escargot on my phone?
For you guys that tend to talk to people on the go, there was an official WLM app for iOS and a few third-party MSN Messenger apps for those using Android devices and Java-based cellphones, but those require XMPP gateways that we haven’t implemented yet (and possibly have no interest in doing at the moment).
Plus, the iOS app has the same issue that every other licensed iOS app has in existence: encrypting the main application module. There is documentation on how to decrypt these beasts, but they’re incomplete in terms of utilities we can use, since everyone else on the dev team except for @enhanox don’t have a suitable Macintosh computer to decrypt and re-encrypt the iOS modules with.
Luckily, if you happen to have an Android device laying around, some people on the dev team have looked into an app named Mercury Messenger that connects to the core MSN/WLM servers rather than rely on gateways, and it does pretty good for an Android app. See this thread to download the modified versions of the app these team members released for you to connect onto Escargot: Mercury Messenger for Android with Escargot support. Now you can enjoy MSN Messenger wherever, whenever! (again, for those using Android. Better wait, iOS and Java phone users. )
When I use Mercury Messenger with the "MSNP11" setting, it does not connect and times out. Any way to fix this?
Now, I know, this issue is two months old, but just in case anyone is still experiencing this issue, try logging in with the
MSNP15 setting. It seems to work right now with Mercury Messenger.
Will Escargot implement ads to fill in the placeholder ad window on MSN/WLM or just place ads up in general?
Will Escargot open up a Patreon?
Firstly, no, Escargot will definitely NOT place up actual ads. Microsoft’s legal department will notice that @valtron’s making money off their IP (intellectual property; basically the legal way of saying stuff someone/something owns), and eventually cease-and-desist him, shutting down Escargot and kicking us all back to square one. We don’t want that, do we?
Although I did have the idea of placing up mock ads for MSN/WLM to display. Obviously, they’re just for show and not for monetary gain, though.
As for a Patreon, that isn’t really a bad idea, but @valtron has a steady cash flow to support the fees that come with deployment servers, so unless things get really dire in terms of financial support, a Patreon won’t do much right now.
And just to address this one hot issue:
I'm being added to these random annoying group chats/multi-user conversations that I don't have any control over of blocking! Is there anything I can do?
This isn’t specific to Escargot, and either way, this is beyond our control, as this is done by our very own userbase. The least you can do is block any suspected owners of these group chats/multi-user conversations, and if that isn’t enough for you, make sure that your privacy options only allow people you add on your contact list to talk to you, as described in this thread.
Anyways, that should satisfy your burning questions about Escargot. If any more arise, I’ll add them onto this thread, and if any are outdated, they’ll be removed.
Enjoy your day, and remember, what’s old is new again…