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Windows Live Hotmail appears to have a problem where the contents of some messages, typically replies, are blank. And there's no fix or workaround yet.

When I reply to a message on Hotmail I'm told by the recipient that the message I sent is blank. I'm certain it wasn't, and yet when I look in my Sent Mail, the message is blank there as well. What gives?

This appears to be a relatively recent phenomenon. Some people are seeing it while others are not. Some people have found workarounds, and yet for others those work arounds don't appear to work.

It's quite frustrating for those who are experiencing the problem.

And the problem, it appears, is with Windows Live Hotmail itself.

The symptoms are this: you reply to a message you've received in your Hotmail account, and by that I mean you type in your reply and you hit Send. Later you hear from the recipient that all they got from you was a blank message. When you go to check your Sent Messages, sure enough the message you thought you sent now appears blank.

First, you're not alone.

Second, it's not your fault.

Third, as far as I can tell there's nothing, really, you can do to reliably work around the problem.

And yes, that makes Hotmail pretty useless until the problem is resolved.

Browsing the forums at http://helpcommunity.live.com you'll find several current threads of discussion on the problem.

"... as far as I can tell there's nothing, really, you can do to reliably work around the problem."

Some notes from those discussions include:

  • Maximizing your browser window apparently helps some (but not all) people work around this problem.

  • It may not happen on all computers.(*) Try logging in to your Hotmail account using a different computer.

  • Windows Live Hotmail support appears to have acknowledged this as a problem that they are working to resolve.

So the best advice I can offer is to either hang tight, and wait for the Hotmail folks to resolve the issue, or to switch to a different email service.

(*) One sub-question that comes up in these situations is "if it's not my computer, then why does switching computers make a difference?".

Hotmail is not one computer. In fact, I'm certain that it's comprised of hundreds of web servers that all act as the "internet side" of the Hotmail service.

Here's my theory: when you connect to Hotmail, you connect to one of those servers. As more connections from more people are made, the connections are spread out over those servers, but each person connects to one of those hundreds of servers.

Somehow that connection is persistent. That means that if you connect to Hotmail again from the same machine, you'll likely connect to the same specific server that you connected to before. If you connect from a different machine, then you'll likely connect to a different server.

And not all servers are experiencing the problem.

This is only a theory. I'm not saying this is how Hotmail works, but it's a reasonable explanation that I could see being plausible and that might explain why you might see different behavior connecting from different machines.

Article C3337 - March 31, 2008 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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9 Comments
mo omar
April 4, 2008 6:52 PM

when you reply don't use rich text
use plain text
that is will work around this problem so far.

hope that will help until Windows Live Hotmail support resolve the problem .

thanks Leo.

Roger B
April 5, 2008 8:01 AM

Whoa!! Another problem (I'm fighting) is the failure of my first log on to MSN (Hotmail Account), But the next attempt succeeds (same password). This occurs every time.
MSN has known of this problem for some time (they acknowledged) but have not resolved to date. I'm currently paying for 'premium' service. If I didn't have so much E-mail in them, I'd be in Gmail all the way. Does Leo know how to move my history of E-mails in-total, to Gmail? I've got the address list transfered. Roger

Eli Coten
April 5, 2008 3:17 PM

You can transfer emails from a Hotmail account using the Windows Live Mail Desktop program. Use it, set it up to work with your Hotmail account, then setup, for example a GMail account and if you use IMAP you should be able to get it to upload all your hotmail emails to your GMail account.

Launi
April 6, 2008 8:00 AM

Sometimes it's not Hotmail's fault at all, and sometimes this happens with other e-mail providers and other e-mail applications too. Sometimes, this happens because the virus protection installed on the computer is being TOO thorough - so thorough that it replaces the actual message being sent with its own message saying that "This message is certified to be virus-free." AVG has this effect in some cases, and I'm sure others do too.

What always works for me is to check the e-mail protection portion of the computer's overall virus protection. If it's set to CERTIFY outgoing mail, disable this function. It's really an unnecessary, overkill feature anyway, and when it causes problems with e-mails, it's more than just obnoxious. See if this helps.

teri dunten
September 22, 2008 10:25 AM

Why am I told I have new email when I don't?

mahmud altaie
December 26, 2008 1:22 PM

why I can't send any attachment in my e-mail

Markie
March 21, 2010 5:18 PM

When I reply to an email, only recently has my reply screen been blank. I mean that the original message is no longer included as it was before. I like the convenience of replying to emails which I can still see as I'm responding. How do I get back that feature?

Stan
May 23, 2010 10:29 AM

I noticed the same problem with my Windows Live Mail (not Hotmail). There is one sender whose email comes up (Unicode-8). That person's email is the only on (mulitple emails) that my replies are blank. Others work ok.

Gail
June 28, 2010 2:26 PM

6/28/10
Re: Blank replies: I am having the same problem except there is no acknowledgement that there even WAS a reply. People are now thinking I am not responding to their emails. I'm going to switch email providers. It is imperative to have a "reply" feature. This happened ever since I downloaded the new Explorer 8.

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