updated 1/1/2011 11:16:07 PM ET 2011-01-02T04:16:07

Some users of Microsoft Hotmail are starting off the new year scrambling to get back e-mails of old. A chorus of frantic users has posted complaints on Microsoft's online forum that all of their messages have disappeared.

"Please help me get them back," wrote one user under the moniker 'Zacgore' in a post dated Saturday. "All my kids' info and pictures are in there!"

Others complain that the majority of the e-mail in their inboxes was sent to their deleted mail folders instead. It is unclear from the posts how widespread the problem is. The free Web-based e-mail service is the world's most used with about 360 million users globally, according to comScore Inc.

Windows Live support technicians said in numerous threads that the Hotmail team is aware of the problem and working on a fix.

"At this point it appears to be a limited issue, and Microsoft is working with individual users who are impacted. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers," Microsoft spokeswoman Catherine Brooker said in statement Saturday. She declined to disclose what caused the glitch.

Microsoft's forum contains 476 pages of complaints about lost and deleted e-mails that date back to early November.

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

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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