Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ 2.1.0


What is aMSN?

What is aMSN?

aMSN is a Microsoft Messenger clone. It allows you to keep in touch with your friends and exchange instant messages and files.

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What do I need to run aMSN?

  • Windows and Mac OS X. aMSN will run right out of the box if you download the official packages, which can be found at
  • Linux. You will need Tcl 8.4 / Tk 8.4 or above in order to run aMSN. These two packages (Tcl & Tk) are usually installed by default on most distributions. These can also be installed as a dependency if your packaging system supports it (rpm, deb, etc.). If for some reason your distribution does not currently provide you with Tcl 8.4 or Tk 8.4, you may download them and follow the installation instructions at

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Where can I get aMSN ?

You can download the packages of aMSN at

For Linux users : You can also get aMSN using your distribution's package management system (apt-get install amsn for debian/ubuntu for example).

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Why are arabic fonts displayed from left to right instead of right to left?

  • Windows: Go to 'Control Panel' → 'Regional and Language Options' → Languages tab, and enable the option "Install files for complex scripts and right-to-left languages"
  • Linux: Installing the Arabic locale should solve this issue.

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I have enabled the traydock icon, but when I minimize aMSN, it is still shown in both the taskbar and the tray. How can I make it display in the tray only?

The first time you will close aMSN with the 'X' button in the main window's border. It should ask you if you want to quit or minimize it to tray. You must choose the 'Minimize to Tray' option if you want it to disappear from the taskbar.

Alternatively, you can also click the "Minimize to Tray" option from the Account menu.

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When I close aMSN's window, it quits instead of minimizing to tray

The first time you will close aMSN with the 'X' button in the main window's border. It should ask you if you want to quit or minimize it to tray. You must choose the 'Minimize to Tray' option if you want it to minimize to the tray.

If you chose 'Quit' and enabled the "Remember my choice" option, it will always quit and will not ask you again. If you want to change this behavior and want it to ask you again so you can change your choice, you will have to do the following procedure :

Press Ctrl-Shift-C from aMsn's main window, a new window titled "Console" will appear in which you can type commands. Type the following and press enter :

  ::config::setKey closingdocks 0

You can now close this new Console window and the next time you close aMSN's main window, it will ask you again to make a choice.

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I don't see the traydock even if I enabled it, what's the problem?

  • Linux: Make sure the file msn/utils/linux/traydock/ exists. If it does not exist, make sure you download an official package of aMSN at:

If you compiled aMSN yourself, please make sure you have the X11 development packages installed and follow this page to compile aMSN correctly.

NOTE: There is no traydock icon on Mac OS X

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Does aMSN run on 64-bit systems?

Yes, many users have been able to run aMSN on 64-bit architectures. However, you will have to compile tcltls by yourself. There isn't a package for x84_64 on the aMSN site so you need to download it from: [1]

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When notify window pops up, the windows taskbar partially hides it, can I fix this?

Yes, you can move the notify window X pixels to the left and Y pixels to the top. You can customize this by modifying the "X Offset" and "Y Offset" values in (menu) 'Account' → 'Preferences' → 'Advanced' → “Offset the position of the notification pop-up.” and clicking “Save” to save your modifications.

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Can I see who blocked me?

No, this feature is no longer available because the block detection bug that was happening in the Microsoft servers has now been fixed.

There is NO safe way to know if someone blocked you

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My jpeg webcam does not currently work, will my jpeg webcam work in the future (example: D-link dsb-c310)?

JPEG webcams support is currently supported since the 0.97 version of aMSN.

If you are using a version prior to 0.97, please update to the latest version of aMSN.

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Why can't I receive acceptable quality images from my contacts using aMSN?

If the image is of a poor quality, it's probably because the other user's webcam is of poor quality. aMSN's quality of the webcam is the same as the official msn client.

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I can't read Chinese or Japanese with aMSN, even after changing the text encoding. Where can I find help?

Please read the documentation about getting SCIM to work with aMSN.

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How do I capture bug report information from a segmentation fault? (LINUX)

Make sure amsn was compiled with debugging symbols, if you installed it using a binary package, you should probably download from source and recompile it. To enable debugging symbols, configure it with : ./configure --enable-debug If you're unable to compile it, then you can still send us information without the debugging symbols. Once it is compiled/installed, go to the directory where you have installed aMSN (example: /usr/share/amsn or /home/yourusername/amsn-0.95/) type:

 $ gdb --args wish amsn
 (gdb) run
 [then when it segfaults, type]
 (gdb) bt
 (gdb) bt full

You will then receive the bug report information. Please report this information to the forums:

How do I capture bug report information from a segmentation fault? (WINDOWS)

Make sure amsn was compiled with debugging symbols, if you installed it using a binary package, you should probably download from source and recompile it. To enable debugging symbols, configure it with : ./configure --enable-debug If you're unable to compile it, then you can still send us information without the debugging symbols, using Dr. Watson. Dr. Watson for Windows is a program error debugger.

