MSN Messenger falters for more than 10 million users

Microsoft said Thursday that a hardware failure had crippled parts of its instant messaging service, cutting off all or part of the service to nearly one third of its customers around the world.

MSN Messenger is Microsoft's free instant messaging software and is used by 31.9 million people worldwide, according to research firm Jupiter Media Metrix Inc. As early as Wednesday some users reported being unable to log on to the system, or losing access to their personal contacts, or "buddy" list. The service was still unavailable to many users as of Thursday afternoon.

"In this case, an extremely rare set of circumstances occurred when one of our database servers had a disk controller fail," Sarah Lefko, MSN Product Manager, said in a statement. "The backup for this controller also had an error occur which resulted in it not being able to fix this issue immediately, resulting in the current situation."

The company refuted reports that the outage was related to its Passport authentication service, a service that its e-mail customers use to log on to Microsoft services and other Web sites. "The issue is hardware-related and MSN is now working closely with our vendors and taking appropriate steps on the back-end to resolve the issue and restore service to all MSN users worldwide," Lefko said.

Microsoft has said it will include a more advanced version of the Messenger product with its new operating system, Windows XP, which is set to be released on Oct. 25. Called Windows Messenger, the application will come with text, video and audio messaging capabilities.

While many users have lost access to their buddy lists, Microsoft said the information has not been lost. "When the issue is resolved customers' personal buddy lists will be restored," Lefko said in the statement. "There is no need for users to take any action to restore their personal buddy lists."

Microsoft would not speculate on when the hardware problems would be fixed, noting only that it is "taking action to resolve the issue as soon as possible."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Berger

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?