Windows 7 MS Internet games fails with error 0x80041004

win7Currently Windows 7 users are failing to play one of the build-in Internet games like Internet Spades, Internet Backgammon, Internet Checker. The game simply returns an error 0x80041004. [Update: It seems, that Microsoft has fixed/reset the game server – MS Windows 7 Internet games are again functional.]


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Windows 7 comes with several pre-installed games, some of them are Internet-based, like Internet Spades, Internet Backgammon, Internet Checker. Here is my German Windows 7 start menu showing the game entries.

Playing this games it’s mandatory, that a successful Internet connection is available and that Microsoft’s game servers are running. But: If a user tries to launch one of the Internet-based games listed above, he or she receives an error 0x80041004.

I’ve searched Microsoft Answers forum for error 0x80041004, and found this, this, this and this. It seems, that error 0x80041004 isn’t rare – in some cases, the error has been fixed by “itself” – some kind of voodoo. Or in other words: Microsoft server issues has been fixed by Microsoft staff. So (if the MS server stalls) it is  really pointless to proceed the trouble shooting tips given in the Microsoft Answers threads linked above. I’ve visited the site isitdownrightnow.com. Although zone.msn.com is listed as “up”, there are many people reporting, that Windows Internet games won’t work anymore.


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Visiting the MSN site for Spades shows, that Spades has been retired since October 2015. So it seems, that the MSN game server is switched off at that time. And one user’s comment here also claiming, that Microsoft’s game server has been switched off. And here one of my MVP colleagues reports the same thing.

Voodoo has happens again …

Uhh, above I mentioned “voodoo” has fixed this issue in the past. This morning (12/2/1015) I stumbled upon a post in Microsoft answers forum:

Problem solved. Yeay, I can now play Internet backgammon after days of torture. I use Win 7. Clear the SSL State by following these steps.

  1. Press the Windows Key and the R key simultaneously to get the Run prompt.
  2. In the Run prompt, type inetcpl.cpl and press enter.
  3. In the Internet Properties window, click on the Content tab.
  4. Click on Clear SSL State.

This solution has been posted also in this Microsoft Answers thread. While I appreciate this suggestion, it’s senseless in our case! I was notified about that post – so I fired up my Windows 7 machine (which wasn’t able to run MS Internet games during the last days). Before I followed the steps given above, I fired up Internet Backgammon – and voilà, the game runs without any interaction, without resetting Windows 7, without resetting SSL state and so on. Just a kind of voodoo – or some Microsoft engineer hit the reset button on a game server.

Which brought my minds 3 and a half decades back in history. As a young engineer I made the experience, that all users working with thumb terminals on main frames tries to switch to the upcoming IBM PCs. These machines offered to work independent from “central mainframe infrastructure”. Nowadays there is a movement to force users back to “server infrastructure within the cloud”. History will be repeated only as a farce …


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25 Responses to Windows 7 MS Internet games fails with error 0x80041004

  1. Kevin Smith says:

    I can’t play either. I really hope they don’t turn these off. Come on MS.

  2. guenni says:

    The interesting thing is: The same games shipped with the (now unsupported) Windows XP are still playable …

  3. layena says:

    I have the same problem like you. Windows 64 and I can’t play games. I don’t know what to do, change windows 32 or windows 10.anyone can help?

  4. sebastian says:

    For me the games stopped working for a week or so, then they started working again for a couple of days until today (december 6th) that they stopped working again (I just tried). I never did any “fix” until now that I found this post and read about that SSL thing and… guess what…?? I cleared SSL and they started working again. I don’t know what kind of voodoo it is, but if you are having problems, give it a try. BTW I found really fast pro players just now :)

  5. Guillermo says:

    Yo tuve este problema, no podía jugar Backgammon en Windows 7, simplemente me respondía “error code 0x80041004”, y no podía salir de allí. Hoy lo resolví. Consigan el archivo “zone _dat.exe” de Game Zone, es pequeño (110Kb), ejecútenlo y listo.

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  7. Brian Dykstra says:

    It is sad that a company like Microsoft can’t fix the problems of Internet Backgammon. It seems daily there are problems with error messages or simply not able to connect or many times in a good game suddenly there is a “New Opponent or Quit” option that turns the game or match to end suddenly.
    I play in expert mode and each day is a crap shoot where normally Internet Backgammon does not work.
    Microsoft ought to be ashamed they cannot keep it working simply.

