Windows Live Messenger no longer connects - Router Issue

Hi Experts,

This is an odd one - in the last few years we've been on BT broadband but using our own Netgear router that I set up. No config changes have taken place on the router in that time. Recently none of the 4 computers in the house could connect to Windows Live Messenger. All other web-based things work fine. All websites load. Our netbook is WinXP, one laptop is Vista and the other two are Windows 7. None connect. If I take my laptop to any other wifi zone then messenger connects quickly.

The error message is usually that the service is not available and to try later. Codes like 81000494 and 81000490 - unable to sign-in usually show.

In the WAN setup of the router I've changed the MTU size to 1400 as many blogs and posts recommend.

I've tried and followed ALL the steps here (literally every single one!):

I went into the WLM setup, looked under Connection settings. It said:
You're not connected to the Messenger Service.
You're connected to the Internet through a network connection.
I clicked advanced settings > and the TEST button next to TCP and it said
Connecting to the server...
Connected, verifying ability to send data now...
Success, you can connect to the Windows Live Messenger service

So everything looks good, it just tries to connect for a minute or so an then fails. I'm at an absolute loss.

I know Trillians a good alternative but it's not the solution I want. My mother isn't computer savvy and it took forever to get her used to messenger so she wants to stick with it to talk to the grandkids and family abroad.

Can anyone offer any suggestions?

Many thanks!

/ Tobzzz
LVL 11
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Hey Tobzzz. That does sound like an odd issue. Since it seems to have happened to all 4 computers at once all signs point to either a software that was updated on all 4 that could be blocking the traffic, or an issue with the router.

Do you by chance have a laptop that you have brought with you that you know works in another location? That would be an easy way to rule out the router. Another quick way would be to reset the device to factory defaults and do a quick basic configuration to get them back online. Test afterwards and see if anything had gone crazy in the config to block access.

I don't have BT Broadband available in my area but a quick search brought up something called BT Familiy Protection that is offered through them. One of the features is the ability to block certain types of traffic such as live messenger. Any chance that this service could be in place at your mother's house?
tobzzzAuthor Commented:
Many thanks for your reply...

I visited recently with my thinkpad, I'm not on BT broadband and connect fine here but when I visited my mothers I got exactly the same issue as them. This is why I believe it is router specific.

No, The McAfee family protection option is certainly not in place.
All symptoms do seem to be pointing back to the router.

I think most Netgear devices allow you to backup the config. I think the easiest way to troubleshoot the router would be to back up the config, reset it to factory defaults, and do a quick config with the bare essentials to get it back online. Test live messenger afterwards.

Perhaps while you are at it check the firmware version and update that as well.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Big Business Goals? Which KPIs Will Help You

The most successful MSPs rely on metrics – known as key performance indicators (KPIs) – for making informed decisions that help their businesses thrive, rather than just survive. This eBook provides an overview of the most important KPIs used by top MSPs.

tobzzzAuthor Commented:
Are there any configuration suggestions before the router needs to be factory reset and reconfigured? This is quite a bold move and I will have to talk my father through it so if there are config updates/changes that can be tried first, this would be the ideal.... Thanks!
I don't know what file type the NetGear router can export the file to. If perhaps it can be exported to a plain .txt file you could post it here and we could give it a look to see if anything stuck out.

If you can get the model of router, and firmware version, I might be able to find screenshots of the configuration screens and perhaps get some ideas as to where to look.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Recently I had the same problem the only solution was to uninstall and then reinstall Windows Live Essentials.
If you have normal internet connection but cannot connect to WLM only
resetting the router to factory defaults doesnt seem to be the solution, the problem is within WLM
to reset your router get a pin and stick it in that hole until all lights turn off.
all you need to know is your isp user name and password it's  the same as your email account

one point to remember
WL Messenger uses windows live mail, together
are the emails  functioning okay?
You should see your windows live mail account up the top of WL mail and your signed in there
 try signing into hotmail from the web page to reactivate your cookies
go over t the top and sign in
There is also Ebuddy unlike trillian you just use a web page  no download
very simple and log into WLM

tobzzzAuthor Commented:
@techzter: thanks, my father has a technician coming on Friday to set up the BT home router in place of our NetGear so let's see if that cures it.
@ve3ofa: I reinstalled WLM on 2 machines, same thing happens afterwards.
@Merete: My dad uses WL Mail for his work emails (a POP/SMTP address) and this works just fine. Skype works fine too as a messenger. All websites work. Just WLM won't connect and as I said, in the config of WLM it says it has no problem connecting but when you come to connect it simply won't. A real head scratcher!

@ALL: let's see if the new router fixes the issue. I'll let you know. Many thanks!
    Thank you for the update. Keep us posted on how things progress. :) I am fairly certain that will correct the issue.
Craig BeckCommented:
Might sound a bit pointless, but check the time/date on your PC.

tobzzzAuthor Commented:
@craig: thanks and no it doesn't, stranger things have happened but the problem is the same on 4 separate machines with different O/S so I can eliminate that thought.
tobzzzAuthor Commented:
New BT home router fitted and resolved WLM issue so some setting in the Netgear router was blocking it somehow, I guess I'll never know what... :-(

Thank you to everyone who contributed.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Chat / IM

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.