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I know I am not alone here but I have to say it: MSN SUCKS!!! If you want to read the entire nasty event, here it is. If anything, it serves as comic relieve but more importantly, as a reminder that it will be a long time before I even consider using MSN. they make great software but their service bites the big green one.

Here is what I got. This first one is a call for help to a guy that actually worked for Microsoft. It is a great summation of the whole tragic time sink. I love his response (linked below).

The other 4 files are the transcripts from my online help session. I feel like an idiot because (ruining the ending) I did not realize it was automated until the very end. I WASN'T EVEN TALKING TO A REAL FREAKIN' HUMAN BEING!!!!

Anyway, enjoy my agony.

Bob, <name changed for privacy>,

I really need your help if even to point me in the right direction. Here is the situation:

I have an MSN account and it was linked into Outlook 2000, running on Windows ME you sent me. Everything was going fine until my hard drive did a full crash and burn. I got a new hard drive but all I had backed up was my personal files.

I got Windows 98 and Windows ME put on. Reloaded everything I had including Office 2000 Premium.

I go to set up my email account and of course I have no settings saved. I click on the MSN icon (white letters with red egg, ver 5.0) and go through the setup procedure.

I try to log on using my old account but because I had the password automatically set, I had forgotten it and the one I had written down did  not work. I called MSN help and they said my account was suspended for some reason they could not explain. They re-set it and gave me a new password. I punch it in and it works.

Strange note: my log in changed from jdgrose11568 to jdgrose115. I do not know if this means I have a new account.

So I go online and change my password back to what I thought it was (ihatemci).

Now I tackle my mail and the real nightmare begins. I start Outlook 2000  and punch in the settings that were provided by a file on my desktop when I logged into MSN. I am careful to be exact.

I log onto the net and hit "Send and Receive" to get all the mail that has backed up on my account since my computer went down. But what I get is a window asking me to put in my user ID and password. I do this again (note that I am logged on so the info is correct or I would not be online). Then it just gives me the same box over and over until I hit cancel and then it says:

"Unable to log on to the server using Distributed Password Authentication. Server response: '-ERR Permission denied'. (Account 'Jason", pop3 server:'', Error number 0x800ccc18)."

So I call MSN help and wait a half hour until they pick up. I explain everything to them. They make me make some little changes and then make me hang up, reboot, log on, and try it again. It does not work and I have to  go through the process again except with another person I have to start all over with despite the trouble ticket they gave me.

Paul, this went on for over 6 hours, 5 1/2 of which was waiting. I called back six times with the associated wait involved and got a different person each time. The last three said that "if this does not work, I put down that they will elevate it to a supervisor." Then they told me that they were not allowed to stay on while I reboot and made me hang up. It would not work again so I had to call back, wait again, re-explain, and still they would not elevate it ("Try this and then next time they will elevate it..."). At about midnight I had to get to bed. I had waited on the phone for over a solid hour on hold until I had to quit.

As you can imagine, today was a really bad day.

I get home and try again. I go through the process two more times. The  first guy I waited for 40 minutes, he asked me the same questions, put me on hold for another 30 minutes, and then hung up on me forcing me to start over. Next, I called back and then waited on the phone for nearly an hour and a half before giving up.

I then went online and got a hold of the online tech supervisor and we did the chat-type help. I have two transcripts because I got cut off the first time and then the second one lasted over 4 hours with no help. At the end  he said I would have to call tech support and I explained my pain. He then  told me that I should upgrade to MSN 6.0. I looked into that but I do not want  to go web based and I want to use POP and Outlook 2000. It started to sound like a commercial with canned answers and my name put in strategic places and I realized that the responses were automated. I do not even think a  real person was handling it.

So here I am, blew last night, blew tonight and I am no closer to a  solution and have no where to go for help. I feel like just terminating my account but I have all my email waiting there for over a week that I cannot lose. But I do not see where to go. The phone help is not helping and I am  running out of time but I need my email. I am truly at a place I do not know where to go.

What have I tried? Every setting in the email account window and the netwrork. I reset my TCIP settings and pinged the server. All checked out good. I have reloaded the settings from scratch and been through the diagnostic point by point. I also tried to set up the Outlook Express (thinking that if I could get it to work, I could import the settings into Outlook 2000). But it came up with the exact same problem. I have done the "secure" in front of the STMP address and have tried both the and variations. (If you have no idea what I am talking about, these are the little games they had me play to no avail).

Then it hit me: Outlook 2000 came from Office 2000. Outlook Express came from Windows ME. Two different sources yet the same exact problem. What do they have in common? My MSN account. So I do not think it is the program (chances of both having same bug is astronomical). Something is awry with the ability of the programs to receive incoming mail. (Outgoing works fine. I sent an email to my Hotmail account and it showed up fine).

I have never installed MSN 6.0 (This is what the Knowledge Base will have you check as a result of these symptoms).

Do you think I could authorize them to send all my pending mail to my Hotmail, terminate the MSN account, and then we can start over?

I could really use your help on this one.

-- Jason

MSN Sucks!!
Bob's respnse
Cyber-bastard MSN online help transcript 1
Cyber-bastard MSN online help transcript 2

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