Posted by: kurtsh | June 17, 2007

INFO: Using MSN’s client on Windows Vista

I use the MSN dial up client for personal email on an MSN account.

Why do I use MSN’s client?  Well, there’s a number of reasons, but the biggest of them is the SPAM filtering.  There’s very little software out there that does a better job at filtering out the SPAM in email.  It’s just really really good, and it leverages both the server-side SPAM filtering that Hotmail and other online services has along with local client-based filtering that appears to be based on downloaded rules from MSN.

The only problem was, MSN didn’t appear to work on Windows Vista.  That’s right.  Our own consumer mail client seemed to have problems running on Windows Vista.  I had to secretly use my MSN mail from within a Virtual PC virtual machine with Windows XP.

Normally this wouldn’t really bother me but I discovered 3 rather ANNOYING things about doing this:

  1. FREEZE DRY FAILURES
    Many times, I would ‘pause’ the virtual machine session (instead of saving the changes back into the VM) which would save the memory state of the virtual machine on disk to be reloaded precisely as I had last left it, with the anticipation of coming back to the currently running VM later.  This would make it very fast to stop the VM and restart the VM at a later date.  The problem was the ‘freeze dry’ or ‘pausing’ process would fail a lot.  I to this day don’t know what caused this but I do know that I’d have to completely reboot the VM again.
  2. VIRTUAL MACHINE BOOT TIMES
    As a result I’d have to completely reboot the VM every time I wanted to use it.  This took 3 minutes or so which was annoying.  I should have to reboot a VM and login, then bring up the MSN mail client and login to that… just to check my mail.
  3. STORAGE CONSUMPTION
    The VM took a lot of space.  It consumed some 5GB and even if I compressed it, it would expand out to 5GB again.  Really annoying.

HOW TO GET THE MSN CLIENT TO RUN ON WINDOWS VISTA
Fortunately, after spending some time ONLINE with MSN support I learned the following things about the MSN client:

  • ONLY MSN 9.5 SUPPORTED ON WINDOWS VISTA
    The first important point is that MSN dialup client is in fact supported on Windows Vista.  There’s NO indication of this except for this page:  http://membercenter.msn.com/download.aspx?lm=en-us
    Note that this is also where you will install the "latest" version of MSN client. (9.5 currently)
  • PREVIOUS VERSIONS OF MSN & INSTALLER FAIL
    No matter what you do, NO previous version of MSN or it’s installer will run.  They will always fail no matter what compatibility mode or what administrative mode you use.  It might work with SoftGrid but I haven’t tried that.
  • MUST UNINSTALL ANY PREVIOUS VERSION
    If you attempt to install a previous version, you can not use the automatic software update feature of the installer.  Normally, you can go to Add/Remove Programs and run setup to update the software version.  This doesn’t work at all because the installer from previous revisions is incompatibile with Windows Vista.  Thus the whole MSN installation has to be uninstalled first.

Net net:  Uninstall any version of MSN that you have on Windows Vista and go to: http://membercenter.msn.com/download.aspx?lm=en-us .  From here you should be able to install the latest version of MSN client on Windows Vista and it should work fine. 


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