Microsoft: Outlook.com problems still not fully resolved

Microsoft: Outlook.com problems still not fully resolved

Summary: Microsoft is still having problems providing a subset of its Outlook.com users with access to their e-mail due to an unspecified issue that cropped up days ago.

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We're going into Day 2-plus of an Outlook.com outage which has resulted in some users not being able to get access their e-mail for the better part of this past week.

outlookcomstatus

Just before noon on August 16, Microsoft switched the Live.com dashboard status claiming the Outlook.com issue was resolved to it's still not fully fixed.

"Fixing the problem is taking longer than we hoped. We'll provide an update by August 17 12:00 AM (EST)," according to the latest dashboard message. "We apologize for the lengthy interruption in service."

A spokesperson sent me the following statement when I asked for more information as to what's caused the issue this week:

"The (Outlook.com) issue has been resolved for the vast majority of our customers, but we are still working to restore full service in a few limited scenarios. We will provide more details and a post mortem soon, so that customers can learn what happened and how we resolved it."

Microsoft officials have said the problems this week have affected a small subset of the 400 million-plus Outlook.com users. Of course, if you're part of the group that has gone e-mailless for most of the week, it doesn't seem trivial. (I never lost access to my Outlook.com mail on my PC or my Windows Phone, but I have heard from -- via e-mail and Twitter -- quite a few others who have had problems on their desktops, iPhones, Windows Phones and other mobile devices.)

On August 14, Microsoft acknowledged that users were experiencing problems with several of its personal-cloud services, including Outlook.com, SkyDrive and Contacts. The SkyDrive and Contacts problems were resolved for the majority of users on August 14. Some users are still complaining they're still having problems accessing their Outlook.com mail on their PCs and mobile devices today, August 16.

Microsoft officials are still not commenting on what caused the Outlook.com and SkyDrive outages this week. If I were a betting woman, I'd think it might be the result of one of the many new Outlook.com features that the team has rolled out as of late....

Who out there -- new Outlook.com users and/or those who have moved from Hotmail.com to Outlook.com -- is still having issues? Anyone?

Update (August 17): The promised post-mortem on this week's outage is in.

The incident was the "result of a failure in a caching service that interfaces with devices using Exchange ActiveSync, including most smart phones," according to the team. More specifics are available on the live.com dashboard.

Microsoft is making changes to harden its systems against similar failures in the future, the team said, with specifics in the dashboard post.

Topics: Unified Comms, Microsoft, Mobility, Smartphones

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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37 comments
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  • No issues since yesterday .

    mostly on the blu-m server for wp8 mail

    Most of wed/thurs it was down
    everss02
    • everss02....you mean more problems for Windows 8 users

      Who would have thunk thier would be any more problems for Windows 8 users. I was goig to go buy one at Best Buy on their 50% off sale since Loveroccck Davidson, toddbottom3 & OWLLLLLLLNET assured me everything was a 100% fixed. I guess they were wrong.
      Over and Out
      • He shops at best buy

        enough said
        everss02
        • WorstBuy

          No sane tech person does but I think it was sarcasm from Enough Said...
          THavoc
          • I shop at Best Buy.

            But only to test speakers and buy Point Cards.

            If I like something, I just order it online.
            ForeverCookie
          • Window Shopping

            Doesn't count as 'shopping'.
            THavoc
      • uhhm?

        Ya, except that this problem has nothing to do with windows 8 and people running MacOS or Linux are experiencing the exact same problems, go troll somewhere else.
        captain_pudding
    • Microsoft don't have the expertise to build a reliable mail service.

      Hotmail was running on FreeBSD just fine; they started migrating to Microsoft technologies and problems start appearing. From that point there was many outages and service disruption, and many years later still they don't get it.

      If they want to improve the service in terms of reliability they should bring it back to Unix.
      theo_durcan
  • I am still amazed...

    Why so many "tech savvy" users would trust a company like Microsoft to run a centralized e-mail service for all of them. Same about those who use Gmail. Or Yahoo Mail.

