Outlook 2003 / Exchange: Administrator user Inbox items keep disappearing!

Posted on 2009-03-30
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
One of my clients has a very strange problem with the Administrator user: the items in the Inbox in Outlook 2003 keep disappearing!

Here are the relevant facts:
- They are using Exchange 2003 with Outlook 2003.
- I have checked all other workstations to see if anyone else is logging on as Administrator and possibly having Outlook point all e-mail to a local Outlook data file instead of the Exchange mailbox, but that is not the case.
- This is not a problem having to do with views...the views are set to "Messages" on the Inbox, not "Unread Only" or other views.
- When I use the "Recover Deleted Items" tool on the Inbox, I can restore all of the items only to watch them disappear again right before my eyes. After disappearing, they are not found in the Deleted Items folder, so they are obviously hard deleted (only recoverable using the above tool).
- The Inbox folder has several folders within it, all of which contain items that are not subject to this problem, apparently, so it only happens to e-mails that are directly within the Inbox folder, not to e-mails that are within folders that are within the Inbox folder.
- I finally created another folder under the mailbox called "E-Mails", and had to use the "Recover Deleted Items" tool on the Inbox to quickly restore the items to the Inbox, quickly select as many items as possible, and move them to the "E-mails" folder I created. I did this process several times until finally there were no hard deleted items left to recover. All of the items I moved to the "E-mails" folder are still there and are no longer subject to this problem, apparently.
- This is only happening to the "Administrator" user.
- On the "Administrator" user mailbox, there are no storage limits.

Well, hopefully I've given enough information to be useful. The one user that was logging on to the network as Administrator and using the Administrator e-mail is no longer logging on as Admin or using the Admin e-mail. I am having them log on using their own username (by the way, our client had this user logging on as Admin and using the Admin e-mail account long before they started using us for IT Consulting).

But, the short of it is that I need to fix this issue even though that user is no longer using the Admin user account and e-mail. This should not be happening. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Question by:jbridgman-qds
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Expert Comment

ID: 24024510
Firstly, is there anyone or anything that's using a POP3 connection to the mailbox. I had a client that had an archiving system that used POP3. As we all know, POP3 removes the mail once it's transferred to the client.
Secondly, check there are no rules configured (client side or server side) that deletes messages from all senders.
lastly - login to the ESM and find the admin mailbox and check the "last logged in by" user. That should point you in the right direction. Also the security logs might show something up.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 24025033
Couple of things you got to check immedaitely are:
  • Any Mobile device like Blackberry being usedd?
  • Now follow these steps:
    • Disable Local AV and delete Outlook Profile
    • Change User Password
    • Create Outlook profile again
    • NOw test, does it still cause issues?
Let me know
LVL 47

Accepted Solution

apache09 earned 500 total points
ID: 24025039
LOL, All Administrator user remarks aside.

When you say, "the items in the Inbox in Outlook 2003 keep disappearing!"
- Does this mean ALL Items? Or just some random items?

Is roaming profiles setup for this Administrator Account?

First check that Office 2003 SP3 is installed:

Otherwise, really sounds as if it could be a few things here causing this.
Try The Following.

- As Share-IT said, check for any Rules.

However, I would do the following to eliminate this possibility
If there are rules setup Note them down.
Close Outlook, and reopen using:
Start>Run>Outlook.exe /cleanrules

This should clean All Rules that have been setup for this account. Possibly even some that cannot be seen.
Then go back and re-add any of the rules that may have been previously there.

- Check to see if Cached Exchange Mode it turned on.
Can find it Under Tools>Account Settings>Open the Account Settings
Under Exchange Server Name, you should see "Use Cached Exchange Mode"
If its ticked un-tick it.
Close and Reopen Outlook

- Check to see if Auto Archive has been turned on. If it has, turn it off and test.
Can find this under Tools>Options>Other>Auto Archive

Also, by Right Click on Inbox>Properties>Auto Archive Tab

- Check to see if there are any Add-ins that may be causing this
Can test by closing Outlook and Re-Opening Using
Start>Run>Outlook.exe /safe

Does it happen here? If it doesnt, its highly likely there is an Add-In causing this issue.
Try disabling any Non Microsoft Add ins and Test.

- Could also just be the profile has somehow become corrupt.
Can try closing Outlook and Reopening using
Start>Run>Outlook.exe /cleanprofile

This may clean the profile and correct the problem.
If it doesnt, would just try recreating the profile

LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 24025901
First try this: Close Outlook, click Start->Run, type Outlook /cleanprofile
If that doesn't do the trick then recreate the Outlook profile. Profile corruption is the source of many strange behaviours in Outlook.
You may first want to save away the address cache (the .nk2 file) which contains the addresses the user has prevoiusly sent successfully. You find the .nk2 file here (XP):
C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
(Vista: C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook)
If you do not know how to recreate a profile:
After recreating the profile you can restore the .nk2 file to the same location assuming you used the same name for the new Outlook profile.
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Author Closing Comment

ID: 31564598
It looks like doing the outlook.exe /cleanrules did the trick. There must have been a hidden server rule created somehow that automatically deleted all items that went to the Inbox...don't know why the rule would have been created, or why it was not visible to me, but that seems to have solved the issue. So far we've not had an issue after running the /cleanrules switch.


Expert Comment

ID: 24042166
so what specfically was the fix out of interest?

Author Comment

ID: 24042238
As noted above in the accepted answer, the fix was running outlook.exe from the Run box with the /cleanrules switch, as shown below:
Start -> Run -> outlook.exe /cleanrules
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 24047101
There's no accepted answer ...

Expert Comment

ID: 24047193
Apache09's accepted answer doesn't count then? ;)

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