Hotmail problems blight Outlook upgrades

News Caroline Donnelly Feb 27, 2013

Updated: Microsoft claims yesterday's outage affected a "small percentage" of users, but has now been resolved

Microsoft’s planned upgrade of Hotmail users to its new Outlook.com service hit a snag yesterday, with numerous reports of users being locked out of their accounts.

The problem seemed to affect existing Hotmail users that have recently upgraded to Outlook.com, preventing them from accessing their emails when they signed in via its desktop and mobile sites.

According to our sister site IT Pro, non-Hotmail users that have signed up for Outlook.com accounts do not appear to have been affected.

Hotmail and Outlook.com users took to social networking site Twitter to express their frustration at the service trouble, which is thought to have lasted for several hours.

One user, @WillGorgeousy, wrote: “@Microsoft Looks like the migration to Outlook isn’t working. Hotmail down on the web. Keep us posted on any updates.”

Meanwhile, Hotmail user ‏@LouboutinJools claimed:  “Absolutely nothing but grief with my Hotmail account since I [moved] to Outlook. Put it off for as long as you can.”

In the meantime, the Microsoft Support account on Twitter confirmed that “Hotmail/Outlook services are down” and that it is working to fix the issue.

The account also advised users to check its service status page, which  reported no problems affecting Hotmail or Outlook.com.

In a statement to IT Pro, a Hotmail spokesperson said the outage affected a “small percentage of users” yesterday and has now been resolved.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this caused our customers," the company spokesperson added.

News of the outage comes less than a week after Microsoft announced that it was stepping up its efforts to get Hotmail users to migrate to Outlook.com, as it prepares to retire its aging email brand.

Updated: Microsoft has since moved to clear up some of the confusion surrounding this week's Hotmail outage, after users complained the firm did not do enough to keep them updated about the status of the service.

Many claimed the firm's Twitter support account directed them to a page that stated there were no problems with either Hotmail or Outlook during the outage.

However, in a statement, Microsoft claimed users would have seen a personalised service update, if they could have logged into their accounts.

“If there is an issue impacting a small number of customers, only [those] affected will see the personalised status update. Customers must be logged into their account to see this status update.

“The issue only impacted a small number of users, so only affected users would have seen an update on the status page.

“Issues that impact a significant number of customers will be noted and visible on the server status page to everyone, regardless of whether you’re logged into your account or not,” the statement added.

This story has been updated since it was first published on 26 February.