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Adium/Pidgin Error "Unable to add user: Unknown error (204)” on login

Tuesday, 12 October 2010 15:19

So you're using Adium or Pidgin and have been getting this annoying error message like "Unable to add user: Unknown error (204):"

How do you get rid of it? 
Firstly don't try and modify the configuration files of Adium/Pidgin like I spent an hour trying to do, just do the following:

  1. First Log in to Adium or Pidgin as normal
  2. Make a note of the error message(s) before closing them
  3. Next open up your contact list (if it's not already open) and search for a key part of the error, for instance if your error was:
    "Unknown error (204): <ml><d n="yahoo.com"><c n="charlie_horse" l="3" t="32" /></d></ml>"
    You would search in your contact list for "charlie_horse".
    Or
    "Unknown error (205): <ml><d n="gmail.com"><c n="paradigmshift" l="3" t="32" /></d></ml>"
    You would search in your contacts for "paradigmshift"
  4. Once you've found the contacts causing you problems, permanently delete them from your list.
  5. If all is successful, next time you restart your MSN/Chat client, you won't be bugged anymore.

This error occurs when a contact is added to an MSN contact list that doesn't belong there.   The only way to stop the error from reoccuring is to remove the contact from the server contact list and to make sure you add valid contacts to your MSN account in the future.

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