The information obtained and logged by Dr. Watson is the information needed by technical support groups to diagnose a program error for a computer running Windows. A text file (Drwtsn32.log) is created whenever an error is detected, and can be delivered to support personnel by the method they prefer. You also have the option of creating a crash dump file, which is a binary file that a programmer can load into a debugger.

If a program error occurs, Dr. Watson will start automatically. To start Dr. Watson, click Start, click Run, and then type drwtsn32. To start Dr. Watson from a command prompt, change to the root directory, and then type drwtsn32.

Please report this text file to the forums:

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I want to report a bug, how do I open the status log and the protocol debugger?

Open your contact list and press the following key combinations :

status log: ctrl + s (Command-S on Mac OS X) protocol debug: ctrl + d

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When I double click "amsn" file from a graphical file browser, like Konqueror or Nautilus, it opens a text editor instead of running aMSN. What shall I do? (LINUX)

aMSN is written in Tcl/Tk, an interpreted language, so the "amsn" file is just a text file with the program code. The file manager might think it's a text file, so it will launch the text editor.

In Konqueror (KDE) or Nautilus (Gnome), running aMSN can be done by right-clicking the “amsn” file and choosing "Open with..." (Konqueror) or "Launch with..." (Gnome), depending on the file browser.

Type "wish". This launches the "amsn" script.

Screenshot 4.5

If you are told the the "wish" command doesn't exist, you need to install Tcl/Tk.

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Sometimes aMSN "hangs", why is this?

When aMSN hangs it's usually a problem with the sound configuration. Perhaps you're playing a sound but the sound card is blocked, and the play command stops until the sound card is available. Try disabling sound or changing the sound command configuration.

If aMSN still hangs, and you are using a 2.6.x kernel, try running aMSN with:

  export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5 && amsn

This command will tell the dynamic linker to use the old thread model. For more information on this issue, see:

If you are on Mac OS X it often happens when you receive a smiley on a chatwindow, it's a known issue.

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I try to run amsn but I get this error: bash: ./amsn: bad interpreter: No such file or directory

You need to install the Tcl/Tk packages, because you need the wish interpreter. If you think you have it, try typing:

  wish /usr/share/amsn/amsn

instead of:


If this works, edit /usr/share/amsn/amsn and change the first line to :


where /usr/bin/wish would be the location of the wish interpreter. You can find out the location of the 'wish' interpreter by typing :

  which wish

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Can I use aMSN behind a proxy server?

Yes, we provide support for HTTP and SOCKS5 proxies.

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I'm using aMSN behind a firewall, or using IP-Masquerade. Sending files won't work, can I fix it?

In this case, the firewall may be blocking incoming connections. File transfers work this way: When you want to send someone a file, you send an invitation with your IP address and a port number. Then the remote client must connect to your IP:port to start the transfer.

The used port is usually 6891, 6892 and so on (first transfer is on port 6891,but if you start a new file transfer while the first one hasn't finished yet, then it will use 6892, and so on).

If you are using a firewall, you must make sure that it allows incoming connections to port 6891 (and next ones if you want to be able to make more than one transfer at the same time).

If you are behind a router, enable port forwarding for ports 6891 to 6900 to your PC's internal IP address.

You can change the port value from the "Connection" tab of the Preferences window.

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With version 0.94 I could see when someone opened a conversation window with me, but since version 0.95 this doesn't happen anymore, why?

Users with MSN7 and later versions of MSN will automatically "open a conversation window" with you as soon as you (or they) connect. It is done automatically because they try to download your display picture. So, as soon as someone connects, the screen was flooded with windows from people just trying to download the display picture. This was annoying, so the feature was removed.

Note also that since Windows Live Messenger 8.0, the user would not join the chat until he sends the first message, so this is a second reason why it is not possible anymore.

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I liked the XXXX skin when using the previous version, but it seems to be incompatible with the latest version... when will it be ?

We don't know yet, check on the skin website or email the author of the skin to obtain more information or to ask him to update his skin to work better with the new version.

