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Email issue

Posted on 2013-12-31
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-01-08
I have an issue with one user that is having intermittent email problems.

Most of the time it works fine but several times a week he will go thru extended periods of not getting any email.  The user is still able to access the internet so he is not going offline.

Once the user realizes that he hasn’t gotten email for a while he will close outlook and open it back up and 20 or so emails will be there.  Again, this is the only user having an issue.

The setup is below, any help would be appreciated.

Exchange 2010
Outlook 2010
Windows 7
Question by:cames01
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39748810
During times that outlook seems to be missing the latest items, does outlook show any sort of status message in the lower right hand corner that indicates connection to the server is missing?  Perhaps needing credentials or lost connection fully?

Do you see any errors in the event log on the exchange server around the time they complain about not getting the latest emails?  Is the user working in the office or remotely through VPN?
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Don Thomson
ID: 39748848
Did you check and see if the email profile is set up to do an automatic send and receive on a timed basis - Normally this defaults to checking on open and sometimes on close.
If the user clicks on Send/Receive icon - does the new mail come in?

Also in their TCP/IP local area connection - check the actual NIC advanced settings and uncheck let the adapter turn off power to this device (default is always checked - should never be)

Author Comment

ID: 39748849
Unfortunately,  I haven’t been able to see the problem first hand.  It loves to happen when I’m out of the office.  I have instructed the user to get with me as soon as he notices no emails.

The user reports no status messages.  However, I can’t confirm that.  I did question if he was able to access other server based programs when he was not receiving emails and he confirmed he could.  I was more doing that to make sure we didn’t have a wiring issue.

Nothing on the logs but I will double check.  It will probably be later in the week before I can report back.

The user is at the office.  In fact, the same office that houses the Exchange server.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39748868
I never mean any offense to users, but I never take their word for it (and it sounds like you don't either).  Not that they lack intelligence, but they generally don't know what to look for or where to find it.

If there are no obvious signs of connectivity dropping (as a whole or just from outlook) or prompts for credentials, I'd try disabling cached exchange mode to see if there's a possible issue with the user's PST.

See if the user can kick in mail retrieval by clicking the send/receive all folders.  I'm not sure I agree with the statement that the defaults are "normally set to checking on open and sometimes on close".  That might be true for POP or IMAP, but not for exchange/MAPI.  You can confirm this by looking at the status of your connection.  If the user is "Connected to Microsoft Exchange", it should be real-time.

Is this the only user experiencing this issue?
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Rob Hutchinson
ID: 39748923
On the workstation, one thing you can check is to turn off caching( in the Outlook setup) as a test to see if the missing emails automagically re-appear.

I'm guessing the offline caching .OST file is corrupt so maybe just try and delete this file and let Outlook recreate the file.

Location for this file in Win7 is:

Please make sure you do not delete *.PST as these are archives, just delete the *.OST file.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39748928
Tried to edit my comment, as I misspoke when I said PST.  Wirednet is correct that it is the OST file, not the PST file.

Author Comment

ID: 39748931
Thanks everybody,

I’m getting ready to leave the office for today and we are off tomorrow.  I will report back later in the week.  I really appreciate the help.

EDIT:  Yes, this is the only user having the problem.

Author Comment

ID: 39748964
Just a quick update.  I went to the outlook folder to find the .OST file and did not see one.

In that folder:

Offline Address Books folder
RoamCache folder
Autodiscover file
mapisvc file
.obi file
large file with user's email addy on it.  I assume that is the PST
.dat file

When I open outlook, I see a ost.tmp file appear for a few seconds.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Rob Hutchinson
ID: 39749035
large file with user's email addy on it.  I assume that is the PST

Make sure you know that this 'is' the PST file, don't assume.

from the explorer window when viewing that folder, click the menu option "Organize" then click Folder and search options" then click the "View" tab and uncheck the box for
"Hide extensions for known file types"

This file most likely is the OST, but make sure first--OST files usually have the user account name as the file name.

Just 'do not' delete .PST files.
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Sudeep Sharma
ID: 39749500
Before you go and delete any file, I would like to propose one more solution. Check fir Microsoft Exchange Proxy Settings and make sure and "On fast networks, connect using HTTP first, then connect using TCP/IP" is checked.

First make sure outlook is not opened.
To check this, Open Control Panel, click on Mail or Mail (32 bit).
It would pop-up window which has three option. Click on "E-Mail Accounts" button. Another Window would be opened.
Click on the second tab on this Windows named "Data Files". If you have only OST file you would see its location there, select that file and click on the "Settings" button. This would open another Window.
In this window click on the last tab named "Connection"
Now you would see "Exchange Proxy Settings". Click on it.
This could open another Windows.
Make sure that "On fast networks, connect using HTTP first, then connect using TCP/IP" is checked.
Now click OK, Ok, Close, Close. To finish this task and check if you is experiencing the same issue.

If this would not work then you may try the solutions provided above.


Author Comment

ID: 39755052
Just a quick update.  

I tried the fixes mentioned above but they didn't work.  However, I was lucky enough to see the problem myself.  

There is a message in the lower right that it's trying to connect to the server.  That message lasts for a while and then the username/pw box will pop up.  This also locked the account out.

I confirmed that the computer was still online while it was having trouble.  I could ping the Exchange server.

I ended up unlocking the user, changing the password, and trying again.  At that point, the user connected to Exchange without an issue.  

I don't know if it's fixed or not.  No issues in the past few hours.  I'm just in wait and see mode right now.
LVL 12

Accepted Solution

piattnd earned 2000 total points
ID: 39755312
Is this user a laptop user?  It's possible the credentials became "out of sync".  Usually I only see this on laptops that are disconnected for a long time, but I did see a few cases that appeared to be the same issue from a desktop.

What I did to fix this was have the user log in and change their password using control+alt+delete > change password.  That forced the local and network to both recognize the correct password.

Additionally, go into password manager to make sure the user hasn't "remembered" a password for the exchange server.  It might be using these and locking out the account/denying access.  The user probably wouldn't even know unless they locked their station or tried to access a network resource that required authentication while the account was locked.  Depending on your domain lockout policy, it would probably become unlocked between 15 and 30 minutes automatically.

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