back to article Outages plague Hotmail and Outlook users

Microsoft's spanking new and creaking Hotmail service are experiencing prolonged outages around the world. Hotmail and users are complaining they are either unable to access email or unable to see all their email messages. The problem seems to have initially affected cloud storage service SkyDrive, too …


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  1. Bill the Sys Admin

    I actually thought about moving

    The interface for outlook is so clean and nice. I thought about migrating to outlook when it first launched. I eventually stayed because I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle. Apparently it was a decent call to say. Cant say I have had any trouble at camp google with my mail ever.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: I actually thought about moving

      "The interface for outlook is so clean and nice. "

      It's only a GUI. It's hotmail with a new dress, fresh from the hair salon. They still vary the location of the Delete 'button' depending on which folder you're in - ha!

      1. h3

        Re: I actually thought about moving

        They put the sensible things on the right button (In the web interrface).

        And they support exchange activeysync.

        I cannot use the normal gmail web interface now remotely efficiently.

        (The Android apps are a little better but I think the Microsoft Apps work more conveniently even on Android. (They are designed to work logical not look nice).

        Lost activesync for Google which is very annoying. (Thought the whole point of using a Microsoft Account to login to Windows was to stop that sort of nonsense).

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: I actually thought about moving

      It's so clean and nice I'm actually thinking of resurrecting my green phosphor monochrome monitor to use it... it's all you need with today web interfaces. I'm against those using every 24 bit color in a single interface, but we are now at opposite side, just two colors and lack of many hints - i.e. red anyway hints at a command that can bring to data loss, and so on....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And still the sheep continue to entrust prized data to these people.

      When will they learn?

  2. Kimbie

    With Activesync stopping on the google services in the near future I have moved everything across to Microsoft and happy with it.

    At least I know Activesync won't disappear.

    Oh BTW Microsoft update the Hotmail calendar with the new look k thanks

  3. David Hicks

    BUt don't worry about it

    Because it's "in the cloud" that means NO OUTAGES EVER, right? This is just some minor behind-the-scenes issue that won't ever affect an end user because of SUPER CLOUD MAGIC!

    Or something...

  4. Michael C.

    Just for balance, I joined as soon as it launched and switching my current email address to was an absolute doddle, I could also set up to point to with a further few steps.

    The user experience is great, lovely interface, and I didn't experience any outage.


    1. The Original Steve

      @ Michael C

      Snap. Took out a couple of addresses on and use it for my older Gmail and Hotmail addresses. Haven't looked back in all honesty.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I didn't experience any outage"

      That's OK then, I'll let Microsoft know the problem's solved.

  5. LDS Silver badge

    Just try to use a password longer than 15 characters... it won't allow you.

    It's funny a new service limits the length of the password. I tried to use a password longer than 15 character and it does not accept it.

    1. Jordan Davenport

      Re: Just try to use a password longer than 15 characters... it won't allow you.

      The limit is 16 characters, actually. The password I tried using for my account is 17 characters long. It accepted it when I set it. I just have to truncate it to 16 characters when signing in now.

  6. fandom Silver badge

    And yet the scroogled page is up, it is clear they have they priorities in order.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The Microshafted pages are down

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Allow me to be the first to do a tedious: It's all working fine for me, a la any reporting of an outage for Google or Apple et al.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any coicidence here that yesterday was patch tuesday

    Ah the fun and games of patching Windows Server, give me a 'nix system to patch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Any coicidence here that yesterday was patch tuesday

      Because patches to *nix systems never fuck up, right?

      1. No. Really!?

        Re: Any coicidence here that yesterday was patch tuesday

        If there is any justice in the world; I so hope you are right!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Any coicidence here that yesterday was patch tuesday

        "Because patches to *nix systems never fuck up, right?"

        No because you get all your patches from one place and you don't have to reboot the fucker 10 million times just to update notepad !

        1. h3

          Re: Any coicidence here that yesterday was patch tuesday

          Not much of the time in the real world.

          I would say none RHEL Linux (SLES is probably alright as well but I haven't used it) is patched in such a way that it breaks stuff far too often.

          Windows gets broken by the actions of Microsoft far less often.

          Patching AIX and Solaris 10 is pretty annoying. But it won't break if you can read and follow instructions.

          Freebsd when you are using something that is no longer supported (So you have to backport security fixes yourself and make sure they work) is fun but it is definitely not easy. (If you are managing stuff still using Freebsd 2/3/4 then you will know what I mean).

          Dealing with a fancy modern Linux that is past its 6 month EOL or whatever and doing the same thing would be even harder but I don't think people using such things do. (Maybe I am wrong I dunno).