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As soon as I try to log on or change aMSN's language, it crashes with the following message: X Error of failed request: BadValue (integer parameter out of range for operation), Major opcode of failed request: 45 (X_OpenFont)

First of all, it may be a font problem: try making aMSN run with a different font (under Account -> Preferences -> Appearance).

Second, you may need to run aMSN using a different encoding (under Account -> Preferences -> Appearance again, utf-8 is a safe choice).

Third, try clearing your font cache with the command:

  fc-cache -fv

Then, make sure your locale (your LC_ALL or LC_CTYPE environment variable) is installed on your system:

  set | grep LC_ 

and make sure the corresponding directories (after the = ) exist on /usr/lib/locale . If they don't, install them according to your distribution.

Finally, if none of the above works, try disabling some FontPath's from /etc/X11/XF86Config or /etc/X11/Xorg.conf until you find out which font path contains problematic fonts, and recreate the fonts.cache , fonts.dir and fonts.scale in that directory.

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I try to run aMSN and it gives this error: Error in startup script: time value too large/small to represent while executing [...] procedure "ConvertLocalToUTC".

Make you sure the file /etc/localtime exists. If it doesn't, link it to /usr/share/zoneinfo/YOUR/TIME/ZONE with: ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/YOUR/TIME/ZONE /etc/localtime

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I'm using Xfce and aMSN doesn't flash when new messages are received in unfocused windows

aMSN attempts to use freedesktop compliant notifications, Xfce currently silently ignores these. However, renaming (or removing) the linflash library will result in it working in Xfce.

  mv /usr/share/amsn/utils/linux/linflash/ /usr/share/amsn/utils/linux/linflash/

Restart aMSN and everything should be working. Rename the file back for it to work correctly under Gnome or KDE.

Note: if you are using a recent SVN version, that file may be located in /usr/local/share/amsn/utils/linux/linflash/ instead.

Note #2: This is fixed in Xfce 4.4.2

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Using aMSN

What are the keyboard shortcuts ?

For and up to date list of keyboard shortcuts, please read the Shortcuts page.

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What does the special icon on the right of the buddies mean?

The icon img/notinlist.png in the buddy list means that the corresponding contact do not have you in his list.

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Can I copy a contact address to the clipboard?

Yes, right click on that contact name on the contact list, then choose "Properties". In the new window, you can copy the email/nickname/personal message of the user.

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Can I copy or open a URL address in a contact's nickname/personal message?

Yes, right click on that contact name on the contact list, then in the pop-up menu, You will have the choice to copy or open any URL in the contact's nickname or personal message.

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How can I set my personal message like in MSN7 ?

The Personal Message (PSM) is the text appearing under your nick. This feature is now available since aMSN 0.96.

To set your PSM, you need to click on the "Account" menu then "Change nick ...", there will be a field to change the PSM.

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How can I access the history of the messages I sent in my chat windows?

If you want to access previous messages you sent in your chat windows you only need to use the Control key with the arrows. It works the same way as in a shell so Ctrl-Up(Command-Up on MacOSX) gives you the previous message sent and Ctrl-Down(Command-Down on Mac OS X), the next one.

See the Shortcuts page for a list of all keyboard shortcuts.

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In the preferences' privacy tab, what do those four lists mean?

There are four lists, known as:

Allow List (AL), Block List (BL), Forward or Contact List (FL) and Reverse List (RL).

AL : This list contains the emails of people who are allowed to see you when you get online and they can also chat with you.

BL : This is the block list, which means it contains the list of people you are blocking. So this means they can't see you when you are online, and they can't chat with you.

FL : This list contains all contacts that are shown on your contact list.

RL : This is the reverse list, it contains the email addresses of people who have you in their list.

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In the preferences' privacy tab, what do the different colors in the contacts mean?

You should notice the colors in the list headers:

  • Allow List: green foreground
  • Block List: red foreground
  • Forward List: red background
  • Reverse List: yellow background

A contact in any list will take a different color depending the lists that contact is contained on:

  • If it's in Allow list, it will have green foreground.
  • If it's in Block list, it will have red foreground.
  • If it's in Forward and Reverse lists, it will have white background.
  • If it's in Forward list, but not in Reverse list, it will have red background.
  • If it's in Reverse list, but not in Forward list, it will have yellow background.
  • If it's not in Forward or Reverse list, it will have a black background.

Let's be a bit more specific:

  • Green font: the contact is able to contact you.
  • Red font: the contact is NOT able to contact you (BLOCKED).
  • White background: the contact has you in their contacts list and they are in yours.
  • Yellow background: the contact has you in their contacts list, but you no longer have them in yours.
  • Red background: the contact is in your contacts list, but you are not in theirs.
  • Black background: the contact has deleted you from their contacts list and you have deleted them from yours.

