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Missing Contacts Outlook 2003, Exchange 2003

Last Modified: 2013-12-01
I had a user whose computer I replaced with a new one.  The new one had office 2007 on it, she wanted 2003, so I uninstalled '07 and reinstalled '03.  After I did this, her contacts were gone.  I checked her old computer, which had Office 2003 on it and the contacts were there, so I swapped computers out and was going to try to fix it.  Well, somehow, in trying to fix the new computer with the missing contacts, the contacts have disappeared from the old computer that she is currently using.  We are running Exchange 2003.  We don't have the contacts in a .pst.  I do see an .ost on the old computer.  I have a BackupExec V9.1 backup of Exchange information store, but I don't backup single mailboxes.  Is there any way to get these contacts back?
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Mike MiazgaIT Manager


I should say.. is there any way to get these contacts back without restoring the entire information store for the whole company?  If I did do that would it blow away emails since the last backup, and are contacts backed up in the information store?
are you sure the user had the contacts in her mailbox or were they in a PST or older legacy address book?
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Mike MiazgaIT Manager


They were just under "contacts" in Outlook 2003.  I thought they were stored on the Exchange server.. but reading about lost contacts it seems most people start looking for .psts.  I think they were on the exchange server, and when I was trying to fix the lost contact machine, the machine syncronized up to the server, blowing away the contacts.  But I could be wrong.. I really have no idea how they were deleted.
I had that exact same issue happen numerous times.  How many workstations did the user have?  (i.e. laptop, desktop, etc.)
Mike MiazgaIT Manager


Just the one production, but I was working on another that was semi-fubar..at least office was.  It seems Office doesn't like to be demoted from '07 to '03 and I was trying to avoid a reformat.  

So the contacts were stored on the server, yes?  shouldn't the server push the info down rather than the other way?  I'm still confused how this happened.  But thanks for the help.
I got lucky one time where the user also had a company laptop in addtion to her desktop so I ran Outlook without being connected to the network since it was a cached-mode, client and exported the contacts folder to a PST and sure enough when I connected the laptop it whacked all the contacts.  I promptly imported my recently created PST and put everything back.  In that case it saved me from having to restore a 75GB information store to the recovery storage group but that would have been my next step if necessary.

Using the recovery storage group would be your best option.  Now that I think of it, BE 9.1 should be able to use that feature.  I would recommend you check the Symantec KB for recovering Exchange with the versions you have but you should be able to do this and you'll be surprised how simple the process is.
I'm not sure how this happens but something caused the server and client to get their deltas mixed up and bang, there went the contacts.  Oddly enough I've never seen this happen with any other system folder other than Contacts so this could be a known issue at this point.

I would highly recommend a solid Exchange maintenance plan as well.  An integrity check every 3-6 months isn't a bad practice and an ESEUTIL along with it to clean up white space keeps things tidy as well.
Mike MiazgaIT Manager


Thanks.  I'll give it a go hopefully on Monday.  I'm quite nervous about doing this on our production machine but don't have a choice really.. we're a small shop.  If it's as easy as you say it is I shouldn't have a problem..  I'll be sure to credit you next week if all goes well.  Thanks!
that's what's nice about the Recovery Storage group...for small shops that may not have another server dedicated for restores, it allows you to bring a database online, without affecting production, so you can fetch the lost data.  Microsoft really answered the call on this one for us admins.

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