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Email in Outlook 2007 inbox from Exchange Server 2003 disappears. What is the problem?

Posted on 2009-07-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Frequency - 2 times, 6 weeks ago and yesterday. User didn't change any settings. Not all email is gone from inbox. Most current email and back - to begginning of April is gone. There were 2 email accounts set up: default was Type - "POP3/SMTP" Acct. that pointed to Exchange Server, 2nd was Type - "Exchange" Account. "Use Cached Exchange mode" was on. Current View is marked "Messages", "Customize Current View" Filter is Off, 1 rule - "Clear Categories on Mail". Email not in any other folders including Archive. Email not found in "Recover 'Deleted Items' folder". 6 other workstations using Outlook 2007 getting email from Exchange Server none experiencing same problem.
Things I have done:
Deleted the Type -"POP3/SMTP" account
Unchecked the "Use Cached Exchange Mode"  - No change in InBox
Renamed the .OST file, rechecked "Use Cached Exchange Mode"  - No change in InBox
Cleared Rules
In my searching I found 2 other people with exact problem but no resolution.
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Question by:JohnP01
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Have you got auto-archive turned on?
Tools, options, Other, AutoArchive?
If it is, turn it off.
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by:JohnP01
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I'll try that. Will that bring back the emails that disappeared?. Are you saying that might be the cause? No lost email was found in the Archive Folders.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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If it is turned on, it depends on what the settings are within autoarchive.  Possibility is they have been deleted.  Check the settings and we can go from there.
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by:renazonse
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Check the C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook  folder for any other PST files where the lost emails may exist. There may be additional archive folders in there.

Just go to Outlook > File > Open > Outlook Data File > open the PST you need to show it in the folder list
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Author Comment

by:JohnP01
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Default settings:
Run every 14 days
Prompt before run
Delete expired items (e-mail folders only)
Archive or delete old items
    Show archive folder in folder list
    clean out older than 6 months
    Move old items to - c:\.....\archive.pst
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Author Comment

by:JohnP01
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Okay, Checked ..... Outlook folder and there is just 1 .pst file - Archive.pst and No subfolders
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Okay - it looks like you have had the items move to the archive.pst file which is in a hidden folder as subsun has detailed above.
If you searched for .PST files without searching hidden folders, then you would find nothing.
Check the folder and if they are there, you can import them back into Outlook and turn off autoarchive if you don't want to repeat the process.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Achive.PST contains all folders, subfolders etc.  All items are contained within the one file.
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by:JohnP01
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Well as I said in my 1st post - missing email not found in any folders including Archive. The Archive folders are already shown in the folders list and again, missing email is not in them. I can see hidden files as that option is checked and there is only one Archive.pst.

I don't see any comments from a SubSun.
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by:renazonse
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If this was check "Delete expired items (e-mail folders only)" - the email is gone. If they're archived they're deleted instead of being moved to the Archive folder. Since it's (e-mail folders only) it still archived old calendar items, most likely, leaving the Archive folders in the list.
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Alan Hardisty earned 350 total points
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Sorry - I meant renazonse - been on too many questions tonight!
If they are not in an Archive.pst file and not available from Recover Deleted items, then they are gone.
Do you have historical backups of the Exchange Mailboxes?
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Author Comment

by:JohnP01
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Alanhardisty - I am a little ignorant on this subject but I do have a historical backup for all of Exchange and System State. Not sure thats saying same thing as "Backups of Exchange Mailboxes".

renazonse - not following every thing you said.  How does an email get labeled as "Expired". Like I said the person lost his most recent emails - today, yesterday, last week, last month, and yet there were some older emails in inbox from April. And I might add there where several duplicates of the old emails.

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Assisted Solution

by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 350 total points
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This article should give you some more info about autoarchive:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HP052433951033.aspx
Regarding the backups - the Mailbox Store (priv1.edb and priv1.stm for the Default Store) can be recovered from backup and can be used to extract the old emails from.
There are several methods - Exchange Mailbox Restore, EDB recovery tools or exmerge.
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by:renazonse
renazonse earned 150 total points
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"Expired" emails are emails that are labeled to be archived when their time comes.

Does the Outlook Web Access mailbox reflect the same as the Outlook inbox?

Sounds like a lot of user error unless the email is actually showing in OWA...somehow somewhere along the line the email was deleted by something, whether it be a "fat fingered" action or deletion by archiving. Makes it even more likely if it's a single user in your organization with the problem.
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Author Comment

by:JohnP01
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renazonse:
Sorry - not familar with Outlook Web Access mailbox. Help!.
Also, The Autoarchive was set to archive items when 6 month's old and like I said current email is missing. User was not moving or deleting any items.

alanhardisty: Did backup with Windows Server 2003 Backup utility - and backed up "First Storage Group" and System State.
I would then have to restore with backup utility. Not familar with restore - do I just restore "First Storage Group" do I need to also restore System State.
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Assisted Solution

by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 350 total points
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Before you restore anything, take another full backup including the system state but remove the server LAN cable first otherwise you may end up with new emails arriving during your backup that won't get backed up and then will end up lost.
Follow the info in this document to perform a restore using NTBackup:
http://www.petri.co.il/restore_exchange_2000_2003_with_ntbackup.htm
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Author Closing Comment

by:JohnP01
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Thank You for your help. Not sure there was an accurate reason for most recent emails disappearing. But I did learn the email is gone and will not be able to get it back. And pointing me to some articules. I was hoping that renazonse would of explained how to access/check the OWA as I am not familar with this.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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OWA - Outlook Web Access - http://www.yourdomain.com/exchange
If you see the emails on the server then good - if not then they are gone.
What I think renazonse was getting at was that the local copy of mail may not have been a direct reflection of what was on the server, so by using OWA, you are looking directly at the mail that is available, hence not there - your mail is history.
Appreciate the points even though you didn't get your mail back.
Keep any eye on those autoarchive settings.  I always run with it disabled.
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