back to article Hotmail dies on both sides of the Atlantic

According to Reg readers on both sides of the Atlantic, Microsoft Hotmail and other parts of MSN are on the fritz. Two readers in the UK and one in the US shot us emails early in the California am, complaining that Steve Ballmer and company have lost control of their servers. "Has the rest of the world world noticed that …


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  1. Graham Bartlett

    UK link still works still works though. It's only which is dead.

  2. Jeremy Haile


    Yep, hotmail has been down most of the day, and MSN has been intermittant too.

    At one time you couldn't even access the logon pages for or

  3. Insane Reindeer
    Gates Horns

    Windows Live Messanger

    Has been on the blink for most of the day here in Finland.

  4. josh


    only the best university in the world! yoooooooooooouweeeeeeeeeeee!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just Unis..

    Whole of Bristol is without MSN (a bad thing?) at the moment..

    Mind you I wouldn't put it past Virgin Media to be involved somehow, their service has been varying between limp and stone cold dead for the last few days.

  6. Sam

    Do leave orf

    Who the fuck is stupid enough to use hotfail??

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yup - not responding, but have managed to get my emails via

    You would have thought Micro$oft would be able to sort things out like this a bit faster.....

    Another vote for moving everything to my gmail account.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Isn't it Obvious

    Hackers I tell ya, stealing all our personal information, browsing our mails about pron and meds!

  9. Patrick O'Reilly
    Gates Horns

    Shock Horror

    Oh no, a Microsoft product crashed! I'm so surprised!

  10. Nate H.
    Gates Horns


    Is anyone really surprised?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    " actively investigating the cause "

    Well, the /proximate/ cause would appear be that their http daemon is crashed, since port 80 isn't even open...

  12. Ian

    Its working...

  13. Anthony Shortland
    Thumb Down

    Coincidence ?

    Im sure its just a coincidence that its so close to win2008 launch date - couldnt possibly be related to them trying to migrate some servers to win2008 im sure....

  14. Maria Helm

    Windows Live Mobile OK

    Windows Live Mobile OK , East Coast US. Just checked it and sync'd it. I wonder if it's the sites or something DNS. Probably some routing changes working their way across the internet.

    As to who would use it: I got it before MS bought the company, and have had the same email address since 1993. Need I say more?

  15. Jason DePriest
    Paris Hilton

    Hotmail's roots


    Hotmail was originally running on BSD and Unix platforms and was *the* free non-ISP email account to have. I don't know if MS ever got it all running on Windows.

    I've been using Hotmail since before Microsoft purchased it. I slowly weened myself off of it after that. Tried Yahoo!'s free webmail but didn't like it much.

    Once GMail came along (and I wrangled an invite), I jumped from Hotmail completely. I keep the Hotmail account so I have a Live ID for some Microsoft website functions that require it.

    * Paris Hilton icon because she really likes Hot Males (I could not avoid such a juicy pun, sorry).

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Pakistan technique

    Obviously people are now recreating the same conditions as 2 days ago to bring down any website they wish since apparently it's so easy.

  17. b shubin

    Lo, these many several years ago...

    a mighty offer was made, and the bottomless wallet opened,

    and Hotmail was swallowed up by the Redmond whale,

    and the FreeBSD Daemon was banished forthwith,

    and Windows 2000 flowered in its place,

    and BillG looked upon his work,

    and saw that it was good.


    and so it was,

    slower and flakier and less usable,

    until the service went down (yet again),

    and the sun became as black as sack cloth,

    and the moon became as blood,

    and the seas boiled,

    and the skies fell:

    Server 2008 OCP Release Hotmail Migration Pilot Day.

  18. Chris Rankin


    It's back in the North West UK area, hotmail and messenger just got in after several hours.

  19. Nick Rout

    Out in NZ too

    Hotmail seems to be down in NZ too. Dunno where the server would physically be, not in this country at an educated guess.

  20. Tom King

    Moved off just in time

    Wow! I just notified everyone on my list to start using my Yahoo or personal mail server account. Just in time, too.

  21. CSQuake

    Still down?

    MSN® Hotmail® Appears® to® be® down® still® at® 20:06® GMT®. All® I® am® getting® is® page® not® found® after® I® attempt® login®.