      3. oldcoder


        *nix systems are just easier to fix when when they do.

    2. ElNumbre

      Re: Any coicidence here that yesterday was patch tuesday

      I've had several Debian boxes go bat-shit crazy on me when its APT/aptitude got all confused.

      Still, easy enough to fix, provided its not nuked the NIC or you've still got some other remote access.

      So, its not impossibru, but I still reckon a 1-2% failure rate.

  9. lglethal Silver badge

    "a vision for modern email."

    I had 2 email addresses with Hotmail (one semi-professional and one for the rest), one of which has been transferred to (not by choice, It changed on me automatically!), and I have to say that if is "a vision for modern email" then who ever had that vision must have been on one hell of a bad trip! (probably balled up in the corner, sucking their thumb, crying and hoping it would all go away soon).

    I havent noticed any changes in functionailty which would make me want to change the other account over to and the GUI is just awful... Anyone know how I can change from back to hotmail?

    1. Skoorb

      Re: "a vision for modern email."

      1. PhilBuk
        Thumb Down

        Re: "a vision for modern email."

        Great link - it tells you that you can't switch back.

        Time to move to Google just to escape the shit-faced MS GUI disaster.


    2. Bill the Sys Admin

      Re: "a vision for modern email."

      Mover back to Hotmail? I hope this is some kind of sick joke?

      Hotmail is horrendous. period.

  10. CaptainCrabs

    Stop moaning it's free

    Why to people moan when the service a company is giving them for free goes down for a bit. If you want something more reliable then go and pay for it.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Stop moaning it's free

      It's a service. Even if it is a free service, even if there is no SLA and no guarantee of service, it is still something that the company is offering that is supposed to be useful.

      The fact that the service is not available is a valid cause for complaint, even if the service is free. The only thing that users cannot ask for is compensation for lost time or messages. But they are perfectly entitled and justified to complain about the service not being available.

      1. Roo

        Re: Stop moaning it's free

        OK, I'll moan and I am entitled to because I paid for MS Hotmail (shocking, I know).

        Many moons ago I was happily accessing my Hotmail account using POP3. Then one day Microsoft decided to stop supporting POP3, this bugged me so I asked their support people if there was anyway I could get POP3 and they said pay up on the understanding that they would not commit to maintaining POP3 in the future.

        I paid my dues and everything was fine, they kept POP3 running (bless em) and all was well until a skiddie decided to brute force my password. Now Microsoft, bless them, think that 3 wrong guesses and lock out makes for a secure account, it doesn't, it just makes DoSing an account trivial. After a few weeks of enduring the long winded process of resetting my password every time I wanted to read my email I contacted customer support (repeatedly) and had absolutely zero response. Nada. Nothing.

        Hopefully MS has made DoSing their accounts a bit harder, but I doubt it and quite frankly I'm not going to bother finding out, just as they didn't bother to reply to my emails to their customer support numpties.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Stop moaning it's free

        I'm sure the pigs rave about how the food and accomodation in the barn is free too.

        There's _always_ a cost, somewhere.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Stop moaning it's free

      Because their competitors also offer a free service that doesn't go down nearly as often?

      Been a Hotmail user since pre-2000 (no idea how far before that, but definitely before that). Was a GMail user within minutes of them offering the service and forwarded all my accounts and not looked back. Still technically have a Hotmail account but never use it - they break the interface in Opera about once a year or more (usually by some duff CSS that tries to "detect" old Opera and cut stuff out, but just breaks new Opera versions) and take a month or two to fix it, their support is atrocious, and they have will only suggest to use IE to browse the site - I just keep it for the other Live account services (Messenger - which I'm being forced onto Skype from, and some games force you to have Live, etc.).

      They are trying hard to shove me onto, which I don't want, and for years they played games with people who wanted to use POP3/IMAP to access their inboxes (still might, as far as I know). GMail offer a better service, for the same price, and I haven't had an outage there yet (not saying there have been none, but none that I've noticed), and they don't try to shove me between projects all the time for no reason. And their UI doesn't break, they don't change it on a whim every six months, and even when they do I have enough control to get rid of the junk and/or just suck the mail into my own mail reader.

      At one time I was paying for Hotmail Plus or whatever it was called. I ended up cancelling it before GMail even existed because I just wasn't getting enough for my money compared to other companies offering the same services.

      And now I do most of my own email in-house, and don't have problems. Downtime is rarer than anything I've used commercially and I can still suck in my GMail if need be. Haven't bothered looking into sucking in my Hotmail as the junk mail filter on it is atrocious and a 13+ year-old account is still being spammed by people with hundreds of consecutive usernames in the To: field and Hotmail just let it through all the time.

