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Exchange mailbox lost several months worth of email

Posted on 2011-02-23
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
After restoring several computers a user complained that Outlook was not auto-completing her recipients.  Before the restore I had backed up her nk2 file so restoring it shouldn't have been a problem.  I copied the file over and figured everything was good.

Shortly after the user complained that she was missing quite a lot of emails.  She had several of her latest emails from today, but the next most recent ones are from May, 2010.  I am working on restoring the mailbox from a backup, but the most recent one I have is from several days ago.

Is there any other way I might be able to restore these emails?
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Question by:w00tix
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9 Comments
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:ChopperCentury
ID: 34964424
The user possibly had her outlook changed to save message to a local PST instead of the mailbox around May 2010. If you wiped the PC that had that PST, you are out of luck.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:MichaelVH
ID: 34964436
If the mails got deleted and you've set some retention on the deleted items they still might be available.

check out this guide for more information:
http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Recovering-Deleted-Items-Exchange-Server-2003-Part1.html
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:ChopperCentury
ID: 34964463
How to ensure Outlook is setup correctly in the future.
http://kb.iu.edu/data/aedh.html
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Author Comment

by:w00tix
ID: 34964650
I forgot to mention this - very important

We re-imaged the users computer on Monday (Feb 21). This morning, Wednesday, all of her emails were there when I first configured her Outlook, and it was stuck at syncing with Exchange for about a half hour, so I canceled the operation to restart Outlook. Later that day is when the user realized that recent emails were missing.

My first thought was that it being sent to a local PST file as well.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:MichaelVH
ID: 34964889
It is possible that your outlook-profile was configure to store the emails in a PST (instead of on the exchange server). In that case I fear you might 've lost the mails for good... (if no backup is present)
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LVL 17

Accepted Solution

by:
lucid8 earned 2000 total points
ID: 34972038
Do you have the user set up to use Cached email, i.e. OST?  If so could be you have an OST issue.  First thing to check is the mailbox on the server, i.e. can you see the email via OWA or by connecting from another machine that is not using an OST?
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Author Comment

by:w00tix
ID: 34972080
@lucid8

I checked through both OWA and setting up her account in Outlook 2003 on a different computer, they are missing, so it is gone from the exchange server.

We got a OST -> PST utility, took OST files from her App Data. While it has SOME of the missing emails, it is still missing a large chunk.

We are trying to recover the messages from a Exchange backup, but the backups (surprise) started to fail on Friday (4 days worth missing), even though the daily backup reports said "SUCCESS!"

Do not use VaultLogix for backup. Their software is atrocious.
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:lucid8
ID: 34972208
1. I assume you have checked the article that Michael provided regarding deleted items and especially hard deleted items?

2. Symantec provides a similar error, i.e, they call it a successful failure meaning the backup finished but it missed some files and I suspect that VaultLogix uses something similar.

3. So the best backup you can recover from is from Thursday then eh?

4. What is your deleted item retention set to?

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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:lucid8
ID: 35113682
Thanks for the points much appreciated
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