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Previously filed emails reappearing in Inbox

Posted on 2006-11-13
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have a customer who sorts his email into one of two subfolders directly below his Inbox. Lately he's been having an issue where old mail will reappear in his Inbox.  There have been at least four occurrences of the problem.  We use an Exchange 2003 Enterprise server (on Windows 2003 Server Enterprise, both on SP1).  He normally uses an email client called Mulberry, but after the first instance of this problem he stopped using Mulberry and started using Outlook 2003.  As this has occurred under both email clients, we determined the client is not the issue.  He also has a Blackberry 7130e, however we don't believe this problem is Blackberry specific (I have 60 other Blackberry users that do not have this problem).

It's important to note the reappearance of these emails is a true reappearance (ie: not duplicates) - when they reappear in the Inbox they no longer appear in the folders to which they had been filed originally.

The first time this happened he was using Mulberry (email client) and 348 previously filed emails reappeared in the Inbox.  These were emails that were filed a month ago or longer.  Subsequent occurrences involved 20 emails, 78 emails, and the last one, 2 emails all of which had been filed for multiple days before the mysterious reappearance. On one of those instances he had stopped using Mulberry, so it occurred while using Outlook 2003. We also had a theory at one point that it might be related to the BlackBerry, because one occurrence happened shortly after he did a manual synch (via Intellisync) with his Outlook Contacts and Notes, but on subsequent occurrences he hadn't done an Intellisync in quite a while, seemingly ruling out that theory.  He never files emails using his Blackberry, only when using an email client (ie: Mulberry) and he uses the wireless synch for email so his email is always synched with his Blackberry.

My personal opinion is that the culprit is the Exchange Server, which is the one common thread amongst Mulberry, Outlook, and BlackBerry, however I haven't been able to find a solution anywhere.  I prefer not to delete/recreate this person's mailbox if I don't have to, so any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks in advance for your assitance.
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Question by:cbcormier
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Hypercat (Deb) earned 250 total points
ID: 17933906
His actual mailbox may be corrupted in some way.  Since you've tried it with various clients, that would be the next place I would look.  I would export everything from his mailbox to a PST, then delete his mailbox completely and create a new mailbox for his user account.

Hope this helps!
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17934321
Hi cbcormier,

As you have already tested multiple clients, I would also be looking at the mailbox, but there are some tests we could do if you really dont want to do that yet.

Can you clean out the rules on the mailbox using the following command -> (close outlook) Start > Run > outlook /cleanrules

I would also recreate the outlook profiles and the windows user profile.

I am pretty sure none of that is going to be useful for you though, use Exmerge to export the mailbox from exchange and then recreate the mailbox (it is no where near as hard as it sounds) and reimport the mailbox with Exmerge -> http://www.petri.co.il/brick_level_backup_of_mailboxes_by_using_exmerge.htm

Hope that helps,

-red
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Author Comment

by:cbcormier
ID: 17949075
Thanks for your responses.  I had a feeling I'd have to remove/recreate the mailbox.  I'll give that a try, pending coordinating with the customer, and will update this to let you know if it worked.  Thank you! ...cbc
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by:scomeau
ID: 17988029
I have almost the same issue (Exch 2k3 SP1 on Win2k3, SP1, with BB7130e).  Did recreation of mailbox solve the issue?

Thank you.
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Author Comment

by:cbcormier
ID: 18019345
The person I'm working with is a remote employee (sales) and we have not yet coordinated on this.  I was on vacation last week and hope to catch up with him today.  I will update this when I know more.
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Expert Comment

by:comeau
ID: 18019424
I sort of solved the issue for us.  The user had over 200Megs of email using about 100 different folders under the "Inbox" for filing.  I had him physically move email and folders out of the server "Inbox" and over to an Archive (.PST) folder.  Once the amount of email and folders was reduced, his issue seems to have disappeared.

If you found another solution, please post.

Thank you.
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Author Comment

by:cbcormier
ID: 18048590
It may be a while before I update this.  The user hasn't experienced the problem since I posted this question, and he's asked to wait and see if the problem recurs before we remove/recreate his mailbox.  I will likely end up having to do this, it's just a matter of when.  I apologize for the delay, but again I appreciate everyone's assistance with this.
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18248788
Got an update for us?
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Author Comment

by:cbcormier
ID: 18270232
Will have one shortly.  I'm trying to schedule the mailbox deletion/recreation some time this week.
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Author Comment

by:cbcormier
ID: 18275354
Mailbox delete/recreate scheduled for Friday 19-Jan.  Will post an update at the end of January, to give the change time to settle in and ensure the problem is resolved.
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Author Comment

by:cbcormier
ID: 18435747
I went through the mailbox deletion/recreation and that seems to have done the trick.  It's only been a week, but the behavior hasn't returned so I'm optimistic that this was the right solution.

Just some quick notes about the process:
a) I copied (not moved) all the employee's data into a PST file.
b) I removed the employee's account from our Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES), to be sure there were no external hooks into his account.
c) I made note of his email distribution list membership, then removed him from those lists before I removed the Exchange attributes from his domain account (we use Windows 2003 AD)
d) I forced replication then waited to ensure his account didn't have any email attributes (took about an hour)
e) Then I was finally able to recreate his email account.  I did this, added him back to email distribution lists, then added him back to the BES.

Thanks to all for your suggestions....cbc
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