      Free is a price. Value for money is defined by perceived value of services divided by price. The maths breaks on zero, but assuming an infinitesimally small number is very close to zero and substituting, that still means that GMail and even my own hosting on servers I already have can offer better value for money than Hotmail.

      A dog turd can be free. It doesn't mean I wouldn't rather have a free three-course banquet.

    3. David Hicks

      Re: Stop moaning it's free

      "Why to people moan when the service a company is giving them for free goes down for a bit. If you want something more reliable then go and pay for it."

      Very, very faulty reasoning.

      The company is making money out of me somehow, even if my eyeballs are the product it is selling to its real customers, the advertising industry. Whether I pay directly or indirectly I am part of the revenue stream, and I have every right to bitch about things to try and get them to fix them, or decide to take myself elsewhere and be part of someone else's revenue stream.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stop moaning it's free

        "I have every right to bitch about things to try and get them to fix them"

        Yes, you do, but because you don't have a contract or SLA with them so they have every right to ignore you and do what they like.

        The issue here is people who are depending on free e-mail services for their income and/or critical communications. Every provider has outages at some point; if that's going to cost you money, use a service with an SLA that meets your needs.

        1. David Hicks

          Re: Stop moaning it's free

          "Yes, you do, but because you don't have a contract or SLA with them so they have every right to ignore you and do what they like."

          Indeed, and if they do that they'll lose even more people to their competition.

          It's in their interest to provide a good service, it's in my interest to moan about it or criticise them, it's in the public interest to know consumer opinions on services.... so why the hell do people say "top complaining it's free" ?

          That's the only worthless part of the conversation AFAICT.

    4. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: Stop moaning it's free

      i started running my own mail server - very educational and at least I know who's reading my mail :-)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It might be free to YOU

      But the idiot CIO at the multinational corporation where I work paid what I am sure is a shitload of money to Microsoft to replace our enterprise Exchange systems with Outlook 365 -- which is *also* down. Yes, Hotmail may be "fine" as a free mail service. But it's a *long* way from enterprise quality.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: It might be free to YOU

        Total cost of shifting $orkplace from inhouse mailservers to "Free" hosting at MS - £3.5 million and counting.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you want the job done right....


  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As per usual, my accounts are working fine!

  13. Jan Hargreaves

    It's Microsoft's 'push the self destruct button' week. On Friday they switch of MSN Messenger.......

    Popcorn is ready!

    1. Roger Stenning

      Bugger the popcorn - where's the beer for the fireworks show? ;-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Will be a sad day when they turn off MSN, Skype is pants for text IM. Why it defaults to search your contacts rather than the chat area when you click on it, I will never know.

        I admittedly only use MSN to speak to a few people, but I'll likely find something other than Skype to do so.

    2. Flywheel Silver badge

      Ah, that'll probably bring Twitter down with all the cried of "WTF Has happened to my Messenger?!"..

    3. Jordan Davenport

      It WAS going to be Friday, but at least in the US, the MSN Messenger switch off has been delayed by another three weeks.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hotmail users have always been idiots

    Back in the day when you had the choice of an email account, with you got IMAP and 3Mb email messages, 5Mb mailboxes. At that time, hotmail offered no IMAP but some crappy outlook express integration and only 1 mb mail messages with 2mb max mailbox size.

    Hotmail users cannot count, tech CV's with hotmail email addresses used to be discarded immediately where I worked, back then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hotmail users have always been idiots

      Now I'm tempted to switch to so I don't accidentally land a job at a company as stuck up as that.

  15. Ryan Kendall
    Paris Hilton

    Not affected

    This must only affect a few cos my & haven't had any issues.

    My Gmail account fails nearly every week on me, I only keep it for my android phone now.

  16. RT tablet

    hotmail/ works fine to me

    It is ridiculous how this web page is anti-microsoft.

    I don't recall this amount of fuss when gmail was gown several times last year. And it should be like that. This things happens. No need for tears.

    I did not experience any issues with my hotmail/outlook today. I bet you I am not the only one.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      @RT tablet Re: hotmail/ works fine to me

      Does your owner/user know that you're posting comments on web sites?

    2. GBL Initialiser

      Re: hotmail/ works fine to me

      I'm one of the three people who really likes Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. That out of the way I would like to add that this site isn't anti-Microsoft any more than it's anti-Apple, anti-Google, anti-Blackberry etc... Stop taking it so seriously. Corps don't need you to stick up for them.

      I haven't had any issues with outlook this time either (though there was an issue a few weeks back that I got stung by). Microsoft ballsed up and people should know they did.

    3. Cipher

      Re: hotmail/ works fine to me

      RT tablet inscribed:

      "It is ridiculous how this web page is anti-microsoft."