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I want to add my own custom smileys, how can I do it?

You may add custom smileys (also known as emoticons) by following these steps :

  • Open a chat window of any contact
  • Click the “Insert Emoticon” button found on the chat window (Screenshot 5.1)

Screenshot 5.1

  • Click the “Add new custom smiley” button (Screenshot 5.2)

Screenshot 5.2

  • Type a Description for your emoticon in the “Description” text box (Screenshot 5.3)

Screenshot 5.3

  • Type the Text triggers for your emoticon in the “Text triggers” text box. Text triggers are triggers which display an icon when they are typed and Enter is pressed. (Screenshot 5.3)
example: (test)

When (test) is typed in the chat window and Enter is pressed, the emoticon associated with the (test) Text trigger will be displayed.

  • Browse for the new emoticon that you would like to use by clicking the Browse button located to the right of the Smiley filename text box and select the image or emoticon that you would like to use. Click “Open”. (Screenshot 5.4)

Screenshot 5.4

If your image is larger than normal emoticons, you will see a message box saying “The smiley you choose is bigger than normal size. Do you want to resize it?” If you want your image or emoticon resized so that you can use it as an emoticon, simply click “Yes”

By clicking “Yes” your image may be scaled down and display incorrectly.

  • Click the “Insert Emoticon” button found on the chat window. You will now see your custom emoticon added to the emoticon chooser. (Screenshot 5.6)

Screenshot 5.6

How can I edit or remove custom emoticons

If you want to edit or remove one of your custom emoticon, click on the smileys button from the chat window.

Afterwards right-click (Command+Click for Mac) on a custom emoticon and a window similar to Screenshot 5.3 appears, where you can edit the custom emoticon or remove it with the “Delete” button on the bottom left. (This window won't appear for the default emoticons)

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Nicknames are now truncated. Is it possible to revert back to full nicknames?

Yes. To have nicknames displayed in their full length on the contact list, in the alerts and the chat window, go to 'Tools' → 'Preferences' → 'Advanced Tab', and uncheck the selection which reads, Truncate nicknames longer than window width in window titles and contact list.” (Screenshot 5.7)

Screenshot 5.7

The same can be done for nicknames inside the chat window conversations by disabling the option “Truncate nicknames longer than window width inside conversations.”(Screenshot 5.7)

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How can I browse through my webcam logs and convert the .cam (cam recordings) to a movie file such as .mpeg?

The file format of those .cam files are a direct dump of the data received on the socket, which means it's in the MS proprietary format. For this reason, no player can play those files, only amsn.

Actually there's a tool to do it released by Hyriand (linux only). See

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How can I make my webcam work?

If your webcam will not work with aMSN, please make sure your webcam is plugged in, turned on, and ready to be used.

Other applications that can be used to test if your webcam is working correctly on Linux:




On Mac you can try the macam project if you do not have an Apple iSight

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Where are the "stolen" display pictures saved?

  • Windows : C:\Documents andSettings\MyWindowsUsername\amsn\youremail_profile\displaypic\cache
  • Linux : /home/yourusername/.amsn/
  • Mac OS X: Home / Library / Application Support / aMSN / your_email_profile / displaypic / cache

You can also access all the previous display pictures of a user from :

  • The contact's properties page
  • The "Change Display picture" window

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How can I change the directory where the profiles information are saved ?

There is no option to do this, you have to modify the code of aMSN, but it is not complicated. All you have to do is modify a few lines in the 'amsn' (/usr/share/amsn/amsn) file of your installation of aMSN. You can find it in your installation directory of aMSN (under the 'script/' directory for Windows users). Open the file 'amsn' with your favorite text editor (emacs, vi, notepad, etc...) and search for the lines that look like this :

 if { [OnDarwin] } {
    set HOME "[file join $env(HOME) Library/Application\ Support/amsn]"
 } elseif { [OnUnix] } {
    set HOME "[file join $env(HOME) .amsn]"
 } elseif { [OnWin] } {
   if {[info exists env(USERPROFILE)]} {
      set HOME "[file join $env(USERPROFILE) amsn]"
   } else {
    set HOME "[file join [pwd] amsn_config]"
 } else {
    set HOME "[file join [pwd] amsn_config]"

And replace all those lines by :

 set HOME "[file join [pwd] amsn_config]"

in order to save the files in the directory where aMSN is launched.

