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Inbox are missing in Outlook even though Mailbox shows right size.

Posted on 2006-10-26
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hi Guys,

Yesterday about 15 people's Inbox suddenly disappearred.  Whats strange is that the mails in the subfolders underneath the inbox are still there.  I've read up on other   similar problems that users have had and their solutions were that there is a personal file present and all mails have been transferred over somehow.  Now I've double checked i have found no .pst file.  What I have noticed on my machine (I'm experiencing the same issue as well) is that there is a .ost file which is about 1,829,265 KB.  Which sounds about right for the size of my inbox mail, buit at the same time I've looked up on exchange system manager and checked the size of my mailbox which is 1,153,825 KB which also sounds a bout right.

Anyways I've tried to retrieve the .ost file but have had no luck.  I've even tried OST2PST software but comes with error so really I've ran out of options.

Immediate response is much appreciated.

Kind Regards

Mbavisi
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Question by:mbavisi
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Expert Comment

by:dynamitedotorg
ID: 17810295
Do you have deleted item retention set on the server? If so,  try enabling the dumpster within outlook and see if the missing emails are shown when you do "Recover Deleted Items".

You can enable the dumpster by altering the registry. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Exchange\Client\Options and add a keyword of dumpsteralwayson, type DWORD, value 1. Once you've restarted Outlook the "Recover Deleted Items" menu item will work in all folders, not just Deleted Items.
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by:mbavisi
ID: 17810409
Ok so far what I've done is gone to regedit and went  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Exchange\Client\Options  I right clicked options and clicked on New>Key.  This created a subfolder underneath options.  I named  dumpsteralwayson now inside that folder I created a new DWORD value.  I named it DWORD and value 1.  I exited regedit and restarted outlook and clicked on inbox but the 'recover deleted items' was greyed.

I'm not sure i've edited registry can you please verify if I've done this right.

Thanks

Mbavisi
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by:dynamitedotorg
ID: 17810416
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by:mbavisi
ID: 17810524
Thanks for that link mate.  It has really helped.  After following the instructions I went back to (after a restart) outlook and i've found the option available.  The unfortunate thing there is nothing on the list therefore there is nothing to recover.

Do you really think the mails are deleted?

Please help


Regards

Mbavisi
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Expert Comment

by:dynamitedotorg
ID: 17810610
If they've been soft deleted, then you should be able to recover them through the Deleted Items folder either directly or using Recover Deleted Items.

If they've been hard deleted (deleted using shift-delete) then Recover Deleted Items on the Inbox will allow you to recover them. IIRC a move out of the mailbox is the equivalent of a hard delete.

However bear in mind that the Recover Deleted Items option is dependant on you having set a deleted item retention period within Exchange itself.
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by:mbavisi
ID: 17810661
Do I find out that from Exchage System Manager?

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by:dynamitedotorg
ID: 17810694
Assuming you are using Exchange 2003, go to the storage group, right-click on the appropriate mailbox store and pick Properties, go to the Limits tab and it should be at the bottom.
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Author Comment

by:mbavisi
ID: 17810713
I'm pretty sure my all my missing mail are on the ost file because I've just checked my mailbox and seen the size has reduced.  Maybe it didn't refresh itself and thats why we saw it had the same amount thet we originally had.  My ost file is still about 1.8GB.  I really need to find out how to extract all my mails from that ost file.

Like |i said earlier that I've tried a program called OST2PST  which didn't as it came back with an error saying.


Any solutions to this?  Anyone?


Regards

Mbavisi
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by:mbavisi
ID: 17810725
It had

'Keep Deleted Items dor (days): 7
'Keep Deleted Mailboxes for (days): 30

and the ' Do Not permanently deleta mailboxes and items until the store has been backed up' was unticked.


Rgds


Mbavisi
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Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 17811484
Have you looked at the mailbox through OWA? That will show you what the server has available.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mbavisi
ID: 17811963
Hi simon,


Yes I've checked that and I've seen the same issue basically the mails from my inbox is missing. but the mails in the folders underneath the inbox are fine.



Rgds

Mbavisi
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Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 17812131
Does anyone else have access to these accounts? Very unusual for it to happen on many accounts at the same time. I would be looking at whether it was done by an application or a user - whether in error or maliciously.

If another user had deleted the items then that would explain the lack of content in the dumpster.

Simon.
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by:mbavisi
ID: 17812783
well basically it all started due to active directory messing up.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Microsoft_Network/Q_22036878.html

and It hasn't been fixed since then.


Rgds

Mbavisi
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Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 17813024
Considering that the AD cannot be trusted, the next thing I would probably suggest is to exmerge the mailboxes out, including the dumpster and hidden data and see what that shows.

Simon.
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Expert Comment

by:Vahik
ID: 17817740
open outlook ....do an advanced find....in the LOOK FOR section choose ANY KIND OF OUTLOOK ITEM.....and see if your missing items will show up.....
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by:mbavisi
ID: 17817909
Hi Simon,

I'm not sure what would be achieved by doing exmerge.  Its something that I will have to do over the weekend.  I have noticed that my mail backups have only increased and haven't decreased.  This proves that the mails are still in the mailbox likewise in exchange system manager the mailbox size are the normal size of which it had been since tuesday (before the AD disaster).  Now that the AD is fixed I need to find a way of retrieving the mails from the mailbox.  (Please bear in mind that missing mails resided in the inbox folder, the mails in the subfolders are still present).

One of my colleagues yesterday logged into a different computer.  He was using his outlook for a couple of hours and all of a sudden his old emails have started to return to the deleted items box.  This was wierd as me and another colleague have tried afterwards but had no luck.

Vahik I've tried what you have asked me to do and I have had no mails popping up as missing mails.


Please help

Regards


Mbavisi
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Accepted Solution

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Sembee earned 500 total points
ID: 17818648
Exmerge will pull out a copy of the entire contents of the mailbox, including the contents of the dumpster. Therefore if the messages are hidden you will now be able to see them. It is a very powerful tool and you can run it during production hours as it pulls a COPY of the content.

Simon.
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