Changing your Windows Live ID – Automatic update Messenger contact list broken

Jonathan Kay is warning users not to change Windows Live ID right now. Reason: this feature has become unreliable and in general, your Messenger contact list will never be updated.

One feature you may not even be aware exists is the ability to change your Windows Live ID e-mail address and have all your associated accounts and contact list automatically updated….. If you want to see where it currently is, sign into the Windows Live ID account site, and just note the ‘Change’ link next to your e-mail address. Note: if you don’t see the Change link, read on.

There have been two long standing issues with the process. The first is that you can’t change, or (including all the localized country versions there of) to another address as those domains are “reserved” (note that Microsoft has provided the ability from time to time to switch to one of these reserved domains however). The second is that you typically needed to remain offline for a good few hours for the modifications to all your contacts’ contact lists to your new address….

However, beginning with this latest update to the “Wave 3” Live web sites, this feature has become quite unreliable and in general, your Messenger contact list will never be updated.  So although the web site currently claims all you have to do is wait 48-hours, you’ll end up with a contact list of offline contacts even after the wait.  Since your contacts won’t have your updated address on their contact list, they’ll see you as offline too.  You end up in a limbo state.

That’s no fun indeed. For those who already switched and find themselves with a non-updated Messenger contact list, Jonathan advises to go back to the Live ID site and switch back to your previous ID for now. However if you switched to a (or localized version there of) address this fix will not work. Jonathan also advises the following:

Additionally, if this happens to you, you’ll want to let the Windows Live ID support team know, as they do eventually escalate it up to someone to be corrected.  You can get to the support form by heading to the Live ID support help section, click the link to any of the articles on the side, and then choose the ‘Get more help’ link at the bottom right.

Yep, very wise to ring the bell there. After all, if a problem is not known, how can it be fixed?

Thanks for the advice Jonathan.