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Enabling Outlook Cached Mode causes some email to purge (permanently delete) from live Exchange inbox.

Posted on 2013-06-07
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Last Modified: 2013-06-16
I have a very strange issue.

I have one user complain about never receiving an email, that logs verified as being sent.  I have tracked the issue down to the email being deleted and residing in the Recover Deleted Items bin.

Here's where it gets strange.

If I recover the email, it is immediately deleted again within 5 seconds.  Back in the Recover Deleted Items folder.  No matter how many times I recover, it gets wiped out.

After much troubleshooting, I have narrowed the issue down to Outlook Cached Mode.  If I turn cached mode off and recover the email, it remains permanently.  As soon as I enable cached mode and reopen Outlook, the email goes bye bye.

There are no Outlook rules.  The email is not in Junk Email.  It is not in the deleted items folder.  It just gets permanently deleted directly from the Inbox.

I have removed the user's machine from the mix by logging in as the user on a newly built VM.  I have recreated the OST file several times, on both machines.

Interesting note:  after adding a new OST and the Inbox begins its initial sync, all emails BUT the one in question will display in the message list, even though the email still shows in the non-cached mailbox (using OWA).  It's not until the Inbox completes its initial sync, that the email disappears.

At this point, I'm completely baffled.  Any suggestions?  I'm about to delete the user's entire mailbox and recreate it, but I'm hoping to get some answers before I resort to that drastic effort.

***So far I've only been able to tie this issue to a single email, but for all I know there could be others having similar issue***

Environment:
Windows 7 with Outlook 2007 SP3 and all windows updates.
Exchange 2007 with SP3 (I'm sure updates are missing).

***small update:  I tried using yet another computer, and this time with Outlook 2013.  The problem does not exist with Outlook 2013.  However if I am watching the mailbox with 2013 and open that other PCs 2007 client, the email gets purged.***
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Question by:mcdonamw79
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Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39231518
If the problem doesn't follow the user to another machine then you have to look at any issue with the actual machine. However to completely rule it out you need to try another machine with the same versions.
Third party software would be one cause. Does the email in question have an attachment that it could be objecting to?

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mcdonamw79
ID: 39231939
Thanks Simon, however you seem to have missed in my original post that I took the user out of the mix. I gave myself full rights to the mailbox and set up a mail profile on a newly built VM with nothing but Office installed. Same versions of software, different machine. Problem remains.

I also posted that the issue does not occur with Outlook 2013. So it seems so far limited to cached mode with 2007 only.

I ended up copying the offending message to a PST file with cached mode off and copying it back to the mailbox. The copied message is completely fine. The original continues to auto-purge. With this I can deduce the issue isn't with the content of the message.

Still at a loss on this one.
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Accepted Solution

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mcdonamw79 earned 0 total points
ID: 39239258
I have finally found the cause for this issue and resolved it.  The issue stemmed around an option in Junk Mail settings whereby mail suspected as junk was being permanently deleted vs. moving to the Junk Mail folder.

The email in question was considered junk and was being automatically deleted with no alert for the end user.

Also given that Junk Mail functionality only works while Outlook is operating in cached mode, this is why I only saw the issue in said mode.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mcdonamw79
ID: 39251072
After much digging I found the solution myself.
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