2011 has started as a very bad year for software bugs, it seems (late, but well rested Apple iPhone users will agree). Distressed users on Microsoft's forum are complaining that most of their emails have disappeared from Hotmail, while others are querying as to why most of their emails have been moved to the delete folder.
Microsoft engineers have said they are aware of the issue and will be offering a fix as soon as possible. MIcrosoft spokesperson Catherine Brooker said in an official statement , "At this point it appears to be a limited issue, and Microsoft is working with individual users who are impacted. We apologise for any inconvenience to our customers."
With so many competing free email providers, such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail, this latest bug for Hotmail may see the service lose many users. And this is a timely reminder for all to ensure they have proper offline backups of their most important messages.
Update: Microsoft says that 17,000 Hotmail users were affected by the "missing email" bug, but that all emails have now been restored [Microsoft blog]