Microsoft: Missing Hotmail e-mails are back

Summary:Over the past weekend, a number of Hotmail users reported that their Hotmail messages in various folders were gone. Microsoft officials said on January 3 that the company had identified the cause of the problem and fixed it. There's still a lot we don't know about this outage, however.

Over the past weekend, a number of Hotmail users reported that their Hotmail messages in various folders were gone. (And were, unsurprisingly, none too happy about it.)

Microsoft officials said on January 3 that the company had identified the cause of the problem and fixed it.

Here's what we still don't know: How many users were affected? What caused the problem? What is Microsoft doing to make sure it doesn't occur again? No word.

Update: One question answered. More than 17,000 users were affected by the Hotmail outage (out of 360 million Hotmail users total.)

This is the official statement the company is releasing, via a spokesperson, with no further information provided:

"There was not a widespread outage. We are working with the select users who reported issues, and apologize for any inconvenience."

On January 2, Microsoft officials posted a message in the Hotmail support forums acknowledging the issue:

"We have identified the source of the issue have restored email access to those who were effected.  We recognize that even though we restored email access, some of the affected users did not receive mail sent to them during the last 24-72 hours. We are in the process of rectifying that and should be finished by late tonight Pacific time. "

On January 3, there was a follow-up message posted to the forums:

"We have restored the emails to those who were effected. If you are still missing your emails, please post your issue here (please note that you need to be logged in to the windowslivehelp.com site to be able to post) with as much detailed information as possible (How much wasn’t restored, and any specifics that you may have) We sincerely apologize and thank you for your continued patience."

I didn't lose access to any of my Hotmail messages over the weekend. I did, however, experience an odd -- and maybe related -- issue with Hotmail on my Windows Phone 7 loaner device. For two days, my phone didn't display a count of unread Hotmail messages on my opening screen. This morning (January 3), the count is displaying again.

I asked the aforementioned spokesperson whether my issue might be related to the missing Hotmail messages and was told that no one else had reported the problem I had. I'm curious: Any other WP7 users out there notice a similar problem this weekend?

I'm also interested if anyone has more information on the cause/resolution of the outage.

Topics: Microsoft, Browser, Collaboration

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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