Four days after an internal error caused the accidental purging of legitimate IM accounts, America Online Inc. began recovering Monday to restore access to thousands of affected users.
The companys technicians have successfully restored the majority of affected AIM accounts, including buddy lists, buddy icons, and other saved preferences.
"As of today, all AIM screen names that were accidentally affected by the recent screen name refresh, as well as all corresponding AIM Buddy Lists, will be fully restored," AOL spokesperson Krista Thomas said in statement released to eWEEK.com.
On Monday morning, some affected users reported receiving the error messages about accounts being suspended, but these were described by AOL as minor kinks that were still being ironed out.
"[All] screen names will also be fully restored by the end of the day," Thomas said.
Thomas also confirmed that a small number of Netscape.com screen names was also affected by the mistaken deactivation of IM handles.
The affected Netscape.net accounts included users who did not use the instant messaging service that came with the free e-mail account.
The accounts were suspended as part of AOLs regular cycle of opening unused screen names to new users. The company reiterated that only a small percentage of its millions of users were affected.
"We sincerely regret the interruption of service [that] some users experienced and we apologize for the inconvenience the interruption may have caused," Thomas said.