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Hotmail Glitch Gives Users A Scare

April 11, 2009

On Thursday evening, millions of users of Microsoft’s MSN, Windows Live and Hotmail services received messages that they no longer had an e-mail box.  According to Microsoft, the issue was due to temporary glitch and had been resolved by Friday morning.

A service message on the company’s blog read: “All Hotmail services are back to normal and the outage is resolved”¦If you are still having problems, we encourage you to first try Windows Live Help.  If you still have problems, you can submit your problem directly to the support team.”

By late Thursday night, the Microsoft service team had sent out a message to let concerned customers know that their e-mail accounts were “safe” and that the problem was just a minor technical issue triggered by “routine maintenance”.

“If you are seeing a message that (says) you don’t have an inbox, the message is incorrect,” the company announced in an effort to reassure panicked users.  “Your messages are still intact on our servers, and you will have access to them again as soon as this temporary outage is resolved.”

Still, the temporary outage gave quite a fright to many users who subscribe to Hotmail’s free e-mail service ““ a number of which feared that the outage had been caused by an Internet virus.

“OMG!  I was absolutely panic-stricken all night!” said one user’s blog dramatically.  “This morning I am both celebrating and feeling wiser.  My project today is to get all that “Ëœvaluable’ info mined out of those saved e-mails and onto paper!”

Another blogger wrote relieved, “I thought that I had lost everything, like eight years of contacts.”

“Rest assured that your inbox is safe!” Microsoft wrote in its blog.  “The incorrect message was sent out, caused by a networking issue that we encountered while doing routine maintenance.  We have corrected the problem and you should be able to access your Hotmail and other Windows Live services again now.”

Windows Live Hotmail (formerly MSN Hotmail) was launched in 1996 as one of the first free web-based mail services in the world and was purchased by Microsoft in 1997 for an estimated $400 million.  As of 2008 Hotmail was being used by more than 270 people around the world in 35 different languages.

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