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

The answer is no. We originally had plans to make it so that MSN users could use their real Microsoft accounts and access their contacts and Microsoft services with ease, but due to the new direction we're going with for Escargot, which is making all frontends global along with accounts access to them, it's next to impossible to put those plans into motion for technical reasons. We probably won't be going back to this subject.

Regardless, we'd recommend you to use an actual e-mail address than make one up (which people have done). It'll be useful for when you want to reset your password for any reason as Escargot will attempt to send you an e-mail with a link to a password reset page in order to verify the person requesting the reset is the person that owns the account. This won't be possible with emails that aren't actually registered on a mail service.

Is Escargot being actively developed on?

Development is sporadic, and our team as of current is very small and we barely have time to do any sort of major stuff right now. However, other frontends (Yahoo! Messenger, IRC, AIM, XMPP) might be coming soon. Some even have functional proof-of-concepts.

The server is completely open source and contributions are welcome would be greatly appreciated. Be sure to check out the master branch for the newest code, with the stable code being used in production servers hosted on the live branch.

Will Escargot support other dead IM clients?

Yes! In fact, a Yahoo! Messenger frontend is in the works (and mostly working, with caveats). We also have plans for other frontends.

I can't log on to Escargot with MSN Messenger 1.0 - 4.7!

Patch the affected version of MSN with this .reg file. If you're not using versions 4.7.2005 - .3001 (a.k.a. not the 4.7 builds we offer for download; and to check your version go to "Help -> About Windows Messenger" on the Messenger window and check the parentheses-encased x.x.xxxx string to see what build you use), make sure your account is configured with old MSN support enabled before logging in. If it isn't already then make an account and check the "Old MSN Support" checkbox during registration or initiate a password reset on an existing account and do the same there, assuming you signed up with a real email. The 4.7 builds previously mentioned above go the way of MSN 5 and 6 and utilize secure authentication rather than the MD5-based authentication previous versions used. This means you'll have to go follow the patching instructions for MSN Messenger 5.0 - 6.2 and apply them to your client (if you're using Windows XP or Vista, then follow this guide before proceeding to log in).

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?

This is a bug, and has been mostly fixed (except for edge cases; WLM 8+'s "protocols" are a mess), but the fixes haven't been deployed yet.

Is WLM 2009 - 2012 support being implemented?

For WLM 2009, yes, and support for it is complete as well, albeit not live yet. We're still working out the kinks of rolling it out to the public. Bare with us people!

WLM 2011 and 2012 have been looked into before and we're certain that'll be a massive undertaking due to how much the protocol had been overhauled by then. Patching it will also be a tricky feat our current contributors aren't willing to tackle yet. Don't count on support for either coming any time soon, but we will consider it in the future.

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?

For the time being, this is because the server is either overloaded (CPU throttle) or its socket listener is acting up and the services have to be restarted. We hope to address the first issue by federating Escargot's server communication in the future.

Is there any way for me to use MSN Messenger/Escargot on my iOS/Android/dumbphone?

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 or other custom gateways that we haven't implemented yet (and possibly have no interest in doing at the moment). The iOS IPAs for the WLM app currently only support MSNP18 and MSNP21(?), which we obviously don't support yet and we're not sure how patching would go with that.

Luckily, if you happen to have an Android device laying around, some people on our team have looked into an app named Mercury Messenger that connects to the core MSN/WLM service through methods we support as of now, and it while it can get spotty on modern Android versions it runs decently well. Download the patched APK.

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.

Will Escargot implement ads to fill in the placeholder ad window on MSN/WLM or just place ads up in general?

No actual ads, as in ads that'd make us any sort of money, on WLM itself or otherwise. That's a surefire way for the legal teams of Microsoft or whatever other company that owns a messaging service we happen to support to have reason to C&D us and put 3 years of hard work down the drain. We don't want that, do we?

We're planning on putting up several MSN text ads our community made in our next update, but they aren't for profit - they're either free promotion for other projects or links to Escargot downloads and pages (some that don't even exist yet ).

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.

Will Escargot open up a Patreon/take donations?

There are no plans for this at the moment.

Hosting fees are manageable right now (mostly paying for bandwidth for the downloads), but if we ever do something like this, we'll probably start by accepting cryptocurrency donations.