Windows Live Messenger Unable To Connect With Error Code 80040200

Today I came across this issue when trying to sign in to Windows Live Messenger.

Everyone I talked to was able to sign in, though, so I tried another account and was also able to sign in.

Binging around, I found several blog posts pointing to a post in the Messenger Support blog with the solution to this problem. In my case (Windows 7 x64) the solution would be to remove the %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows Live Contacts (usually C:\Users\<Windows Logon name>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Contacts) folder.

Instead of removing the folder, I thought of renaming it to avoid removing my contacts for all account that were able to sign in. When I tried it, I got an error stating the the folder was already being used by another application.

Since I had Windows Live Mail open and assumed it uses the same contact store, I closed it and was able to sign in to messenger with no problems.

As a developer and architect, I find it disturbing that such errors are presented to the user. The message hinted that there was a problem signing in to the server and, as it turned out, it was a problem with only one account for only one Windows user in only one machine.

So, developers and architects out there (me included), always give the user an error message meaningful to what problem he/she is running into. Adding technical data to help support is nice but should be expressly accessed by the user (Windows Live Messenger got that part right).

Windows Live Writer Technical Preview

Today Windows Live Writer released a technical preview that includes new and improved features.

From what I’ve seen so far, I like:

  • Revised main toolbar: Blog selection, help and colorize are now on the right.
  • Excel like tabs for view switching. No more selecting a drop down menu to select a view.
  • Improved category control with search/filtering.

I don’t like:

  • Having a predefined set of languages for spell checking. And Portuguese is not one of them.
  • It’s still a pain to change the the language for spell checking.
  • There’s no predefined language setting for each account.

Windows Live Does Care About Users

At least, Windows Live Search does.

After my post about the way non English speakers are treated by Windows Live, I've been contacted by a Program Manager from Live Search and an Int'l Lead Program Manager.

As it turned out, I had my Live Search settings to display the pages in "Portuguese (Brasil)". This means that everything is working fine with Live Search - correct display setting (pt-BR) for the correct market (pt-PT).

They might want to check the spelling for the Brazilian version though. In Portuguese, country names can have gender or not. It might look odd to not use a gender when it should but it's definitely wrong to use one when it shouldn't be used or to use the wrong one.

The problem with the Brazilian version is that it's always using the contraction of the preposition de (from in English) with the definite article o (masculine form of the English the) which makes do (da is the feminine version). This looks OK with Brazil (masculine) but looks odd with Portugal (no gender) or France (feminine).

I'm no language expert but I don't think there's a rule for when using a gender and which one should be used (it might even differ between Portugal and Brazil). I guess they would need a definition table for that.

The Portuguese version uses only the preposition de without the contraction with a definite article. And in this case it doesn't look odd at all.

Now I feel like a first class citizen, at least in Windows Live Search.

I still think that Google's approach is simplier and better. I just don't use it because I sold my soul to Microsoft (as I've been told many times).

Why Does Windows Live Insist In Treating Non English Speaking Users As 2nd (or 3rd) Class Users


I'm Portuguese. So, I have my web browser language settings set up as "pt-PT; en-US". I always thought that meant that I want Portuguese (Portugal) content if available; otherwise I want English (U.S.) content.

With these settings, when I browse to http://msdn.microsoft.com I get the general U.S. English content and a nice section of Portuguese (Portugal) content (Announcements).

In some other places of the enormous microsoft.com I usually get Portuguese (Brasil) when no Portuguese (Portugal) content is available (like MSDN Magazine articles). I can live with that because I can always change some setting (even if it's in the URL) to get the content in English (U.S.).

But with Windows Live it's way different.

Let's start with Search. If I want to use Windows Live Search (http://search.live.com/) I get redirected to http://www.live.com/?searchonly=true&mkt=pt-BR which is very useful if I'm looking, say, for a washing machine (máquina de lavar). I get all those nice links for shops where to buy a washing machine but I can't get there because Windows Local Live can't get me driving directions to get across the Atlantic Ocean (Google Maps gives me driving directions with the caveat that I have to get wet).

If I do not want to get across the Atlantic Ocean, I still have a check box to choose "Only from the Portugal" (exact translation) or "Only in Portuguese (Brasil)". But if I want English (U.S.) I need to know the URL switch "mkt=en-US". Google, on the other hand, acknowledges the fact that I'm Portuguese (from Portugal) and always redirects me to Google Portugal and doesn't confuse me with a Brazilian user. Even if I go to Google Brasil I can choose to see it in my Portuguese or there's. In either cases, there's a distinction between language and location. I can search Portuguese content in either cases but I can choose content in Portugal or Brazil depending on the site. Also, in both sites, I have a link to go to the main international site.

I saw this nice search box in a blog and I thought it would look nice in my blog. I followed the Get my own Search Box! link and found out that "the page I was looking for was not found". Why? Because my main browser language is not "en-US", that's why.

Windows Live Writer beta 2 is out and I tried to get it but couldn't ("mkt=en-US" doesn't work there). The same thing with the Windows Live Messenger 8.5 beta. Fortunately, Scott give direct links before I had found out I needed to change my browser's main language.

Now I'm happily blogging with Windows Live Writer beta 2, but although I run an en-US version of Windows, I have my regional settings set to pt-PT and, to get spell checking for English I have to use this trick.

Sometimes it's not just about how good your are, it's also about how good you treat your users.