    Permission to use all Registered Trademarks of Microsoft pending®.

  22. Michael Emery

    Hotmail is down downunder

    Windows Live Mail/Hotmail is not working in New Zealand this morning either.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Widespread <-- This outage is widespread

  24. webcrash

    I am

    ...and I can confirm that I cannot use msn right now. Hotmail seems ok. When I REGISTERED my address all those years ago, I never thought it would ever be so relevant! My girlfriend, who, on her own pc, cannot access msn either, is less amused.

  25. Spin

    Oops, we let our trade secrets out of the barn!

    They also released documentation on a whole bunch of products the other day. Perhaps some enterprising hacker found a hole into Hotmail?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No messenger all day :(

    Which meant I actually had to get on and do some work. Not cool Microsoft, NOT COOL!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    Has been sucking a big fat one all day hotmail wise. I've actually had to get some proper work done. It's not just Virgin Media being crap for once.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MSN Messenger

    Has been intermittent all day for me, and is currently down. I'm an MCT and was having a lot of problems getting onto some of the secure MCT-only sites today too. Could be a bigger problem than just Hotmail - maybe Passport itself, and more besides?

  29. Tim Brown
    Gates Horns


    ...seems to be affecting messenger.

  30. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    MS warned not to provide email access

    MS was warned not to provide email access to the system between 5pm and 7am because coalition troops can use the email system to track insurgent plans and whereabouts.

    Paris, because why the phuq not?

  31. colin syme


    I am a computer klutz-- thought it was just me! very boring as i have messages to send. Tried MSM help page---no information about outage which makes matters worse---thank god l saw this page on reddit, so l will try tomorrow!

  32. Simon Rata problems

    The best and easiest way to access your account during the current difficulties is to go via Seems to work for me. Good luck.

  33. Morely Dotes

    Ah, a positive use for the BGS DoS attack!

    Lossless compression of the data stream, by removal of the dross.

  34. Stan

    comisarations... those poor, misguided fools using hotmail but this is funny ;) Not often do we get to smile at the works of the black hats, either that or flicking the big 'standards compliant' switch at MSHQ has had some nasty side effects.

    Don't know if you can set adds for articles but if 'buy server 2008' had come up I would have pissed myself.


  35. Davos Summit
    Thumb Down


    They've got other problems today too - the site certifcates have expired for parts of (see for example). How embarrassing...

  36. Jeff


    I wondered how long it would take someone to complain about hotmail.

    Why do so many people complain about Microsoft products?

    If you don't like it don't use it. Why criticise other people for using Microsoft products? They're not causing you Linux/Mac fan boys any bother are they?

    May the people that don't like the Microsoft products are just p****d because they don't know how to use them properly.

    I said my piece.

  37. Lars Silver badge

    All letters used up

    I suppose the have used the last letter in the alphabet for mapping the drives, and now they need Yahoo very fast.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    I bet someone was emailing anti Islamic material..... ;-)

  39. Roger Heathcote

    @ " actively investigating the cause "

    Erm, if you're trying to fix the problem probably the first thing you'd do is kill the webserver (port 80) while your doing it. Much as I don't trust windoze webservers I doubt the webservers of several hundred hotmail servers all croaked simultaneously.

    Roger Heathcote

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    it's about time

    Thank you for this article... especially quoting the guy who said hasnt the rest of the world noticed this... It has been over 4 hours since I first noticed the problem and MSN doesnt even have a notice about this on their site. You'd think they'd be the first with the scoop!!!

    (For not hotmail users, MSn is one way you can access hotmail.) And dont even get me started that thee is no real outlet for info at MSN, or Microsoft. Any help or technical support is replied to "within 24 hours" via email!

  41. Justin
    Gates Horns

    uk hotmail down now

    uk hotmail is down is up

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah that explains it...

    My spam filter hasn't had much work today - now I know why.

  43. John
    Paris Hilton

    So clueless...

    The microsoft bashing is rediculous. This article only touches the surface. Yes, Hotmail was down, but so was a crapload of other stuff. Here in the Seattle area there was an outage from one of the major service providers. Knowing a little about the network infrastructure in the area helps too. Seattle is pretty much the northwest hub for the US. So even if there are servers in Tuckwilla, south of Seattle, they still go through the major COs in downtown for their worldwide connectivity.

