The ring of the new year has come with an unpleasant surprise for some users of Microsoft's Hotmail service. According to multiple postings on Microsoft's official support forum for Windows Live, a number of users are reporting that their entire Hotmail accounts have been completely deleted without warning.
However, it's not as if Microsoft has—for whatever reason—pulled the plug on the accounts themselves. Users can still log in sans issue. However, they arrive at empty inboxes: No custom folders, no messages in "Sent" or "Deleted," nothing. As one might expect, the abruptness (and unexpectedness) of the purge has left some of Hotmail's long-time users a bit in the dark.
"I have a Hotmail account since I remember myself on the web (1990's)," writes user Yair Gil. "I logged into it on 31th December 2010 at around 06:30hrs. Got an error message and a 'new' hotmail account with a first system welcome message. All previous mails in the inbox are gone and all the folders created are also not there."
[RELATED_ARTICLE]There's been no indication as to how many Hotmail users are affected by whatever it is that's going on over on Microsoft's end. Reports of the email outage, for lack of a better term, have been surfacing on Microsoft's help boards since early this past week. According to moderators' responses, Microsoft's product team is allegedly aware of the issue and is actively looking into whatever it might be.
But that's about as specific as Microsoft has been with its explanation as to why inboxes—in their entirety—are being wiped out. As well, there's been no indication as to what—if anything—Microsoft will be able to recover. As many of those on Microsoft's Solution Center team are quick to point out, message recovery on Microsoft's end, post-deletion, doesn't always work as expected. A special exception might be made for widespread issues but, again, that's mere speculation at this point.
Normally, a user's Hotmail account goes up for automatic deletion if it isn't touched for a period of 120 days or within the first 10 days of the account's activation. At that point, all messages, contacts, and folders get tossed, but the email account itself remains eligible for reactivation for a period of 90 extra days—or 210 days in total.
We'll keep tabs on this story and update with any information from Microsoft's end as soon as its available.
Did your Hotmail account lose mails as well? Let us know in the comments section below...
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