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Running on Linux

How can I use anti-aliased fonts in aMSN?

Use a distro that has tcl/tk 8.5 or higher, or take a look at: Enabling_antialiasing That page will provide you information on how to re-compile Tk with anti-alias support.

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How do I create a shortcut to aMSN on my desktop on Linux?

This is for KDE only, for other window manager (Gnome, XFCE) or for Microsoft's Windows, try Creating_a_desktop_item_for_aMSN.

  • KDE
    • Right-click on the K-menu and a Panel Menu will appear as seen in the screenshot below:


    • Click Add Non-KDE Application
    • A Non-KDE Application Configuration dialog box will be displayed
    • Enter the text as shown below:


    • Click “OK” and an aMSN icon will be added to your kicker menu :
    • If you want to change the icon or other configurations, simply right-click the new aMSN button, and a menu will be displayed. Click “Configure aMSN Button...” and the Non-KDE Application Configuration will be displayed.


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How do I open file-transfer ports in SUSE Linux?

(Guide thanks to John Hillier)

  • Open 'YaST' -> 'Security and Users' -> 'Firewall' -> 'Firewall Configuration'.
  • Click on "Expert" in 'Additional Services' and add port 6891.

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My aMSN sound notifications are not being played until I stop playing my music. How can I fix this so I can hear both at the same time?

  • KDE: You can configure XMMS, amaroK, etc. to play sound through arts, and use artsplay as sound play command for aMSN which is able to mix sounds.
  • Gnome: You can use esdplay and configure XMMS for playing through ESD.

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When I try running aMSN, I get an error "unknown color Black". How can I fix it ?

This problem is not coming from aMSN, it's an Xorg faulty installation. You probably have a bad Xorg configuration for the file rgb.txt (especially with some versions of Xgl).

If you are using xgl, you most probably have the file rgb.txt in /etc/X11 . Xgl in Ubuntu Dapper is usually misconfigured and looks for the file in /usr/share/X11 . Make a symlink to it in /usr/share/X11 and restart your X server.

If you are not using xgl, open your /etc/X11/xorg.conf and look for a line that says:

  Section "Files"
       RgbPath      "/etc/X11/rgb"

If the RgbPath line does not exist at all, add it under the section "Files". Then make sure the file exists in the directory defined in RgbPath (/etc/X11/ in this case). You may need to copy it from another location in your computer, or you can download it from . You must also restart your X server for the changes to take effect.

PLEASE NOTE: the line in xorg.conf must NOT contain the extension of the file!!!

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TLS does not seem to work and I have tcl/tk 8.5. How can I fix it ?

TLS 1.5 is broken, in order to fix it, you have to find out where your copy of TLS is with :

 locate tls.tcl

or if you do not use locate :

 find / -name tls.tcl

Those commands should give you something like /usr/lib/tls1.50/tls.tcl. In the same directory, you should find a file named pkgIndex.tcl. Edit this file with your favorite editor (vi, emacs, nano/pico, etc..) :

 vi /usr/lib/tls1.50/pkgIndex.tcl

and change the line :

 package ifneeded tls 1.5


 package ifneeded tls 1.50

TLS should now work well. If it not the case, please let us know on the forums

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aMSN does not seem to work correctly with some files, especially files containing the character ` (back quote). How to fix it ?

aMSN cannot handle files containing the character `(back quote) in their path. A way to resolve this issue is to mount the partition containing the file with this caracter with the 'utf8' option. Refer to the man page of your version of mount to find the right option for your file system.

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Running on Windows

How can I prevent/make aMSN from loading on windows start ?

You can do that by clicking on the checkbox 'load aMSN at Windows start' in Account -> Preferences -> Session

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Whenever I go to preferences->session, the 'load amsn at windows start' is disabled, even if it does load at windows start !

We cannot detect if aMSN loads at Windows start so the checkbox is disabled. However, the change is taken in consideration if you modified the value and then press the "Save"' button.

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Running on Mac OS X

How do I run aMSN in Terminal?

Open the application which is in /Applications/Utilities/ Then copy this command into the window that opens and press enter: /Applications/ If aMSN is crashing before the GUI is loaded, the crash will be logged in this window.

I have a question about Mac OS X, where can I go to find answers?

You can get answers to questions about Mac OS X on the aMSN Mac Forum found at:

Why do some characters in the aMSN contact list appear as squares?

These are Unicode characters. Unicode support will be added for Mac OS X in version 0.98 of aMSN.

Why can't I use the shortcut Command-Space to switch keyboard layouts?

