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Outlook corrupting attachments?

A few weeks back we installed a new Linux server.  Clients are all running XP Pro and Outlook 2002.  We are not using exchange.  I'm not sure the new server has anything to with it, but all of a sudden, nearly every attachment sent in an email from any of our users became corrupt and couldn't be opened.  We didn't notice this until a week or so after we got the new server and as far as I know there were no problems the first week.  I thought it could be a recent update, so I uninstalled, but no change.  I uninstalled and reinstalled Office ~ again, no luck.  After trying every other thing I could think of, I decided to wipe the machines - 25 in all.  I wiped the first 2 and it seems to have fixed the issue, but I've now wiped 2 others and the problem persists on those machines.  I'm not sure what else to do.  What could the problem be?  It seems odd that it seems to have affected every client at the same time.
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twimer
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twimer
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1 Solution
 
John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You are not using Exchange, but are you keeping the PST files on a server? (otherwise, what does the server have to do with it). Outlook 2002 is long out of support and not able to keep its emails somewhere else (from the local Outlook machine).  ... Thinkpads_User
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twimerAuthor Commented:
No, the PST files are stored locally.  Not sure the server has anything at all to do with it but I thought I'd mention it just in case.  It seemed a bit coincidental that it all happened so soon after getting the new server.  In fact, it could have potentially happened when we first installed the server...we don't typically send a lot of attachments, so it wouldn't be surprising that we might not have caught it right away.  

 
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Outlook 2002 is old (as noted), but it works fine on Windows XP (I have that setup here on a virtual machine). I don't understand why a rebuilt XP machine would start corrupting attachments.

Take one of the newer machines, find SCANPST (program files \ outlook xx ) . Now run SCANPST against the PST file (back it up first) and see if it finds any errors.

Also, make sure the PST files have not gotten too large. The limit for that setup is 2Gb and many people exceed that today with attachments. If that is happening, archive Outlook after running SCANPST to bring down the size of the main email file. .... Thinkpads_User
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twimerAuthor Commented:
Thanks ~ already tried that though.  No errors.  One thing I didn't do was just create new PST files and then import email from the old pst.  Could it be that simple?  Although if that was the case, the 2 machines that were wiped wouldn't be working now I guess.

Arrrrgggggg!  This is so frustrating.
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twimerAuthor Commented:
Oh, and couple of the PST files are getting pretty large, but the others are okay.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You can copy a PST file to a new machine and open it. You can also (as you said) import into a newly created PST file. But SCANPST should find any errors that importing into a new file would correct.

So back to the PST files.
1. Outlook 2002 will exhibit poor performance with PST files above 1 Gb (even though 2 is the limit). When I used Outlook 2002 myself, I kept the PST file below 750Mb. So do try archiving.

2. Check your connection. If the files are large enough to slow down Outlook (not hard to do these days), the connection could be breaking as Outlook tries to download. So look there as well.

3. Check your SMTP to make sure it is working properly after getting the new server. That is also part of looking at the connection. Try one machine on a non-server connection.

.... Thinkpads_User
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twimerAuthor Commented:
I'll double-check the size of the PST files, but I'm pretty sure that's not the problem.  I know mine is below 1 GB and I have the same issue on my machine.  I've already looked at the size of the files being sent.  Nothing too large there.  I've also checked the SMTP settings.  
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
It seems to me to be performance or server related. Otherwise, if nothing is wrong, why is this occuring.

For sure, move one machine away from the server connection to see if the problem continues to occur.

In Account settings, make sure the server timeout setting is lengthened (2 or 3 minutes).

In Outlook Options, Other tab, make sure Instant Message is unchecked. IM can slow Outlook 2002 down a lot and then in conjunction with a new server, cause issues with attachments.

Make sure you have the Office Compatability patch applied to your Office setup. This has been revised in the not too distant past and should be re-applied if you did this sometime back. Outlook 2002 wants to use Word as its editor and this could be an issue in some way.

My reference to SMTP was not the Outlook Account settings but rather the way the server is processing mail sending. Is it doing something different to the old setup.

.... Thinkpads_User
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twimerAuthor Commented:
Would storing the PST files on the users domain profile on their machine instead of their local profile cause this?  
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twimerAuthor Commented:
Should Word not be used as the editor?  I'll have to check, but I know at least some of the machines are using Word as the editor.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
It is worth checking. On a Windows Domain profile, there should not be a problem with local PST storage. I have a client that did this, but it was with Outlook 2003 and they have since outsourced email.

But your domain is a Linux server (per your first post) and it may do things differently. I would certainly consider this.

Take one machine and move it off the domain, make a local profile, keep the PST in the local profile, and use a batch file to connect to resources on the server. That will work and allow you to test.

.... Thinkpads_User
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I am not saying Word shouldn't be used, but more and more files floating around are DOCX and I am just exploring possibilities. .... Thinkpads_User
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twimerAuthor Commented:
Unfortunately, I have no idea how to create a batch file to connect to the server.  If you could offer any advice on that I'd appreciate it, but I'll look into it on my own as well.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
A connection script would look like this:

NET USE Z: \\Server\Folder /user:username password

If the username (even local username) and password is the same as the name and password on the server, you don't need to include it in the script.  

You can open a command prompt and run the NET USE command manually to see what it needs.

... Thinkpads_User
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Also, if you can, make up a test machine that is not connected to the server and does not need to be. Set up Outlook 2002 on the test machine with a live test setup and see if the problems persist.

All of the above, we are trying to do in test with only one or two machines until you locate the source of the problem.

.... Thinkpads_User
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twimerAuthor Commented:
Thanks so much for all of your help.  I'll give your suggestions a try when I get into the office tomorrow and let you know how it goes.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Hello twimer,

Please let me know if you have made any progress with this issue.

Thank you, .... Thinkpads_User
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twimerAuthor Commented:
I tried all of your suggestions, but still no joy.  I was able to set Outlook up and have it run correctly on my laptop.  I did not connect it to the server.

Not sure what else to do here...
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
One thing you could try is move the Outlook PST file out of your user folder into a folder that is not part of your user profile, which in turn is part of your new Linux server.

So take a test machine (yours, say), make a folder c:\outlook_files, move the PST there so Outlook knows where it is. Then run SCANPST again to be certain.

This might work, because the server would not know about c:\outlook_files . ..... Thinkpads_User
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twimerAuthor Commented:
Off to try that...
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twimerAuthor Commented:
Oh, just an FYI ~ I installed Thunderbird just to see what would happen.  It worked perfectly.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
The reason I suggest to move the PST location is that I think there is a compliance issue between your new server and your old Outlook. This would allow you to keep Outlook.

Thunderbird works because it is newer and more likely compliant with the server.

Please keep me posted. .... Thinkpads_User
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twimerAuthor Commented:
Moving it didn't work either :sigh:   Good thought on the compliance issue, but we currently have 2 users who can send anything they want perfectly.  The other 23 cannot.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
It is strange that your Outlook works when disconnected from the server (profile not active) and yet it doesn't work when you move the PST location in Outlook.

... Thinkpads_User
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twimerAuthor Commented:
I agree, but there are no differences in the way the 2 users who are using Outlook successfully are configured versus everyone else.  
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
There has to be a difference somewhere (else all would work). At this point, my guess is something in the way the new server treats profiles. You have checked everything else with respect to Outlook and have even rebuilt the machines. I don't know what, however.

Perhaps shifting to Thunderbird is an answer until the inevitable: Outlook 2002 is dead and XP is dying. So you will have to consider newer hardware and software at some point nearer rather than farther away. In the meantime, Thunderbird works. .... Thinkpads_User
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