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Recover email and folders from the client side?

Posted on 2011-03-16
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Last Modified: 2012-06-22
SITUATION:

Server: Exchange 2003
Client: MacBook Pro with Entourage

We have a Mac Entourage user that was running out of disk space, she started having problems with her email so she rebuilt her email databases but it failed, and then all of a sudden, when messages arrived, folders were being automatically created and the messages moved off to them without her direction.  At that point a number of things seems to be corrupted.

One technician had the user remove her Entourage Profile/Identity and create a new one.  She also freed up space on her hard drive.  But when she connected to the server, all of a sudden significant portions of her email were missing, along with a number of subfolders that used to be stored online under her Exchange INBOX. When she connected via OWA, it correlated the fact that large portions of mail and folders missing.

CAVEATS:

Normally we would restore the mailbox from backups, but there is a current issue with (a) the backup system and (b) the space left on the drive for the Recovery Storage Group.  This is currently being worked on, but in the meantime we are trying to help the user asap.

The user reported she runs Time Machine on a regular basis.  We found we could Wipe out (/Users/<USER>/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2008 Identities), restore it from a backup, and then rebuild the database (on the client side).  This restored the missing email and folders.

QUESTION:

If you restore the "Office 2008 Identities" folder from a Time Machine Backup on the client side and it has all of the old email/folders, what happens when she connects back to the server (which is missing a bunch of that information).  Will the server attempt to overwrite the client and wipe out the restored email/folders or will the client update the server and clean up the folders/messages?



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Question by:bhuddleston
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DMTechGrooup earned 500 total points
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Before she connects to the server restore the file then do an export of email, contacts, etc.  Recreate the exchange profile and import the mail from the export created.  By default when the server resyncs it will see the mail gone from the server and remove it from the offline file.
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by:bhuddleston
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DMTechGrooup:

So, just to confirm:

1) Restore the backup copy from Time Machine, and run the DB Rebuild.
2) Once you can open Entourage and see the old email/folders,  export the mail/contacts/etc.
3) Delete the Identity in Entourage
4) Recreate the Identity in Entourage (new user)
5) Import from the Export you created in step (2) into the new Identity
6) Connect to the server and let it sync.

Questions:

1) What do you mean by "it will see the mail gone from the server", currently the server has (a) all the new mail for the past 5 days since this problem started, and (b) a mix of old mail/folders with random chunks of stuff missing,

2) The user kept all her email and folder online (there were no local folders involved), so what is being removed when you say "remove it from the offline file."  

I do realize that Entourage is keeping an offline cache of the user online email, which is what we are recreating and currently has the full picture.
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by:DMTechGrooup
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When it syncs if it see non new mail in the offline folder but is no longer on the server then it assumes it was deleted from the server and removes it from the offline file.

When you recreate the new profile make sure it is connected to the exchange server before you import the mail.

The mail program makes an offline file of the mail so if you take your notebook offsite, or the server goes down you can still get to your old mail, calendar, contacts etc.  that is the offline file.

When you reimport the mail into exchange then it wont consider it old mail but new incoming mail (with the original dates left intact) so the program wont re-remove them because its old..

I hope I explained this right.. haha
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by:bhuddleston
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DMTechGrooup:

That makes sense, thanks for the update/clarification.   I'll give it a shot  and then report back on the results.

As a side question, if the online server has some of the same folders that the export has, will we end up with duplicate messages or will it merge them?
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by:DMTechGrooup
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Depends on how the program was written.. in outlook you can tell it to ignore the duplicates.
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