    And NO, I don't work for MS.

    paris, because she is clueless too.

  44. Neil Greatorex

    You lot are aware that gmail is NOT now "invite only"

    So there's now no compelling reason to still be using HoTMaiL.

    On top of that it's shite, right?

    Go to

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Other hotmail IP's

    What about trying

  46. John Campbell


    I was getting "server error" or "wrong username/password" when trying to log in with aMSN earlier. Logged in after four goes and got kicked off ten minutes later. Seems OK now.

  47. Don Mitchell

    Hotmail Architecture

    Hotmail was originally a set of Solaris backend data servers (about one per 2M users) and a set of 16 PCs per backend server running BSD/Apache which communicated with the backends via XFS. Cisco hardware glued together these units into one site cluster.

    Microsoft converted the system over to its own software around 2001, partly to save costs but mostly as a demonstration and learning experience for their own scalable software solutions. It was certainly an education, and some of the first attempts had trouble.

    Hotmail has worked well generally, but I've noticed increasing oddities after the "" business took over. I'm guessing that a group of mediocre people have gradually inherited this project and they need to clean house a bit.

  48. colin syme

    colin syme

    Success ! got in via live messenger,----not secure though as l didnt have to sign in. Phew! l was beginning to think it was a prelude to an American invasion! Told the guy next door----- he says its my own fault for using Hotmail. He is coming round tomorrow to show me how to set up e-mail with another provider . Damm now l have to go out and buy some beers.

  49. Uwe Dippel
    Gates Horns

    @ josh

    I hear your call, but don't get the message.

    "University of Cardiff and University of West of England, Bristol are affected to my knowledge". I wouldn't want my kids to get their education there; shark-infested waters? Google offers a great, free, hosting of e-mail accounts for the academia, btw.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    I have a son & daughter !

    I wondered why the kids sat watching TV with us this evening !

  51. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Not so clueless..

    @John The Microsoft bashing is NOT ridiculous. Something as widely and globally used as Live logins* should NOT be centralized in a single location. Microsoft has lots of data centers.. either 1) they had a software crapout at every center (the "failed upgrade" theory). 2) The failover software crapped out. 3) They don't have enough capacity, so one data center failed, failover worked, but the remaining infrastructure instead of slowing down under load completely crapped out.** 4) They really are ignoring best practices for something of that scale and running it out of a single data center, which failed.

    Any of those 4 is deserving of severe bashing.

    *Not used by me though. I just don't trust Microsoft enough to give them any credentials.

    **IIS used to be infamous for this.. Apache on Linux would gradually slow down as more load was placed on it.. whereas IIS on Windows' response time would stay level up to a certain load (part of this level part was actually faster than Apache..) then past a certain load it'd rapidly increase, so rapidly that 5-10% extra load would make it totally unresponsive. To me this would seem to make capacity planning a bit of a trick!

  52. Bill Gates

    Get back to work people

    Everything is ok

    Love Bill x

  53. Daniel B.

    Ah, so that was it

    The MSN dudes had the whole thing down again. I was starting to think my Blackberry was on the fritz... except I could browse anywhere else.

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Pakistan at it again?

    Pakistan decided to rid their country of Hotmail this time?

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Another Day another broken M$ Product

    Try run this as a SQL 05 script and you will see what I mean if you have a field with some Null values


    now take out the NOT bit.


    There you have your awnser... nothing works as per standard.

    hotmail down... I could only wonder why.

    Paris says to try fixing the half written code first before migrating.

  56. tempemeaty

    DATA Cables, and MS Servers...

    Ok first the DATA cables are cut to the Asian continent just almost yesterday and now MS's servers go down world wide. Question is. Do we have the beginnings of a pattern starting here?

  57. Jono
    Thumb Down


    Well not only did I have problems all day but now when I try sending webcam video it seems to freeze at both ends almost immediately after starting.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Jeff said:

    "Why criticise other people for using Microsoft products? They're not causing you Linux/Mac fan boys any bother are they?"

    Well actually their crappy products do cause other people bother (a NetBSD fanboy in this case, not that I'd expect you to know what that is). Enormous networks of compromised Windows PCs, thamks to MicroSofts inability to produce competent software, perform scans of my servers and try to send me malware or spam. all day, every day.

