Windows Live Messenger error

November 15, 2010

For the past two days, I’ve had a ‘You can still chat, but some features might not be available because of a connection problem’ pink error message on Windows Live Messenger (I’m using version 2009, build 14.0.8089.726 in case it matters).

Everything else I do on the internet appears to be working fine, so this message made me curious. What features? What connection problem? ‘Might not be available’ — or might be? What’s gone wrong?

Well, there’s not a lot that came up on a Google search for this one, but all the search results I got were from the past few days and all say that Microsoft has disabled clickable links in Live Messenger 2009 because of some malicious worm (or similar).

Fair enough.

But why on earth doesn’t the error message say that it’s the links that are disabled? Why make users worry about their internet connection when a clear statement of the issue could put their minds to rest? Live Messenger is not some obscure, niche software used only by a few — it’s used by millions of ordinary people around the world, many of whom might get anxious when reading this message.

How to fix this message? Reword it so that it states clearly and simply what the problem is. For example:

You can still chat, but we’ve disabled ‘live’ links for a while — you won’t be able to click a link to go directly to the web page.

I’m sure my wording could be improved, but at least it tells the user where the issue lies (unlike the generic ‘some features’, ‘might not’, and ‘a connection problem’ of the original error message).

PLEASE NOTE: I do not work for Microsoft and I don’t know how to contact anyone there. I don’t know when this issue will be fixed, and I have no control over any of it. All I wanted to do in this post was highlight an error message that told you nothing and offer suggestions to software developers as to how a meaningless error message — such as this one from Microsoft — could be improved. So please don’t ask me how to get rid of the pink message — I don’t know how, but I assume that when Microsoft fixes it AND you install the relevant update, the message will go. And no, I don’t know when the update is coming out.

Update 2 December 2010: When I turned on my computer this morning and connected to Live Messenger, the pink message had gone! I don’t know if links now work or not (I haven’t tested them yet), but the message is gone.

Update 3 December 2010: It’s back :-(


  1. Oh Rhonda, you funny old modernist, you.

    What about a good old “Error 4320918” message ?

    Where’s your sense of tradition ?

  2. Thanks for this blog. Earlier today my PC locked up, and as a result I had to hard-reboot. When I came back, links were’t working in MSN. I didn’t get the error this blog is about, but it was worrying me, thinking I got a virus or something, and the lack of hyperlinks was a symptom. I ran a scan and got nothing, and then went into my MSN settings and turned off clickable links, then back on to see if that’d help. However, right after I turned them off, that pink message saying there may be a problem with my connection came up.

    It’s nice to know this isn’t limited to me at least, although still annoying because I’m someone who practically relies on hyperlinks in MSN. Hurry up, microsoft!

  3. I totally agree!
    I just wondered why the links stopped being clickable and thought about checking my settings (maybe I’ve accidentally changed something). But before going to the menus, I saw the pink error message and googled it. That led me here, and I’m relived to know the answer (and angry too about the misleading wording).

    Thank you for posting this,

  4. Gee, wouldn’t it have been nice if Microsoft had disabled live/clickable links in MSN Live Messenger back in the days of the Akbot worm/virus. Ever since that problem, I’ve disabled live/clickable links in messenger. It’s rather easy to forge/spoof a hyperlink.

    I agree that a more precisely worded warning would be more beneficial!

  5. Yeah im having this problem right now, had it for a few days. So what do we have to do just sit and wait for them to fix the problem? Is there nothing we can do?

  6. I’ve been having the same problem.
    I am also using the same version.

  7. Thanks for this! I have been trying to figure out what it was supposed to mean! Since I have clickable links disabled anyways, I didn’t notice anything different.

    Wonder what the issue is with the clickable links.

  8. Thanks for clearing it up.

    I wonder how many hours have been wasted by millions of Messgener users around the world checking their settings because of a poorly worded message?

  9. Thanks for the clarification – I’ve been noticing the pink message for a few days and thought it was a problem with *my* connection! So its not really a problem at all!! Bl%%dy Microsoft!!

  10. I also started receiving the pink message several days ago. I discovered the so-called “connection problem” was also effecting my Acronis 2011 non-stop backup. It continues to be in pause mode because the software is unable to connect to my Windows Live ID. Just great.

    Any word when Microsoft will have the problem resolved???

  11. OIC.
    I thought it was whining about it being adblock patched or something.

  12. I’ve received this message over the past few months, though at my work due to a proxy server. Never at home. I had version 2011 and noticed nothing was updating with no message. Knowing Microsoft does submit buggy software and then updates later, I rolled back to 2009 yesterday and immediately got this message. Thanks for providing this information as I began thinking my router or firewall was hosed. Some additional notes are if you have 2011, there is no message at all and in both versions the display pictures do not update as well.

