Microsoft 'maintenance' blocks Hotmail
Some paying customers affected
A growing number of Hotmail users are unable to access their email accounts.
Complaints from Hotmailers have been piling up in Microsoft's Windows Live support portal since at least January 3.
It's not just the cheapo, freebie version used by millions of Hotmail fans that's in trouble. Those forking out $19.95 a year for Hotmail Plus are also blocked.
People are naturally getting angry, with some unable to access their accounts for up to four days.
A Microsoft spokesperson said there was "not any sort of widespread issue" and advised people to contact the Windows Live support site.
Users say they've been receiving messages where Microsoft tells them it is performing maintenance "to improve the service", while also apologizing for the problem.
But it seems that not even Microsoft's techies are confident that "maintenance" is the root cause. Microsoft told Hotmail one user, ShyloFT, that it was "possible" that maintenance was done on his account.
Also, it appears the problem could be an ongoing bug in Hotmail's software or servers. NOTTELLINGYOU, who told Microsoft it sucked, said the problem keeps happening on a regular basis and this is not a one off.
"Someone please explain to me why ever few weeks I [sic] unable to log into my email for hours ad a time?????????????? The [sic] crap gets old. Figure out your problems or update your servers so it can support your customers. FIX THE PROBLEM."
This is the second major Hotmail problem since December 30, when email belonging to nearly 20,000 users simply disappeared. It's not clear whether the two incidents are connected.
Microsoft corporate vice president for Windows Live Chris Jones blamed the loss of Hotmailers' messages on "mailbox load balancing between servers", but Jones didn't provide details. He signed off with a canned corporate promise to fully investigate the cause, to take steps to prevent this from happening again, and so on and so forth.
Thanks to Reg reader Tim who tipped us off to the problem. ®
...there are people who *pay* for Hotmail addresses?
I just can't get a firm grip on the cloud
The mainstream media seem entranced by the cloud, yet almost every day we hear tales of woe - mail disappearing, login issues, security failures, and accompanying each one is the angst of not being able to find out what is actually going on, where you data is, who's responsible and if and when things will be better.
Yet in every home and office we have computers with crazy amounts of processing, storage and bandwidth going spare, that could handle the tasks with ease, and for a similar cost. (Yes, for email Exchange isn't cheap, but there are plenty of alternatives that are). The cloud is fine for things that don't really matter - random chats with friends, streaming timeshifted video etc - but your own data is more valuable.
How many more incidents will it take before we wake up and realise that our data belongs at home, where it's subject to our control, our laws, and our backup policies? But I fear if you're reading here, you're already aware of this - we should be reaching out to less technical forums and raising awareness amongst the general public before too many more become victims of this fad.
No IT angle
Because "hotmail" is not serious: it is some sort of toy system aimed at teenagers, isn't it?