This seems to be an issue with the Tcl/Tk frameworks that aMSN depends on. It is currently being looked into.

How do I sign into more than one account with Mac aMSN?

You need to duplicate the aMSN application, and then run both copies. The easiest way to do this, is to find the application in Finder, and press Command-D to duplicate the application.

aMSN is incredibly slow on my new Intel Mac, what can I do to speed it up?

aMSN 0.96 is the first Universal binary version of aMSN, please update to at least that version. You can further speed up aMSN by turning off smileys in the contact list (the option is in aMSN's preferences under the Appearence tab), and also by collapsing your offline group.

Webcam doesn't work on my Intel Mac!

Update to the latest aMSN version (0.97 or higher), and you will then be able to use webcam!

How do I update aMSN to the latest development version on a Mac?

Up to date instructions on how to do this can be found at the Installing SVN wiki page.

I want to delete aMSN but I cannot empty the Trash!

You may be getting erros like "libtls.dylib is in use". To delete the files, you need to restart your computer, and then you will be able to delete the files.

Where are aMSN's preferences files stored on a Mac?

They're stored at: Your Home Folder -> Library -> Application Support -> amsn .

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Webcam Issues

You are firewalled or behind a router

If you are unable to view a webcam in aMSN after a contact has send you an invite, or after you have issued the command to receive/send webcam, and you are behind a router, you may need to follow these steps:

If you receive: IP-Restrict-NAT and you receive false in webcam wizard, that means your connection is firewalled. (does not send the IP)

If this is the case, you will need to open some ports for the webcam to use because they are currently blocked.

To do this, open your router web-based configuration (check router manual for details on this). Once you have the web-based configuration open, browse for a setting called "port forwarding" or "port range forwarding" or something similar to that. (This might be found under the advanced features for your router).

Now that you have the port forwarding page open, you will want to set the port forwarding range so that aMSN will be able to accept and send the webcam stream. Here's an example of how you will set up your port forwarding:

 Application:        aMSN    
 Start:              6890   
 End:                6900
 Protocol:           Both(TCP & UDP)       
 Enabled:            X (Yes/True)

Note: is the IP of your machine that you are trying to send / receive webcam

If you have a web server open on your port 80, you can try to disable it too, sometimes it helps.

General port instructions for Apple Airport Base Station or Airport Express (of course, use ports 6891 to 6900 in the configurations) port forwarding

Please also refer to, as their guide for MSN Messenger also applies for aMSN.

Apple error code -9405 (Mac OS X)

You probably got this error when trying to send webcam to someone else, if you don't have a webcam and want to see the webcam of someone, go to actions menu and select "Ask this user to send you his/her webcam".

If you have a webcam (either built in to your mac, or plugged in), then there are 2 possible causes of the problem:

  • 1. The most likely problem is that another application is using the webcam. Only 1 application can access a webcam at a time, and so we have to wait for the other application to release the webcam before we can use it. Try rebooting your mac, and only opening aMSN, and see if the problem persists.
  • 2. It may be that your camera is not supported by QuickTime (this will not be the issue if you have an iSight). If you have a USB webcam, try one of these drivers:

Macam (Freeware)
iOXexperts (Shareware)
UsbVision (Shareware)

People told my webcam picture is purple and my picture is double (Mac OS X)

If you have iOXexperts drivers to your camera version 0.8 update to 1.1

If you don't use iOXexperts try to update your camera drivers.

If you still have problems, go to aMSN Mac forum to ask for help

You are using the pwc driver (Linux)

Those of you who are using this driver should know that this driver is incomplete and may not work correctly with amsn... You won't be able to change your settings like brightness/color/hue/ etc... You MAY not be able to run it in high resolution mode unless you use the pwcx proprietary driver. (But it seems there's now a PWC driver that support high resolution). Note that aMSN currently supports only the high resolution mode'

Webcamsn extension is not loaded. You have to compile it. (Linux)

You need to make sure there is a in /msn/utils/webcamsn/ and also in /msn/utils/webcamsn/webcamsn/

If these do not exist, you need to enter each of those directories and type make to compile the source into a file.

 beast@1[webcamsn]$ ls
 aclocal.m4     config.sub      INSTALL    webcamsn
 AUTHORS        configure       install-sh      missing        webcamsn.dll
 ChangeLog    libmimic.pc     mkinstalldirs
 config.guess   COPYING  NEWS           webcamsn.tcl
 config.h       CVS             libtool         pkgIndex.tcl    datastream.bin       README
 config.log     depcomp         Makefile        src
 config.status  doc        stamp-h1
 beast@1[webcamsn]$ make
 beast@1[webcamsn]$ ls
 CVS         Makefile     webcamsn.c  webcamsn.o   webcamsn.vcproj
 libmimic.a  webcamsn.h

