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How To – Resolve Unable to Retrieve MSN Address Book using Pidgin

Background Knowledge

Today (2008-01-12) I loaded Pidgin and discovered that I was no longer able to connect to MSN. It appears either Microsoft is blocking the connection or a new version has been release. What the cause of the matter is I have not been able to verify with certainty at this time.

UPDATE: Pidgin v2.5.4 has been released that temporarily fixes the problem.

Error Message

“Unable to Retrieve MSN Address Book using Pidgin”. See screen shot of the error message below.


  1. Close Pidgin application.
  2. Download and install “msn-pecan“.
  3. Run Pidgin application.
  4. In Pidgin “Show Buddy List” and go to the menu “Accounts” -> “Manage Accounts”.
  5. Modify your MSN account, ensure the protocol shows “MSN”.
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