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Blog found after being “lost” for a month.

April 23, 2010

After 1 month of being “lost” Microsoft today restored the majority of my blog. So what happened, you may ask? Well that’s a very interesting story. I’ll start at teh beginning.

Around March 18th I noticed I couldn’t post to my blog. On closer inspection I noticed it was completely missing. My Windows Live ID which gave me access to Hotmail, Passport & SkyDrive was also deleted.

I eventually located the support website, which wasn’t really a support website at all, as it is an online forum where users with issues had to post to the forum and hope someone would assist. So, I made my first post and after 24 hours got no response. So I created a second post, again after 24 hours no response. I then posted 2 separate posts, one for the missing Live ID and one for the blog. Eventually I got a response to the Live ID issue and this was resolved after a few days.

I won’t boar you with the rest of the frustrating banter back and forth with first level support people, as it was ridiculous that no one thought to escalate the issue higher up. The fun part was when one support individual claimed that the blog “couldn’t exist” as it wasn’t showing up on his system. I replied with showing him the list of search hits on the domain name with Google. Once again no response to this.

Microsoft Windows Live support failed majorly at this stage. I was so unbelievably frustrated that Microsoft wouldn’t escalate this issue, that I turned to something I knew would make a difference, Social Media.

I Twittered abut the problem, then someone following me reTweeted what I had said and then the local press latched on to the story. My lost blog drama was published on ITWire hereand on ZDnet here

It was after this that I finally got a serious response from Microsoft that explained how an over zealous anti-spam employee deleted my blog & Windows Live ID.

Their email stated,
“Many here at Microsoft have been investigating the issue with your missing Spaces data and blog entries. We have found that your Space was deleted due to a critical human error which occurred as a part of our spam abuse removal process. We are terribly sorry that this unintentional error occurred.

This type of mistake is very rare and we are still actively working to recover your data, though unfortunately we are just not sure it is possible. Protecting our hundreds of millions of users from rampant and often very serious abuse, from annoying spam up through the spectrum to vicious malware and child pornography, is a fundamental responsibility that Windows Live considers and addresses in a serious manner.

Like all providers of online services, our approach to this process includes an array of automated and human–assisted systems and tasks. In your particular case, our human agent inadvertently made policy enforcement error which resulted in the wrongful deletion of your blog entries and Space content existing prior to 3/19/10.

Again, we will continue to work on attempting to retrieve your data from backup, but we cannot guarantee the effort will be successful. We are very sorry, but ask for your understanding in that this very unfortunate error took place in the direct service of our vital efforts to protect all Windows Live users from spam abuse. As we continue to work on recovering your data, we will provide you with ongoing status.”

From here on Microsoft’s responses and actions were as expected from such an organisation. I was kept up to date with their proceedings and eventually was notified that they had restored the majority of my blog with just a few images they couldn’t restore.

I hope that Microsoft has learnt from this experience and implements changes to their Windows Live support escalation procedures as this would have been less frustrating and stressful for myself and for Microsoft less damaging.

Posted by a relieved
Shane Williamson

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