When the Sapporo Gakuin University attempted to transfer their mail system from Hotmail to Windows Live@edu, it looks like Microsoft may have misinterpreted the meaning of the word “troubleshooting”. After a hiccup in the transfer process, the university’s system engineer followed Microsoft’s instructions, and as a result, ended up deleting the entire university mail system.
According to an official statement from the university, the trouble began in February after Microsoft announced that they would be ending the Hotmail service for educational institutions and would be switching over to “Microsoft Live@edu with Outlook Live”. However, upon initial changeover, a problem was discovered where subject lines and text of transferred emails were not showing up properly in the new system.
After combing over the system, Microsoft discovered a bug in the transfer program that was causing the text problem and set about updating the program. The university was informed that an updated program would be offered at the end of March. Unfortunately, mail that had already been copied to the Outlook Live service could not be fixed, and after consulting with Microsoft, it was decided that the university account on Outlook Live (that was not in use yet) should be deleted and a new account be created so that the transfer process could be attempted anew.
The deletion of the university account was initiated on Friday, April 6. The university’s computer system engineer was given specific commands from Microsoft and the commands were entered at 9.30am. However, shortly after, Microsoft contacted the university stating that certain portions of the delete command were incomplete and new follow-up commands were sent to the system engineer who entered them on Monday, April 9, at 11.30am.
Upon checking the system after entering the follow-up commands, the Outlook Live mailbox had indeed been successfully deleted. Unfortunately, it appears the university Hotmail account was also deleted as well, rendering the entire university mail system unusable. Further investigation revealed that part of the account (namely the accounts of nearly 1000 business administration students) was already deleted during the initial April 6 purge.
As of 4.40pm yesterday, all accounts have been successfully restored, and all passwords have been reset. What a way to start the week…