Capture extension Capture is not loaded, you have to compile it (Linux)

If you dont have a file, you will need to build it by opening a console and typing "make" in your /msn/utils/linux/capture directory. If everything works correctly, you will have a file.

 beast@1[capture]$ make
 beast@1[capture]$ ls 
 capture.c  capture.h  CVS  Makefile  pkgIndex.tcl  test.tcl

If capture seems not working so well with your webcam, you can try that

 ./configure --disable-libng

Picture too dark and can not change brightness settings (Linux)

It is a driver problem that applies to gspca_***** drivers, such as gspca_spca561 (Logitech QuickCam™ Chat)

dmesg | grep gspca
to see if that driver is being loaded.

Bug is described at

There is a workaround to change brightness from command line, since you can not edit those settings from aMSN.

You need to compile a small tool:

 gzip -d set_cam_exp.c.gz 
 gcc set_cam_exp.c -o set_cam_exp

Then you can set brightness to some value:

 ./set_cam_exp /dev/video0 2000

You might want to try values other than 2000. Default is 0.

If webcam still doesn't work on Linux, try the test procedure

The test is shipped only with the source packages, not the binaries,. So, if you need to test your webcam, you have to download the sources package at sourceforge.

To run a test to make sure you webcam is functioning, go into your /msn/utils/linux/capture directory and type:

 user:/usr/share/amsn/utils/linux/capture/$ ./test.tcl

You should then obtain something like :

 vid-probe: trying: v4l2... 
 ioctl VIDIOC_QUERYCAP: Invalid argument
 open(/dev/video1): No such file or directory
 open(/dev/video2): No such file or directory
 open(/dev/video3): No such file or directory
 vid-probe: trying: v4l... 
 open(/dev/video1): No such file or directory
 open(/dev/video2): No such file or directory
 open(/dev/video3): No such file or directory
 Found OV519 USB Camera at /dev/video0

The test.tcl window should pop up with "camera settings" and "choose device" buttons. Click "choose device". Your camera should be listed underneath the Devices section. If you select the correct webcam device, an option should appear under the Channels section. You can click on this Channels option. If everything is functioning, you will see a preview of your webcam functioning. You can then click on Camera Settings. Under camera settings you can adjust your camera's Brightness, Contrast, Hue, and Color.

If you have gotten the test.tcl to run, but still cannot use your webcam, please try running the command v4l-info:

 user:/usr/share/amsn/utils/linux/capture/$ v4l-info
 ### video4linux device info [/dev/video0] ###
 general info
       name                    : "OV519 USB Camera"
       type                    : 0x201 [CAPTURE,SUBCAPTURE]
       channels                : 1
       audios                  : 0
       maxwidth                : 640
       maxheight               : 480
       minwidth                : 64
       minheight               : 48
       channel                 : 0
       name                    : "Camera"
       tuners                  : 0
       flags                   : 0x0 []
       type                    : CAMERA
       norm                    : 0
 ioctl VIDIOCGTUNER: Invalid argument
 ioctl VIDIOCGAUDIO: Invalid argument
       brightness              : 32768
       hue                     : 40960
       colour                  : 32768
       contrast                : 31744
       whiteness               : 26880
       depth                   : 24
       palette                 : RGB24
       base                    : (nil)
       height                  : 0
       width                   : 0
       depth                   : 0
       bytesperline            : 0
       x                       : 0
       y                       : 0
       width                   : 640
       height                  : 480
       chromakey               : 0
       flags                   : 30

This command will give you information about your webcam. If you have questions, please let us know which palette you are using and we should hopefully be able to help you.

The image output is distorted and/or amsn crashes with memory access problems (Windows)

At the moment the windows capturing program captures at the resolution of the desktop. However tk requires its images to be in certain resolutions. Therefore you need to set your screens colour resolution to 32 bit (24bit may also work, I'm not sure though).

To change your colour resolution, right click on your desktop and press 'Properties', then select the 'Settings' tab, finally in the 'Colors' drop down box select the '32 bit' option. You may need to change the 'Screen area' if you can't select that colour resolution.

Hopefully this is a temporary problem and the capture code will be improved to fix this problem.

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Other Questions

I noticed aMSN is opening some ports over port 60000. Is it normal? Is it a backdoor? Why does this happen?

