Microsoft's Outlook and Hotmail email services suffered a major outage leaving users in the UK and across Europe unable to access their email accounts for more than 12 hours. According to DownDetector.com, the issues first cropped up around 9am BST on Monday (18 September) morning with people reporting login issues and not being able to send or receive emails for most of the day.
Some people said they were able to receive messages but were unable to send them saying their emails kept getting stuck in the drafts folder. The UK and Western Europe were among the worst affected areas.
The technology giant confirmed the outage saying it was suffering connection problems.
"We've identified that a subset of infrastructure was unable to process requests as expected, which caused general service availability to drop unexpectedly," Microsoft's service health site said at the time. "We've redirected requests to alternate infrastructure to restore service, and we're monitoring the environment while connectivity recovers. Additionally, we're investigating an issue in which users are unable to send email messages."
The company later said it identified "that a subset of load-balancing infrastructure may be experiencing increased CPU utilisation, which does not appear to correlate with increases in user traffic".
"We've implemented configuration updates on the affected load-balancing infrastructure, and we're monitoring the environment while the resulting queue of email messages is being delivered," the update read.
The issue was eventually resolved by Monday evening and the services are currently up and running normally at the time of writing. The latest outage comes after Microsoft suffered a massive outage in March that left tens of thousands of users across Western Europe and the US East Coast unable to access Hotmail, Outlook, Office 365, Xbox Live and Skype. Another outage later that month also affected a number of services including Xbox Live, Outlook, Skype, Azure, OneDrive and the Windows Store.
Many users took to Twitter to vent their frustration over the major interruption. The outage also triggered a slew of jokes targeting users who still use Hotmail and Outlook in lieu of Gmail.
"Hotmail is trending as apparently it's been down since 8:30am. I can't believe it. I thought it'd been down since 2009," one Twitter user wrote. Another tweeted: "I thought I was the last person in the land using #hotmail. Now it's not been working for hours, I see there are a few of us left."
Some people also criticised Microsoft for failing to immediately provide updates via Outlook's Twitter account.