updated 2/16/2010 3:52:30 PM ET 2010-02-16T20:52:30

Microsoft's Hotmail e-mail and Windows Live Messenger instant messaging programs are working again after a brief outage on Tuesday. Some users of the services could not log on to their Hotmail or Messenger accounts. It is not clear how many users were affected.

“This morning, around 9:30am PST, the Windows Live ID sign-in service experienced a partial outage that caused some customers to not be able to sign into services using Windows Live ID for approximately one hour," Microsoft said in a statement. "The service is now restored to normal. Microsoft apologizes for any inconvenience this has caused customers.”

( is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

The problem was due to the "failure of one server," wrote Arthur De Haan of the Windows Live team on a Microsoft blog.

"Windows Live ID logins were failing for some customers, and this increased the load on our remaining servers," he wrote. "We took the problematic server offline and brought a new server into rotation. We identified the root cause and fixed it in less than an hour, but it took a while to resolve the logjam that had built up in the meantime, and to redistribute the load to normal levels.

Some users were seeing this message when they tried to log into their accounts: "We are experiencing higher than normal volume and are therefore unable to service your request at this time" and are told to try clicking "refresh" in the Web browser, clicking on a "back" arrow and trying again, or "wait a few minutes and try again." None of those options seemed to be working.

On a recent Microsoft blog, Jeff Kunins, group program manager for social networking across Windows Live, said that "more than 300 million people in 76 countries and 48 languages use Messenger every month."

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