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Where are my old emails?

grandsire02
grandsire02 asked
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Last Modified: 2010-08-05
Having AOL as my ISP, I got fed up with their email client, and so set up an "imap.aol.com" facility in MS Outlook so that I can use the latter as my email client. The only problem is that my old emails seem to disappear off the screen after a couple of weeks and do not appear in the archive folders. Where can I find them or have they disappeared for ever? If they have gone for good how can I remedy the situation?
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration Specialist

Commented:
If you access your AOL view AOL webmail...do the messages still appear?  If not, then they are GONE!!
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Top Expert 2008

Commented:
Greetings, grandsire02 !

You may be looking at a filtered view. With the IMAP filter highlighted, click onView at the top menu > Arrange By > Current View.  Make sure "Messages" is checked and not another filtered view.

Best wishes!

Author

Commented:
1. My old messages will not appear in AOL webmail as the AOL server automatically drops them off after 2 weeks.
2.With "imap.aol.com" highlighted I do not have an "Arrange by" option under View in the top menu - all I have is Navigation Pane, Reading Pane, Toolbars, and Status Bars. The "Arrange by" option is only available for the normal Outlook folders.

I realise that I may well have lost past received/sent emails, but can I set the archiving facility up to capture future ones handled via imap.aol.com?
Computer Integration Specialist
Commented:
Yes you can archive...probably even better, just to make sure...is to move the files in IMAP inbox to another folder under the main INBOX...then have the system archive from within your folder structure

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Author

Commented:
How do I do each of those things?
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Top Expert 2008

Commented:
grandsire02,

If the emails are removed from webmail, they are removed from IMAP. Is Inbox the only folder that AOL delete the emails after two weeks?  Or do AOL delete all mail in all folders after two weeks.

To not lose emails in the future, you can move emails to another folder.  Create another folder in webmail, name it Archive or another name.  Then you can copy the emails from Inbox to Archive folder (if AOL does not auto delete emails after two weeks in other folders).

You can see the new folder from your Outlook account.  Reset the IMAP folders.

Author

Commented:
war1:

Can the archiving as you suggest be set up to be done automatically? I know what will happen if it is a manual operation - sooner or later I'll forget or be on holiday and messages will be lost. Normal Outlook archives automatically, and when I use the AOL client it saves all messages to "My Personal Filing Cabinet" which is on my hard drive; but as I've said previously I dislike using the AOL email programme.  

AOL deletes all messages from its server after 2 weeks.

grandsire02
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Top Expert 2008

Commented:
grandsired02,

Outlook has an auto backup utility, but it only backs up POP3 emails, not IMAP.  IMAP is suppose to remain on the server and not needing backup.  

There is this manual method, save your emails to "Save on My PC" Filing Cabinet. There is no auto backup program for AOL that I know of.  

Author

Commented:
"There is this manual method, save your emails to "Save on My PC" Filing Cabinet."
How do I do this, please?
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Top Expert 2008

Commented:
Here is how to use AOL filing cabinet
http://help.channels.aol.com/kjump.adp?articleId=187662

Author

Commented:
This article refers to emails handled by AOL software (that I don't want to use). If I am sending and receiving via Outlook, my messages do not go into my (AOL) personal filing cabinet and so there's little point in backing it up, surely.
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Top Expert 2008

Commented:
grandsire02,

Then you will have to copy emails from your AOL IMAP folders in Outlook to another folder in Outlook.  There is nothing natively in Outlook that will do move the emails automatically. You may be able to do so with a script, but I do not know of one.

Author

Commented:
OK. So going back to my original questions:
1. Have my old emails been irretrievably lost by OUTLOOK (I know AOL don't have them)? If not is there any way I can get them back?
2. How do I prevent Outlook from unilaterally scrubbing messages from imap.aol.com folders after 2 weeks?
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Top Expert 2008

Commented:
1. If AOL deletes the emails from server, and you have not copied them to a folder in Outlook, the emails are gone.  

Outlook saves a temporary session of the IMAP folders, but is gone after you restart Outlook. Search for *.pst file.  PST file is a hidden file, so you have to unhide hidden files.  Open Windows Explorer folder and select Tools > Folders Options > View. Check "Show hidden files and folders". Click OK.

2. With IMAP, the messages are on the server.  Outlook allows you to view the messages but does not download them to Outlook.  You need to manually copy the emails to an archive folder in Outlook before the 2 weeks is due.

Author

Commented:
Have found 3 .pst files under c:\Documents & Settings\Local Settings\ApplicationData\Microsoft\Outlook ('Archive', 'Outlook', and 'Outlookimap.aol.com- 00000005'). Assuming these are the one you refer to, what do I do now as Windows won't let me open them or copy them to a new folder 'imap.aol.com' that I have just created in Outlook?
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Top Expert 2008

Commented:
Outlookimap.aol.com is the file is the temporary file that I referred to.  It may be copy of the most recent IMAP access.  But it is worth try to open it.

Close Outlook. Copy Outlookimap.aol.com to another folder.  Open Outlook.  Go to File Data File Management and open the Outlookimap.aol.com in another folder in Outlook.  Is your old emails there?
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Top Expert 2008

Commented:
grandsire02,

Do you have any more question? If an Expert helped you, please accept his/her answer above with an excellent or good grade.

Thanks, war1
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