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Recovering Outlook/Exchange 2003 Outbox Messages

Posted on 2011-03-01
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
An employee uses a lot of delayed email, which gets saved in their Outbox.  I reinstalled Outlook and saved backups of everything but these outgoing messages and now they are gone.  It doesn't look to promising, but is there anyway to recover these delayed/outbox messages?  Were they not saved on the server like the In Box?  We use MS Exchange and Outlook 2003.
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Question by:rvfowler2
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by:MegaNuk3
MegaNuk3 earned 400 total points
ID: 35010169
If you still have the old OST the items might be in there. Is the user currently using cached mode?
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by:Berkson Wein
ID: 35010268

Are you using a true Exchange connection or is this a SMTP connection to the server?

If it's a true exchange connection, check the drafts folder when connecting to outlook web access (OWA) for the drafts.  They should be there.

MegaNuk3's option is a good one too if you have a direct exchange connection.  Let us know.  There are several tools for recovery if that's the case.

Last, if it's not a direct connection, there should be a PST, not an OST.  Do you ahve that backed up?

Hope this helps.
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by:rvfowler2
ID: 35010662
Yes, I believe it was a direct connection, not cached exchange mode.  At least that's the setting I have him on now.
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by:rvfowler2
ID: 35010690
So, no it probably was a direct connection because I don't have a pst or ost for his main email box, just for his archives.  By the way, can I redirect the archives to the server.  I was surprised to discover they are on everyone's local drive, and are not being backed up.
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Berkson Wein earned 1600 total points
ID: 35010958
Archive PST's live locally only.  There's nothing stopping you from having them on a network share, but that's not in exchange.  To back them up properly, Outlook really should be closed in my experience.

I meant a direct connection as in using the Exchange server in either cached or non-cached mode vs using exchange just as a simple pop/imap and smtp server.  Sorry for the incorrect terminology.  

Also, I was thinking of drafts, not delayed sent messages.  Drafts go to the server.

Unfortunately delayed messages (sent but set to go out at a later date) IN CACHED MODE do NOT synchronize with the Exchange server.  It's outlook that decides when to send them onto exchange for outbound processing.  (here's a little discussion on this: http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.exchange.clients/browse_thread/thread/2144d83e2482c1c6/701c0c829f5ab820?hl=en&lnk=st&q=cached+mode+delayed+sending#701c0c829f5ab820)

Did you scour the pc for all OST files?  How about using a deleted file recovery tool to search?  My bet is that you had the user in cached mode and the outbox was only in the ost.

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Author Closing Comment

by:rvfowler2
ID: 35012347
Thanks.  The article was thorough.
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