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Windows Messenger CE 4.0.0160 Error "the service is temporarily unavailable"


Applies To

  • Windows CE .net 4.2


When you attempt to use the Windows Messenger CE instant messaging client version 4.0.0160 or higher on a newly restored Windows CE .net device you continually receive the following error message when attempting to sign-in to the MSN Messenger service.

Signing in to .NET Messenger Service failed because the service is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

At this point Windows Messenger CE returns you to the log-in screen of the main Messenger application and no connection is made to the MSN Messenger network.

More Info

The MSN Messenger network is a global service built on-top of the TCP/IP protocol. User identification on the network is provided through the .NET Passport service allowing each individual user to be identified and traced through the network. All user activities and correspondence are sequenced and delivered by both the originating client, MSN Messenger servers and the recipient client firstly by the network identification of for the username, and secondly chronologically using a date and time stamp.

If the data and time stamp on any one of these elements, once offset onto Universal Time Code (UTC) and within a predefined margin of error, proves to be inaccurate, the client/server relationship established at log-on will refuse to authenticate the user sign-in process and will reject the client with the error message listed at the beginning of this article.

On all newly started or hard reset Handheld PC devices, the date/time and regional settings are configured based upon those specified by the H/PC's Real Time Clock (RTC), which is often 00:00:01 hours on the first day of January in the year the H/PC was manufactured.

In order to resolve the problem you need to accurately set the date and time used by the device. You are not required to set your system clock to UTC provided the specified Time Zone information is accurate. To adjust the date/time settings:


  1. Tap Start, Setting and open the Control Panel
  2. Double tap the icon for the Date/Time applet
  3. Set the date and time using the dialogues provided
  4. Ensure that the device is configured to use the correct Time Zone setting for your location
  5. Once the changes have been made tap OK


Windows CE can automatically adjust the date and time of your device in two ways


Microsoft ActiveSync can be configured to adjust the date and time of the H/PC device at every synchronisation.

Note: This method requires that the date and time settings on the host PC be accurate

  1. Open ActiveSync
  2. Connect your Handheld PC
  3. Click on the Tool menu and then Options...
  4. Ensure that the Synchronise mobile device clock upon connecting is selected
  5. ActiveSync will automatically adjust the date and time on your Handheld PC to match those on the host

Using a Time Server

Third party client tools such as uxUtil allow you to synchronise your PDA's clock against a nuclear clock over an Internet Time Server. Usage of such utilities is beyond the scope of this article.