This is normal. aMSN uses sockets as a locking system to avoid two aMSN instances use the same profile at once (which could cause trouble). This is the better platform independent locking system we found.

If you check ~/.amsn/profiles, you can see what port is used for each profile.

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What is the Audio and Video Assistant?

The Audio and Video Assistant is an easy way to configure and fine-tune your webcam as well as your audio input (microphone). The Audio and Video Assistant provides options to maximize the quality of your webcam broadcast.

The Audio and Video Assistant can be started from within a chat window by clicking 'Edit' → 'Edit audio and video settings'. The Configure Webcam dialog will then be shown. You may change your video settings by clicking “Change video settings” button.

You can also start the assistant using the Ctrl-N shortcut from the main window. Refer to the Shortcuts page for an up to date list of keyboard shortcuts.

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How do I remove aMSN completely?

After uninstalling aMSN, your profiles (per account settings, log files, etc..) are still stored on your system. You may remove them by following these simple procedures :

  • Linux:
 rm -rf ~/.amsn
  • Windows:

Delete C:\Documents and Settings\$USER\amsn where $USER is your username.

  • Mac OS X

Remove the aMSN application. Remove this folder : Home / Library / Application Support / aMSN

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The mail traydock icon in the system tray continues to show up, how do I get rid of it?

You must read your unread mails to make the traydock icon disappear.

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I enabled the logging of conversations on aMSN, but I cannot find the logfiles. Where are they stored?

In order for logging to be enabled, you must first create a profile. This can be done at the aMSN login-screen by enabling the "Remember me" option.

You will then find the log here here:

  • Linux: ~/.amsn/your_email_profile/logs
  • Windows: %USERPROFILE%\amsn\your_email_profile\logs

Where %USERPROFILE% is usually

C:\Documents and Settings\%username% on Windows XP

C:\Users\%username% on Windows Vista

where %user% is the username of your Windows account.

  • Mac OS X: /Home / Library / Application Support / aMSN / your_email_profile / logs

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Can I disable custom and/or animated smileys?

Choose the Preferences option from the Account menu, then click on the tab that says Appearance. Here you can set the various options regarding Emotions Icons and Smileys.

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Why doesn't aMSN support audio / Why did aMSN drop linphone support?

  • The support of Linphone in aMSN has been dropped some time ago because it was not complete and difficult to maintain. Moreover, the only person able to make it work and to resume its development is no more active in the aMSN's development, so the support has just been dropped.
  • Now aMSN supports webcam session (not videconference), this support is complete and stable and easier to maintain.
  • About Audio support, it is delayed for a next release. Farsight project, developped by Burgerman will give audio support to aMSN, we are just waiting for a stable version.

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I have another question, can you help me?

Yes, we can. But before asking questions, search this wiki for your question. If you couldn't find it, then take a look at the aMSN forums found at:

Make sure you SEARCH before posting

Most likely your question has already been answered. You can also view more information at aMSN's sourceforge project page, which is located at:

Before submitting a bug report or asking for support, please document the following information:

  • aMSN version :
  • Tcl and Tk version :
  • Kernel version :
  • Distribution :
  • System architecture (32-bit, PPC, 64-bit, etc.) :
  • Stack trace of the submitted error (if applicable) :
  • Last error messages in debug windows (Ctrl+D and Ctrl+S in contact list) :
  • Possible ways to replicate the bug :

Here's an example of a user's documentation :

  • aMSN version : 0.96
  • Tcl and Tk version : 8.4.16
  • Kernel version : Linux 2.6.12-8-386 (Found by typing: uname -s -r in an xterm)
  • Distribution : Debian
  • System architecture (32-bit, PPC, 64-bit, etc.) : 32-bit
  • Stack trace of the submitted error (if applicable) : NA (not applicable)
  • Last error messages in debug windows (Ctrl+D and Ctrl+S in contact list) :
  • Possible ways to replicate the bug : Open a chat window and send a custom emoticon which is animated to an msn 7.5 user.

Send this information with your bug report so that we may further investigate the issue.

If you still have a question that has not been covered in this FAQ, you can visit the aMSN forum at: or contact us on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) at :

server: channel: #amsn

There is a bot on the channel that is able to give you some indications if you use the following commands :

  • amsn install
  • amsn version
  • amsn download
  • amsn tcl/tk version
  • amsn libstd
  • amsn svn

... and some others

In case you have some trouble to connect to our IRC channel because of network policies, you can try this

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Enjoy using aMSN!

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