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Find lost e-mail messages

A couple of procedures to help you determine the cause of and location of users' lost e-mail.


Find lost e-mail messages
Adesh Rampat

If a user is complaining that email messages received tend to disappear from the inbox or worse yet, the user cannot locate the inbox, the following are procedures the user can try to in order to retrieve the mail:

  1. Most network administrators require that users regularly read their mail and delete any unwanted mail from their mailboxes. If mail disappears from the mailbox, it is probably because the user has not been clearing his mailbox and the postmaster has been forced to clean out the mailbox. Since the postmaster does not read the e-mail (to protect privacy), it is removed based on the size and subject. So, get users to clean or archive their mailboxes regularly, and send a message if the mailbox is about to be cleaned involuntarily, which should be done only in extreme cases.

  2. Ensure that mail is being delivered to the correct location. Using Microsoft Outlook 2000, this can be verified by performing the following:
    • Click on Tools, then select Services.

    • Select the Delivery Tab.

    • Select deliver new mail to the following location. Ensure that the correct location is specified. For example, make sure the user has designated his personal folder.
  3. If mail resides in the personal folder instead of the mailbox, then the user should create an Outlook bar shortcut pointing to the personal folder's inbox (removing the previous one of course).

    If the user still cannot locate e-mail messages, use the following procedure:

    • Go to Tools and select Advanced Find.

    • Set the Look in folder to the root folder of the Mail Box or Personal Folder.

    • Leave all the other fields blank.

    • Click Find Now.

Based on the results of the search, the user can move the items to other folders.

Adesh Rampat has 10 years experience with network and IT administration. He is a member of the Association Of Internet Professionals, the Institute For Network Professionals, and the International Webmasters Association. He has also lectured extensively on a variety of topics.

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