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Recovering emails

Posted on 2006-04-26
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I was using someone's laptop a few days ago.  I tried to open up an access file and the application hung.  I tried to kill the End Task, but the End Task hung.  So I tried to end that task and it didn't do anything.  Tried it a few times then all of a sudden, a lot of hanging end tasks popped up.  I tried to kill the process, but the laptop froze.  I waited a while and it wasn't moving.  The processor was at 100% *20.  I ended up turning off the laptop and then turning it back on after 10 seconds.

Long story short, the hard drive crashed.  I tried going into the Windows Recovery consule.  Did a checkdsk, passed.  Then did a checkdsk /v, didn't.  I put the hard drive of the laptop into a USB enclosure and tried to go in as an external drive, but it didn't see the drive.  I tried a PCI converter and set it up as a slave drive, didn't work.

Later I grab my Winternals disk and use Disk Commander.  Search for physical drives without an assigned letter.  After hours of scanning, I finally got data available to me.  I copied over the entire Documents and Settings folder into another hard drive and found the following in the:

Documents & Settings\%name of user%\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\

outcmd.dat
Outlook.NK2
Outlook.srs
Outlook.xml
OutPrint

I was able to retrieve a pst file in another folder

I was looking for the local settings, but didn't have any luck.  I even ran a search for "Outlook.pst"

Does anyone know what these files do and know of any other directory other than Documents & Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook ?

I'm going to run Winternals again to see if I can retrieve more.
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Question by:warriorfan808
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by:war1
ID: 16549079
Greetings, warriorfan808 !

Outlook settings are stored in registry

HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-1343024091-507921405-725345543-1003\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\Outlook

Export the entire Outlook key to a file. You've now backed up your email accounts. To restore the backup to another computer, simply import the backup into the new computer's registry. You may need to delete the Outlook key off the new computer first.


Best wishes!
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by:warriorfan808
ID: 16549176
Would that include the .pst file?
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by:war1
ID: 16549254
PST file does not contain the account settings.  PST is stored as a file in Application Data folder.
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by:warriorfan808
ID: 16549302
I'm sorry, I can see where you're coming from.  When I wrote, I was looking for the local settings, I meant the, "local settings" folder that had Application Data\ and all the other stuff.  I"m actually looking for a way to get back his emails and contact list.

I notice by opening up the Outlook.NK2 with notepad, there are email addresses listed there.  Is this where contact information is listed or is this just some sort of cache for quicker emails?
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by:war1
ID: 16549328
warriorfan808,

Outlook.nk2 file is the nickname file.  It is use for autocomplete feature when you click on the To field.

Contacts addresses and emails are located in a PST file.  PST file located in C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook folder.  It is a hidden file, so you need to unhiddden files.  

Go to any folder and select Tools > Folder Options > View.  Check "Show hidden files and folders". Click OK.
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by:warriorfan808
ID: 16549402
I was able to extract email addresses from the Outlook.nk2 file.  It's not as complete as it would be from a .pst file though.

If anyone else runs through this and wants to extract email addresses from a Outlook.nk2 file and make a .csv file with your email contacts, go to this site for free software:

http://www.epute.com/nk2csv/

Thanks war1.  I wasn't able to recover the local settings folder with my first go at it.  I'm going to try once more.  So far, at least I was able to retrieve the email addresses of his contacts.  From what it looks like Outlook.nk2 does auto complete by having a cache of entries available.  By using the software listed above, you're able to extract those email addresses.  I'm not sure if that's all of them though.  I asked him and he said it looked about right.

I'll still search for the Outlook.pst file.  I probably wont get to it until tomorrow morning though.

Does anyone know what the other files do and what I can do with them?
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by:war1
ID: 16549475
outcmd.dat is the Toolbar template file

Outlook.NK2 is the autocomplete address file

Outlook.srs is send/receive settings file

Outlook.xml is the navigation settings file

I am not familiar with OutPrint file.  
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by:warriorfan808
ID: 16549504
Thanks war1.  The reason I was asking because I remember a while back when I had to get files from an Outlook Express workstation.  I didn't use a .pst fiie.  I was just wondering if a combination of files did the same and if I could use them.  Looks like this issue can only be fixed if I'm able to retrieve the .pst file.  At least I learned what an N2K file was and how to extract from it.

Thanks for the help.  I'll let this run for another day to see if someone has another way available.  If not, I'll send the points your way.
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war1 earned 375 total points
ID: 16549567
Remember Outlook and Outlook Express data file structures are different.  Outlook Express uses .DBX and .WAB files.
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by:warriorfan808
ID: 16565733
Hey war1,

Sorry forgot about you there.  I was able to retrieve the Outlook.pst file.   Thanks for your help.
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