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Receiving blank e-mails in Outlook 2003, webmail OK

Posted on 2010-08-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
For the past few months, boss receives the occasional email that shows blank body.  Sometimes the subject is also blank, but mostly just the body.  However, when we check the e-mail via webmail (now I have set the Outlook to leave messages on the server) the e-mails are fine.  Also, if I forward the problem email directly back to the bosses email, he receives it fine.  I have disabled e-mail scanning from his anti-virus program.

He is the only person in the office with this problem.  I have google searched for solutions, and most of them are how to filter out the e-mails.  I don't want to filter them, we need to receive them.  One today was for a govt contract.  Not the sort of thing you want to lose.  Any thoughts that don't involve rebuilding something in Outlook and losing all his saved e-mail?
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Question by:SevenRed
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by:Mistalanious
ID: 33512619
Maybe a possible .PST file issue.  I would create a new .PST and have all new emails go into that new one.  You could always leave the old .PST on his Outlook to use as an Archive.  How big is the .PST?
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by:100243196
ID: 33512726
What about recreating your bosses Outlook profile on the same machine? Emails would remain in the mailbox on the exchange server so you would not loose them (although creating a backup .pst may be a good idea considering it's the bossman).

Have you tried setting up a different user's outlook profile on the same machine to see if it's application related? What about running the repair feature through Add / Remove programs?

Alternately you could try and set up the boss' outlook account on a seperate machine to isolate the issue to the application / account. Do you have some type of antivirus scanning emails as they arrive?
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by:wolfcamel
ID: 33512797
typically if I get this there is a problem with our antispam/antivirus on the server and restarting their services resolves it, sometimes also need to restart info store.
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by:SevenRed
ID: 33513134
Wolfcamel, that isn't an option for us.  I don't even think our e-mail provider (724hosting) has anti-virus on its' server.  If that was a problem, though, wouldn't it be all emails?  It may be one email every day or 2, with everything else coming through fine. Also, how would I restart the info store?  Never heard of it.

Mistalanious, if it was a PST file problem, wouldn't it be either all emails, or at least all emails from the same person?

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not trying to poke holes in anybodies ideas.  It just seems to me that, if it was a problem like these, it would be more consistent instead of so random.

100243196, the boss had an e-mail problem a few months ago, and created a second profile for him.  I can create another one I guess.  Pretty soon, his PC will think he's a family.

Anyway, I will try each of the above ideas, and let you all know what happens.
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by:Mistalanious
ID: 33513414
Honestly,  .PST problems are pretty inconsistent.  How big is the .PST ?  I've seen a lot of problems when the .PST's go over 4Gb's.  One other thing would be a SPAM filter built onto his Outlook.  Something like AVG or Norton that has those toolbars that attach/scan the Outlook emails coming in?  I would try removing that as well.
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by:SevenRed
ID: 33568852
Mistalanious, his PST file is around 800 MB in size.  How would I make a new file and keep his old one as archive?  I've screwed around with Outlook before, but nothing like that, and he has A LOT of info that, if it goes away, I will be skinned alive and rubbed with salt and buried in an ant hill.  And then he would get mad.

100243196, how would I create a new profile?
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Mistalanious earned 125 total points
ID: 33571173
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/829918

You can also right-click the Outlook icon on the start menu and go to properties on anything before Win7.  Just create a new profile and try to load that one through the Account Settings portion.
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by:Jimmy Andrews
ID: 33571248
Take a look here, just reverse the directions:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/831607

It sounds as if your boss is viewing his messages in either Plain Text or RTF (Rick Text Format).  Those blank messages could be in HTML and that is why they look fine in webmail.

Also take a look at your filter settings in Outlook.  I've had many people freak out because after they read a message, it would disappear.  The actual issue was they had a filter applied that only showed unread messages.  Maybe there is a similar issue here.
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by:SevenRed
ID: 33571705
JimmylTCS, it isn't that the e-mail looks strange.  When it happens, the To, and Subject lines in the header are blank, and there is generally a short line of apparently random letters and numbers.  But, if you open in web mail, the e-mail is fine, all info is there.  And, if he goes into the web mail and forwards it to himself, it shows up in Outlook fine.  

now, one thing I don't think I mentioned before is that his Outlook is set up to not download anything but the headers unless marked for download.  We used to get a lot of phishing and virus e-mails so we set it up not to download unless specified.  But, as far as I know, it shows up as screwy before he tries to download anything.
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by:Jimmy Andrews
ID: 33571769
Start Outlook in safe mode (hold CTRL then open Outlook) and you should have some options to try and repair the installation.  It is starting to sound like an Outlook plugin may be the cause.  You could also go into the Outlook settings and find all the installed plugins.  Maybe there is a legacy app in there that will glare out at you.  Just disable/delete that add-in and try again.
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by:SevenRed
ID: 33572063
OK, creating the new profile seems to work, so far.  Since Outlook is not setup to delete files from the server (currently, anyway) I was able to get the problem e-mails.  However, I am also assuming it is downloading the emails, not just the header, so that might have something to do with it.

Now, is there a way to open his original profile email folders in the new profile?
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by:Jimmy Andrews
ID: 33578032
You should be able to locate the .pst file and import that into the current .pst.  If you are dealing with .ost files, that is a different matter that we won't go into unless we need to.
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by:SevenRed
ID: 33588574
OK, when I go into Import in Outlook, a PST file is not an option.
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by:SevenRed
ID: 33589247
If I go into Data File info, I can add a second data file (the new one is Outlook1.pst).  Would that cause a problem if I did that?
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by:Jimmy Andrews
ID: 33591984
I don't see it causing an issue at all if that works for you.
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by:SevenRed
ID: 33619196
JimmylTCS, you don't understand.  First, is that how I would import the pst file into Outlook?  And, if he goes back and forth between profiles will it cause a problem with some emails coming from one profile and some from another but using the same data file?
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Assisted Solution

by:Jimmy Andrews
Jimmy Andrews earned 125 total points
ID: 33619291
OK, for importing you won't see PST, it is called an Outlook Data File.  Select that for your import and import that PST you are currently adding as another Data File.

Alternatively, with both files open in Outlook, you can click and drag the emails from the old to the new.
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by:Ingeborg Hawighorst
ID: 37194160
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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