  59. Chris Girocco

    MS Telephones

    Could you imagine?

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Wow....bout time.

    Something actually worth while happened today!

    For this brief time... the world's Spam output has collapsed!

    <grabs coat>

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sigh. Tuckwhat?

    "Knowing a little about the network infrastructure in the area helps too. Seattle is pretty much the northwest hub for the US. So even if there are servers in Tuckwilla, south of Seattle, they still go through the major COs in downtown for their worldwide connectivity."

    Tukwila. No c, one l. And FWIW, my network connection goes from southern Seattle to Tukwila to Sunnydale, with no downtown Seattle stop.

  62. Michael
    Gates Horns

    not a problem

    M$ were just installing a new spam filter with a self learning algorithm which determined that hotmail was the root cause of the problem and immediately shut down the service, immediately solving spam problems world wide.

  63. Stephan

    Well, yeah, but...

    Don't get me wrong, I absolutely can't stand Microsoft but.... how much are (most of?) the users paying for hotmail and msn messenger etc? Nothing? In that case I don't think it is fair to complain. Outages happen to all companies at some time or another. Of course, I suppose they make their money from advertising, but basically it is a free service.

    That said, I can't wait till Microsoft fails. Open source is the future. Openoffice, Ubuntu, etc, they're not just "alternatives" anymore. They are the way forward. Combined with open document formats, I can't see any reason to keep using Office especially. Windows Vista, well I think it's agreed that there is no obvious reason to be using that either. If you haven't made the switch yet, now is the time, believe me!

  64. alistair millington

    oh well

    Gmail - Sell your secrets to everyone and read all your files.

    Yahoo - About to be hotmail which won't be good.

    Hotmail - Run by people that brought you vista

    Better the devil you know.

  65. Thomas Martin

    No connect in Georgia (USA)

    It's 4:30 AM in Georgia, USA, and still no connection. Must be something big.

  66. Anthony

    Oh my god ...

    ... I had been using Hotmail all day! And, oh my god, it has been through Outlook (another MS product). I feel so cheated.

  67. Sceptical Bastard

    Get a bloody grip!

    Hotmail may be shite. Yahoo may be shite. Gmail may be shite (and definitely IS intrusive).

    These, and many other webmail offers, are FREE. Users should expect the level of service that implies. In fact (at least in terms of total outage) the level of service exceeds what could be reasonably expected.

    It is foolish to rely entirely on a single free service for anything critical. Spread your bets, people!

    If you want quality and reliability, expect to pay for it. But if you pay peanuts, expect monkeys.

  68. Adam Wicketts
    Thumb Up

    move to Gmail

    i see a lot of comments about epople still having a hotmail live ID for some services that need it,

    you know you register ANY email address as a passport address and use it right? that why i log in to msn using my gmail address

  69. Adrian

    Yahoo! semi-defaced

    At least in some cities here in Argentina all the Y! images in their mail service were replaced by cheap smut (I suspect a dns poisoning).

    I don't like the merge with MS but this brings an interesting angle to browsing pron while working.

  70. kevin elliott

    First time

    I've been using hotmail since it was first released last century. This is the first significant outage I've seen.

    Give the guys credit for what they've achieved so far. It's a credit to them that the system is available worldwide 24x7 over many years, almost without interruption. How many of your corporate networks could manage that?

    There's no justification MS bashing over this.

    & remember - you don't pay for it.

  71. Anonymous Coward

    There's no justification MS bashing ?

    Oh yes there is according to the EU today $1.4B reasons HAHAHAAHAHA

  72. David Cornes
    Gates Halo

    Hotmail? Yahoo Mail? GMail?

    Real men run THEIR OWN mail servers ;-)

    Now all I need is a 24/7/365 ISP...

  73. Lee Dowling Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    @kevin - Not true

    I've been with Hotmail for many years too (not exclusively, I hasten to add, purely because of such problems). You're talking rubbish if you think that Hotmail has been up 24/7 for years before this. I'm not saying they don't do a good job, but I can think of at least three incidents that were notable enough for me to switch email accounts for the day/week.

