Web users have slated the new-look Windows Live Hotmail.

Microsoft started rolling-out the revamped interface for the webmail service in September but a number of users have complained, claiming the interface causes the service to run slow.

The new interface does away with what had been two options: the years-old 'classic' interface and a newer 'full' interface that was first offered in 2006. Instead, Microsoft plumped for an interface that merged elements of both, and claimed on its blog that it was much faster to render in a browser.

The new-look Windows Live Hotmail

"It's a big step backwards," said a user identified as 'Dave the Red' in a message from late October on a Microsoft support newsgroup. "I want my old Hotmail back!!"

"Don't like it!!! Don't like it!!! Don't like it!!!" added an anonymous user in a comment to a short Microsoft FAQ on the new interface.

"Everything seems to take up more space on the page. I feel like I'm looking at a book in large print for old folks! Please put it back the way it was!"

Some users reported more serious problems than an awkward interface on the FAQ, claiming that they weren't able to read, delete or print messages; couldn't access some of their folders; and were unable to compose and send new messages.

"Come on Microsoft! First Vista, now this!" said 'Joey. "I've used Hotmail for 8 years and never experienced any problems till now".

Many of the users called for Microsoft to bring back the 'classic' interface option and disputed Microsoft's claim that the new Hotmail was faster.

"Much slower than the old," said 'JackC'.

Microsoft defended the new interface, its performance claims, and the decision to ditch the 'classic' and 'full' mode options.

"When we originally rolled out the full version of Hotmail, we learned that much of the new technology we incorporated didn't perform well in narrowband markets, resulting in the re-release of the classic view," a company spokeswoman said.

"However, with our new combined platform, we offer great performance in all markets by putting the best features from both versions in one well-designed platform. Because of these performance improvements, it is no longer necessary to offer the classic version."

The ongoing rollout of the new interface will continue over the next few months, the Microsoft spokeswoman said.