    If you agree that the service might not work when you need it most, then it's ok of course.
    danbi
    • I don't know what the big deal is

      There isn't a business I know of that doesn't lose their Exchange or Domino server once in a while.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • Re: There isn't a business I know of that doesn't lose their Exchange...

        Precisely. Why would one want to run Exchange, when you can "lose" it?
        Apparently, I am biased :)
        danbi
        • I never lost Exchange

          Nor Domino for that matter, and fail to see how others apparently manage to do so, seems incompetance rather than anything else.
          sjaak327
          • Well, when I lost my Exchange Server, it was the anti-virus's fault.

            I was running the server anti-virus product from Trend Micro. It saw a virus inside Exchange's database and quarantined the file. I tried putting it back.... didn't work. Now to this point it was Trend Micro's fault... but then I tried to restore exchange from NT Backup... No matter what I did, I couldn't get it to restore right. I tried everything, including starting from scratch... it just would not work. In the end I hacked around on Active Directory to get it to let IMAP logins to occur... moved everybody's mailbox to a Linux server, then we used MacOS Server until Apple started getting sloppy with it. We now have Google running our e-mail... I like that way much better.

            The reason you let Google run your e-mail is that it's cheap and just works. We have had no downtime we noticed (apparently Google was down for 5 minutes the other day... we didn't notice). Now Microsoft is a totally different matter. Down for 3 days? And down for 1.5 days a few months before that? No, I'll stick to some place competent.

            Seriously, I was writing for my (amateur) blog today, and was looking through the various categories of News I cover on the blog. It's August, so news is slow... but not for Microsoft... I cannot believe how many things they screwed up this last couple of weeks.
            (See: http://computingcompendium.blogspot.com/2013/08/microsoft-agony-continues.html).
            You name it... WP8, Windows, Server, Xbox, Office 365, even Zune... they were blundering all over the place. Even CBS News was dissing Windows 8.1. Things are so bad that the Investor's Business Daily was saying it was time for Ballmer to resign.

            I find it a mystery that businesses are trusting Microsoft with anything at the moment... but then looking back to when IBM failed in the '90s, there were many businesses that just kept believing right up to the end.
            brian_st
    • Risk meet Reward meet Strawman

      "...when you need it most.."

      Well of course it's a problem when you try to use it and it's unavailable. Conversely, it isn't a problem when you aren't trying to use it. It's called selective perception, and completely baseless as grounds for an argument.

      Anyone that uses a "free" email provider must accept a certain amount of risk. The risk vs. reward analysis is discretionary and personal. It has nothing to do with "trust", but has everything to do with efficient expense of resources. For myself, I don't have time to setup, optimize and administer my own mail service, and it isn't a priority for me. The "risk" of a freely available, well-integrated PIM is acceptable....to me.

      YMMV, but probably not as much as danbi would have you believe.
      Nierteroth9
      • Subpar windows user experience

        When a user is with Google he get flawless email service.

        When a user is with Apple he get flawless email service.

        Why Windows users try to justify failure saying, hey, this is free, you get what you paid...
        theo_durcan
        • Re: Subpar windows user experience

          Tautology, surely?
          ldo17
          • Re: Tautology

            Reasonable interpretation of available fact. Continue living in the ivory tower of your choice.
            Nierteroth9
        • Flawless?

          July 31, 2012 - Apple iCloud email outage
          April 12, 2013 - Apple iMessage/FaceTime outage (twice in the same week)
          April 17, 2013 - Gmail outage
          Aug 19, 2013 - Google down (yes - all of it)

          (results from simple Google search - you do know how to use it, right?)

          Haters gonna hate, but doesn't matter how loud or how often you say it, it doesn't make it the truth.
          Nierteroth9
      • as you chose

        Thing is, Microsoft is desperately trying to grow "market share"... in an area they don't really understand: Internet.

        If they pace it to their ability, then things might, eventually work.

        It was a huge mistake to move hotmail off FreeBSD. But, you Microsoft fans know better.
        danbi
        • ...

          Thanks for your reasonable and unbiased opinion on the matter. Your comments have been duly noted and appropriate consideration invested.
          Nierteroth9