What's old is new again

Escargot is a custom server that makes old versions of MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger work again.

"But why?"

Why not? MSN Messenger was once the ultimate king of instant messaging and social networking programs, in a time before Facebook, Skype, Discord, or Twitter. But then Microsoft bought Skype in 2012 and thought that owning two seperate chat services was redundant, so MSN was shut down. Which is a shame, 'cause even though it might not have the latest features, it still is a good IM platform. Now several people are working on reverse engineering a server for every major MSN version, and you can chat with people all over the world right now!

"But how?"

Escargot is a custom-written server built to recreate the older MSN Messenger server architecture, used back when Microsoft still had the servers running. The code to recreate the servers works for versions of MSN up to 8.5, but (as of writing) support for WLM 2009 is not out yet but is close to being wrapped up and released to the public, and 2011/2012 support hasn't been started on yet, although we anticipate that will be a beast to support. However, all of the code for the server and other services and components that power Escargot is fully open source on GitLab, so feel free to contribute!

Patch status

MSN 1
Supported[1][4]
MSN 2
Supported[1]
MSN 3
Supported[1]
MSN 4
Supported[1]
MSN 5
Supported
MSN 6
Supported
MSN 7
Supported
WLM 8
Supported[2][3]
WLM '09
Not yet
WLM '11
Not yet
WLM '12
Not yet

1. Requires "Old MSN support" option when creating your account.
Beware: MSN 1/2/3/4 do not have secure login and you should only use "Old MSN support" with a throwaway password.

2. Only 8.1.0178 and 8.5 are known to work; others might not.

3. While WLM 8 works on Windows XP, it is ill-advised to use it on that platform in a vanilla setting as it relies on HTTPS for several core functions outside of login (two major ones being group/contact management and roaming profiles) and our current server setup doesn't support enough HTTPS ciphers XP is comfortable with. Refer to this guide for a fix.

4. MSN 1 only supports login on @hotmail.com accounts by design.