  8. MC Cleere says:

    June 2016
    Dearest Microsoft,
    Why can’t your techs address the errors for Microsoft Spades?
    I plan to remain ad finitum with Windows 7 (I will never subscribe to Windows 10).
    It’s a game, not NASA level technology.
    Please repair.

    • guenni says:

      Better drop this comment at a MS forum or in a MS feedback form. I’m not related to Microsoft in any form.

  9. Greg D says:

    The following will resolve this.
    1. Left Click Start
    2. Right click computer and then left click Properties
    Look at Processor and make a note of the Graphics (Ex. AMD A6 wit AMD Radeon
    with R4 Graphics )
    3. Go to your manufacturers web site and download the latest driver and install it.
    4. Open the Backgammon game
    5. Most generally it will work the first time normally.
    If it does not you will have to play 10 games for it to be trained, regardless if it produces the error code.

    I had to play 5 times before it worked and experienced no problems after that.

  10. Oleg Hendryck says:

    One thing that is very clear that Microsoft networking staff are not doing their jobs. $100,000.00 job a year sitting on their fat asses doing other things. The Internet Games are part of the Windows package and they are not complying with their obligations. Also with MSN Zone, there are too many issues. Microsoft needs to figure out what they are doing which over the years, clearly shows they don’t and many people worldwide waste time money and effort and use Microsoft games and products for some down time. Why is it that other companies have limited issues while Microsoft staff cannot resolve these issues that have been going on for years. Plus they took away Internet Hearts. So to the Fat Asses that are getting bigger by the year “Fix the Problems or get out of the business and fire those that have no business being in your company. I could find thousands of other people (who have the education and experience and who take pride in their work) who would enjoy making $100,000.00 a year and get the job done. Unless of course, Microsoft is doing this intentionally:)

  11. Jack Grimm says:

    Sad that Billy Gates being such a wealthy man from the world that he cannot even fix a simple game that would make people able to play. I think he thinks he is above normal people but in my opinion he is below people but hey thats me

  12. Ray says:

    what’s the problem ?

  13. Dan says:

    Eventually they will stop all support for Windows 7 and at that point they will probably shut it down or try to find someone like Steam to buy that portion of the company which is what they should do now.

  14. anita campbell says:

    I totally agree with every word. time to put their thinking caps on, plus they took away one of my favorite game , very unhappy with the performance.
    .

  15. Dee says:

    its doing it again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am having a spades meltdown, come on Microsoft!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. James Roy says:

    Cannot play internet checkers now for about 3 weeks. Get the error code. Like the others have tried all suggested fixes. It is a Microsoft problem which they refuse to fix.

  17. james roy says:

    Cannot play internet checkers. Will not connect or start game. Been this wy for weeks.

  18. James Roy says:

    cannot play internet checkers. will not connect and start game.

  19. erika courvoisier says:

    leonebrennan said:
    I think it will come, back but we just have to be patient. Another alternative is MSN Backgammon with real players, but not as good or 4J Backgammon, but you play with a computer, which I don’t enjoy.

    On the same page, here…. am addicted to MS backgammon/have been for years and beginning to jones! I hope it does come back soon. I tried to play MSN game, but it was so cumberson. lagging and click greedy,… less responsive and way too much razz-a-ma-tazz. I want fast, competitive games and the old version (which replaced the original version which I also liked…. you could see what country your opponent was in…. that was cool) was great, too.

  20. Lawrence says:

    I seem to face another problem when playing internet spades games on windows 7 and now on windows 10. I starts well and very good game but what I don’t understand is when I am winning or when I play trump card when my opposite partner as I always partner with Blue 1 or Blue 2 or Blue 4 or Blue 3 this partners as always disconnect immediately sending error code, this is not a first time but several times. When that partner does cut with trump intentionally then it is alright but when I do he/she tries to disconnect with error code. Why only then it happens? that means it deliberately done and it is not a system problem, it is human being doing it on purpose. The best part Microsoft must allow to identify it players so it will be easy to know who is doing such error and why the names of the player be hidden for that purpose, let all identify by their names rather than to hide the identity, use your email address to get registered to play it as in other games one is asked to use email for identification and make comment of live chat during the game like MSN games.

  21. James Roy says:

    comon microsoft-have one of your agents turn my internet checkers back on please.

  22. James Roy says:

    Can someone at microsoft turn my internet checkers game back on, please.

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