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Hotmail messages vanishing for some users

Microsoft's free email service, Hotmail, has recently begun showing a number of users empty mailboxes for no apparent reason.

The bug -- which has seen many Hotmail users swarm to the official forums complaining after it first appeared on the 31st December -- appears to remove or at least display all folders as being empty and won't show any emails, with affected accounts appearing as brand new accounts and users even recieving the welcoming email.

"Hotmail deleted all my emails and made it like a brand new account," one frustrated user posted. "Please help. I don't care about deleted emails, but everything else is extremely important."

It's unclear if messages have actually been deleted, although more than likely they are being hidden by a bug or problem with the Hotmail platform. Some users report being able to login once and seeing one or two recent emails, before logging out and back in again then finding their inbox completely empty.

Users frustrated at the time it's taking for the problem to be solved have even headed to Facebook, creating a group to raise awareness about the bug and the seemingly slow response from Microsoft to provide a solution. 63 people have so far joined the group.

Microsoft has now acknowledged the problem, but told the BBC the issues only affect a "small subset" of users and should be resolved soon - there's no current timeframe for a fix to be made available. In the meantime, the company has apologised for the problems, saying they are "sorry" for any inconvenience caused.

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