    A quick Google turns up an event like this about once a year since they started. Quick, random, not especially notable example:

    In fact, I can even list at least three MS websites that let you log into Hotmail and use different servers - quite often, as was the case this time round, you can't get into one but you can get into others.,, (that last one is the critical one - if that's done, it tends to be ALL of Hotmail down).

    All due, having Hotmail up is a hard task that is done remarkably well, but they aren't any more infallible than other hosting companies. The only email provider that I haven't experienced any downtime on is Gmail so far but I was late to that and I don't log into it all that often, which is, I suspect, the case with yourself and Hotmail.

  74. Jonny F

    Google Gmail login didn't work yesterday either. Coincidence?

    All day yesterday for me (in the USA) the gmail login didn't work, just put you back at the log in. Log in wrong and it told you, log in right and you got the log in screen again. Clicking on the mail icon in googletalk opened up gmail fine,but a log out and re-login continued to fail. Works today.

    Coincidence? I don't think so.

  75. Andy ORourke
    Dead Vulture

    Down again?

    Seems to be suffering once more?

  76. Jono
    Thumb Down

    Server is too busy

    Server is too busy

    Showing right now.

  77. Anonymous Coward

    Webmail OK but... ('Outlook'-style program) saying server timed out.

    Ooh, I've just got a net-dating email! L8RS....

  78. Legless
    Thumb Down

    Hotmail Up, Live-ID Down

    10 am here in Oz and I can get to Hotmail through a browser but not through Windows Live Mail.


  79. Steve Bartlett
    Thumb Down


    It's 2315 in the UK and I still cannot access Hotmail, is this a joke or what?!!

  80. Sam Rice

    It's working!

    Seems that all the trouble was caused by an update to the Windows Live Messenger service.

    New Live Messenger installed and everything is workin A-OK

  81. Graham Bartlett
    Jobs Horns

    Hotmail working for me

    It was OK for me when I tried it at lunchtime, and still seems to be working.

    Oh, and the reason I use Hotmail? Well, it's the email address I give for signing up to things and for giving to people I don't know. In other words, I just know it's going to get spam, and there might be a fair number of emails going backwards and forwards for eBay and stuff. It's a free account, so someone else is paying for it. So ask yourself the question: who would you like to impose a financial penalty on? Me, I'm with the EC on this one. :-)

    The icon? It's from that classic film, "Rosemary's Ballmer".

  82. Terry Kiely
    Jobs Horns

    wonder how long............

    it took them to finally decide to reboot the laptop the whole thing runs on?

    probably couldn't remember which cupboard in Seattle it is stored in.....................

    /puts on Frasiers overcoat

    Steve cos I would love to see him dance on stage and say how much he love's this company now!

  83. Dennis Wodarz

    Hotmail still stone cold dead

    I still get the following error message when attempting to access hotmail:


    Login Error

    Windows Live Hotmail wasn't able to complete this request because your account is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


    Yes, I have tried repeatedly the usual clearing of cookies etc.

    Note that I can login to Windows Live and access my setting and payment options etc. I can also access MS Messenger.

    Just not my Hotmail accout!

    This started Tuesday and its still happening today. From

    different computers even.

    I am a long term paying customer and this is pissing me off!

    3 days is way too long even if a system completely failed and they needed to recover from backup, it should be back up in a few hours.

    What's the deal?


  84. Nermal



    No mate, If it was a Joke it would start... A man walks into a Bar... ;)


    I don't need to bash Micro$oft, they do a better job than I could ever do. Was it not they who did a comparison on MSSQL vs. a DB running on Unix where they used a crap unix box against a state of the art Windows box and only got 15% gains? and then got the advert pulled by Traiding Standards? Gotta love the Spin...


    I spotted that... No poo telly for me... :(

    @All at Microsoft

    Well done, Keep up the good work, what are you going to do next?

    Waiting in wonder

    A Nermal

    If this is normality you can have it. I'm a nermal.

  85. Anonymous Coward

    Morpho arrives on Earth

    United Nations Leaders today welcomed Morpho, the egg headed alien from Pluto who emerged from his Spaceship to greet Earthpeople for the first time.

    Morpho said, 'We of the United Federation of Planets greet you in the name of Galactic peace, friendship and co-operation'

    The UN leaders cheered loudly.

    'By the way, can you get our hotmail to work? We think it sucks'

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