FAQ

Exactly what is Escargot and what is its goal?

What began as a simple MSN 7 server developed by a lone hero, the project has now grown through leaps and bounds and is now focused on a total revival of the MSN Messenger and Windows Live experience.

Is Escargot being actively developed on?

Yes, we now have a dedicated team working on the project nearly full time thanks to massive support from our sister project NINA.

Is Escargot related to MessengerGeek?

Just to stress this clearly, no we are not related to nor necessarily condone the actions originating from MessengerGeek, both the blog and the forum, nor is the individual behind those web sites involved in any of our activity. We recommend that you look at our Discord server and forums instead.

Is this service safe to use? Are my chats secured, too?

Your passwords are stored encrypted.

The site and web components of our server use HTTPS. This ensures that when you perform sensitive actions, like logging in or managing your account, it's carried out securely and out of hackers reach 24/7. This is also utilized by clients capable of secure login, but mileage may vary on if it'll work for you depending on how old the system you're working with is.

Right now, our options only allow for unencrypted communications to occur. We know this is a concern for some people, and for now there aren't any easy options for sending encrypted messages through MSN.

How do I get Switcher to run in debug mode?

To get Switcher to run in debug mode and log what's going on, make sure the client and its components are not running, go into the configuration files for each patched component the client utilizes, which is usually the main executable of the client (for WLM 2009 users at the moment, wlcomm.exe's configuration can be ignored) and paste this section in the beginning of each configuration file:

[debug]
enable = 1
hooks = 1

Save each configuration file and restart the client with administrative privileges (so that the log file can be created and written to). You'll then be able to get a basic description of what's going on with Switcher. If you want to disable debugging, you can remove the section entirely (or an easier option, set the enable and hooks values to 0).

If you're having issues with your client but don't know what's going on, then you can grab the log files for each of the client's patched components (and the client's native debug logs if possible) and send us an message over at our Discord with the log files attached, or post about it on our forums.

What are group chats, and how do I use them?

Group chats are a new Escargot feature, and they simply let you create persistent group chats that you can invite other members to. Members in a group chat can have one of the three available roles that give them a certain amount of access:

Member
View accepted members, see who's online, block or leave the group chat, and message other members.
Administrator
Member privileges, plus viewing pending members, managing accepted members, and the ability to invite others to the group chat.
Owner
Member and administrator privileges. In our implementation, administrators and owners are essentially the same, but a major difference with an Owner is that there can only be one in a group chat. Changing the owner requires transferring ownership to someone else.

Users can create group chats, invite others to them, manage pending invites, see who's online, block group chats, and message others in them. On the site, you can also manage your invites and if you're an administrator or owner, view and manage members. Only versions of WLM 2009 and higher support everything up to creation, invitations, blocking, presence, messaging, and departure (at least if you aren't an owner). Member management on the client, however, is expected to be accessed from a web site, so you'll have to log on here to perform that.

Does Escargot have a Patreon/take donations?

Yes, due to ever-increasing hosting costs and helping our development team, we have both a Patreon and other donation options available. They come with various awards, and almost all come with a role on our Discord server.

Do I need to register a Microsoft account to use Escargot?

No. Microsoft accounts do not have access to Escargot, you must create an account specifically for the Escargot service. If you haven't already, why not register now?

After I added someone to my contact list on WLM 2009, they don't get a notification from me stating that I've added them. Why does this happen?

This can occur for two reasons:

  1. Starting with WLM 2009, the ability to be alerted when someone adds you to their contact lists is disabled by default. To enable this setting, go to Tools -> Options..., then in the "Privacy" section, check "Alert me when other people add me to their contact list" and click on OK.
  2. The decision to display contact notifications is determined from web services, and from our tests, the criteria used to determine whether to display a notification about a new contact is pretty involved and specific. This either means that one, our implementation might not be accurate and could miss something to allow the notification to appear 100% of the time, or two, if the same person adds you again a second time, then the notification won't be displayed again (unless you clear its cache).
Winks glitch out when playing, only play sound, or don't play at all.

See this wiki article for instructions on how to fix this.

Connecting with Mercury Messenger results in a timeout error. Any way to fix this?

When setting up your account on Mercury for the first time or accessing your account's settings, set MSNP15 for the protocol before logging in. The default for this option chosen by Mercury is MSNP21 and as of writing we do not support that protocol yet. The MSNP11 option technically should work but is broken for unknown reasons so we recommend you avoid that for the time being.

Does MSN Messenger for Mac work on Escargot?

MSN for Mac 1.0 and 2.0 have been tested to work (on Mac OS 9) and is patchable with some changes to its binary resources (or HOSTS too). Messenger:mac (macOS) 3.0.0 will work also, but MSN for Mac (Classic Mac OS) 2.5.x and Messenger:mac versions 3.5.1 and up have or are speculated to only use older SSL for login (to reiterate, our server only supports TLS 1.0 and up right now). For now, this issue won't be resolved as it isn't that important. Also considering that we believe almost all macOS versions of Messenger:mac are 32-bit and with the recent editions of the OS exclusively supporting 64-bit applications, there'd be no use for the clients in present day anyhow.

MSN Messenger does not work on Windows 9x, 2000, XP, or Vista

MSN Messenger did not support Windows 95 past version 5, but with us not currently supporting the Windows 95 version of MSN 5 your options for using MSN on Windows 95 are limited to versions 1 - 4 (in extension this also means you'll need an account with old MSN support enabled to log in). While versions 5.0 - 7.0 supported Windows 98 and up, our patches we developed for those versions sadly aren't compatible with Windows 9x and 2000 and currently only support XP and above.

Plus our current predicament with our HTTPS setup would make it near impossible to use them on Windows 2000 without fully upgrading parts of your installation, and it'd also make support on Windows 98 virtually non-existent as our TLS 1.0 setup does not support any ciphers Windows 98 does.

On XP and Vista, for any version from 5.0 and above (or 4.7 builds .2005 - .3001 and Windows Messenger 5.1), there'll just have to be some extra setup (and patience) involved. Read this thread from our board for more information.

I can't log on with MSN Messenger, but my credentials are correct.

If you are using versions 4.7.2005 - 3001 or 5.0 - 14.0 (WLM 2009) on Windows XP or Vista, then you probably either didn't configure the system properly (see "MSN Messenger does not work on Windows 9x, 2000, XP, or Vista"), or MSN is being finicky. If it's the latter, then you'll have to try logging in again until you see your contact list.

There's also an issue with older versions of Messenger (up to 8.5 we believe) where passwords in password boxes are shortened to 8 characters, which might be an inconvenience to people using longer passwords. If this occurs, then you can either change your password to something with 8 characters or less, or create a throwaway account that has a password of that length.