      Maybe this has something to do with it:

      Catastrophic Microsoft auto updates of 2012

      5 major patch fails in one year.

    4. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: hotmail/ works fine to me

      El Reg is not necessarily anti-Microsoft, but rather anti-Establishment, as their motto makes quite clear.

      Commentards come in several flavours of Fanboi-ism depending on the subject, ranging from level-headed to outright pitchfork-and-torches fanatics.

      On occasion we get shocked to the core when someone is actually knowledgeable in the field an article is about, and we all have to get out of our basements to take a cold shower ( which incidentally, according to our Mum, does not count towards our monthly shower quotum.. NOT FAIR!!)


      1. GBL Initialiser

        Re: hotmail/ works fine to me


        Yep, one can only surmise that people are so sensitive to criticism about their chosen company that the articles seem, to them, to be worse than those about other corps.

        Additionally, a number of commentards accuse El Reg of being in Microsoft's pocket. So there you have it, El Reg is both anti-Microsoft & pro-Microsoft at the same time. The commentards have spoken!

  17. ItsNotMe

    All I can say is...

    ...thank goodness this has never happened to any other cloud based e-mail system.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All I can say is...

      It's just another reason to stick with the old client-server model!


  18. tempemeaty

    I give to Ballmer the Native American name "Crashing Cloud"

    I hope Microsoft gets a handle on their cloud soon because in the last few weeks they have had an unusual number of outages for such.

    1. Euripides Pants Silver badge

      Re: I give to Ballmer the Native American name "Crashing Cloud"

      "Dances with Monkeys" would be more appropriate.

  19. Azzy

    The message is clear - Do not use microsoft for communication

    They've borked hotmail several times, forced some hotmail users to switch to outlook to conform with their mad vision of the future.

    They're pulling the rug out from under messenger, just to force people to another product of theirs.

    In both cases, they're forcing people to use their newer, less desirable product, just to get people onto the new product... Actually, they are doing much the same thing with desktop windows and TIFKaM....

    So maybe the message is "Don't use Microsoft, for anything, because they'll shaft you whenever their C-suite has a "vision of the future".

  20. Levente Szileszky

    Oh noes, another Microsoft service as usual.

    Let me reiterate what I wrote recently (when *another* outage happened, IIRC on Azure): anyone willing to put his critical communication services on a Microsoft-run cloud platform is out his mind and deserves these frequent and hours-long blackouts, period.

  21. itzman

    No let nme see, if I were a malicious hacker...

    Would I hit a small mail service with a few hundred customers, or the biggest baddest most corporate load of 'cloud services' in the world

    Godaddy. Microsoft.


  22. The_Regulator

    Fine for me

    No email outage here. If you would like google sending you targeted ads and scanning your personal email go ahead and make the switch to Gmail.

    Love the rhetoric ElReg, how does most every story here become a hate on Microsoft story...are you funded by google or something?????

    1. Should b Working

      Re: Fine for me

      I use multiple email services, mostly so I don't have all my eggs in one basket. They all have the pros and cons. They all go down occasionally.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fine for me

      "are you funded by google or something?????"

      Are you funded by Microsoft or something?????

  23. IT Hack

    Marketing wankery

    High availability isn't just a phrase...

    Nice pint while watching the bean counters continue cocking things up

  24. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  25. Mss'ty

    How about:

    Having invalidated ALL of my Hotmail accounts and forcing me to have to go in and re-validate ALL of them and assign new passwords today?? I'm sure that puts a strain on their servers if there's a significant number of us. (What are the odds that my 6 accounts were the only ones?)

    ALL of them used different, complex passwords yet MS claims that they had ALL been compromised and required re-validation and account recovery. Give me a D**ned break!!! They have an issue that they aren't publicizing.

    1. Roo

      Re: How about:

      Ah, there's no way back from that. It's probably a skiddie brute-forcing your account. That isn't fixable in Microsoft land, you will have to reset your password every time you want to access your accounts, and hope the skiddie hasn't locked them out before you get to log in after reset. Best of luck with that.

      1. Mss'ty

        Re: How about:

        That's 6 entirely separate Hotmail accounts with very different email names and passwords.

        One used only for Friends

        One used only for Family

        One used only for commercial exchanges

        One used only for online banking

        One used only for special interest groups and charities

        One used only for signing up to blogs like this ;-)

        All 6 were locked out when I tried to check them yesterday with MS forcing me to have to re-verify and put new passwords on them. Coincidence is highly unlikely.

        I use Hotmail as well as Gmail in much the same fashion.

  26. tonyyaman
    Thumb Down

    my outlook account has not worked for over a week now

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