  13. So You notified me about the problem thank you. Now how can i turn the pink box off? Because i don’t need to be reminded everytime i logon!

  14. Sorry, I don’t work for Microsoft, so it’s totally out of my control.

  15. How do i get rid of this pink message on msn saying ‘you can still chat, but some features might not be available because of a connection problem’
    It’s bugging me and i don’t know how to get rid of it.
    Or how do i email Microsoft for free?

  16. Again, I don’t work for Microsoft. I have no idea when they’ll fix this and have no control over it.

  17. well I have the same problem too which brought me here but the person I am chatting with on MSN said they didnt have that problem or receive that error? so now Im really confused…lol

  18. Hi Jack

    It’s possible they have the 2011 version (see earlier comment), which doesn’t appear to have the message.

  19. I’m one of the many people who have been googling this issue in complete confusion. :P Thanks a lot for this post. Now that I know the issue, I can stop worrying.

    I very nearly updated to the latest Messenger version in an attempt to fix the issue, but since it isn’t that big of a deal maybe I’ll forget about it. I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to updating stuff that isn’t broken, heh.

    BTW, in order to update to the latest Messenger, apparently I need to update tons of other stuff…lame! I call shenanigans on MSN. Perhaps this is just an attempt to get people to upgrade and quit using the old client *conspiracy theory* ;)

  20. Thank you for posting this. I have noted that I am not receiving invitations for me to add to msn. Also, when I look at options, there are all these contacts now that I can theoretically delete permanently, but in practice they don’t go away. Before contacts could only be moved to the blocked list in options unless I was deleted and blocked first. What is more, when I add someone, the contact appears as blocked, but when I click on the person’s attributes, the contact is not blocked. To unblock, I first must block and THEN unblock the contact. / I am not sure this symptoms are related to the pink message. I do know that msn got all screwed up when it began attempting a Facebook time of linkage, with profiles. I have blocked these profiles as much as I could. I do not want or need to advertise who my contacts “friends” are. I do not use Facebook and other virtual community pages as too much information is made public.

  21. I am getting similar message in pink and i am unable to accept web cam,if opposite person tries to accept cam it says the person has rejected to accept cam.can i get help with this please.

  22. I had switched to the new version of Windows Live 2011 but switched back as I could not do a video call as my son has XP and the new 2011 version is not compatible with older OS only Vista and Windows 7. Once I switched by to the 2009 Windows LIve video calls work great. But I do get the pink message now. Oh well what can you do.

  23. Thanks for the post, saves me the worry also.

  24. I only theorize this, but I believe that this issue is caused on the sole basis MSN wants us to update to the latest version. Why? I’m not sure. Perhaps they profit from this.
    Some years ago, those with an older version of MSN would not be able to login; For they were forced to download the latest, stated by an window error.
    Perhaps, people complained too much about that, that they removed that idea all together; and figured, they’d make it so the person felt they had to update to the latest. People will yell at you if you block them off from the bridge, but if you lower the power down each down until the foot goes off, they don’t go back to it.

    I also have this problem, which is why I theorized this.

  25. If you want to fix this issue and don’t want to upgrade to (what I think is the worst Messenger version ever) then go download ResHack (you can find it by googling ResHack or Resource Hacker.

    Here’s what to do:
    First you will need to signout and close messenger.

    Download the file and unzip it. Run the exe file. If you’re on Vista/Win7 you may have to right click and “run as admin” or it may not save the file at the end.

    In resource hacker click File and then open and find “msnmsgr.exe” in the Windows Live folder. Once open find “Version Info” on the left panel, expand the folder and expand the next folder called “1”. Highlight the “1033” icon and all the version info should appear on the right.

    Find where it say Prodcutversion & Fileversion (there’s two of each on the page) and you should see your version number as something like this 14.0.8117.0416

    Will vary depending on your version of MSN. Just change the number 14 to 15 so it looks like this 15.0.8117.0416

    Then click on Compile. Then click on File in the menu and save. You can now start up messenger and your issues (notification and links not working) should be solved.

    Hope this helps.

  26. Superb, Chris! That worked a treat and solved the problem I was having of Messenger no longer remembering my username or password.


  27. I got the updated Windows Live Messenger update and I’m still getting that error message. At least I know nothing is wrong with the program itself.

    Thanks for posting this though.

  28. Just FYI, there is an alternate solution to faking the version number as well:

  29. Thanks for posting this…. Takes a big worry off my mind ( Thought it to be some virus or networking issues)

  30. Another issue that came up with this as well is the use of a webcam, suddenly its not working with Messenger. I had noticed early the clickable links issue. Now to solve the webcam issue. Can’t be at a worse time for me. I am not happy but what can you do. Microsoft cares?

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