Lost Message Text!!!


M

MS

Using Outlook 2003 (all of Office 2003), all the latest updates, in Win
XPSP3.

I wrote a long important e-mail this morning, addressed to several people. I
clicked Send, then Send and Receive, and assumed my message was sent.

I received an e-mail from one of the addressees, indicating that the
received e-mail was blank, no message.

I went to my Sent Items folder, with the intention of forwarding that sent
message to this one addressee.

The message title appeared in Sent Items folder, along with the addressees.
But the message was blank--nothing at all in message window-although I had
written a long message. I cannot find that text I had written anywhere!

What could have happened?

Where could I possibly find that missing text, so I do not have to write the
message again?

Thank you in advance for your assistance. :)
 
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M

MS

I will add a piece of information that I forgot to mention before. It is
probably not relevant to the problem, but just in case it is, I will mention
it here.

The original message in question was an HTML-formatted message. A long
HTML-formatted message was in the message body when I clicked "Send".

The message that now appears in my "Sent Items" folder has, as said, the
Message Subject and the Recipients listed, but the message body is blank.
Furthermore, the message body is listed as being formatted Plain Text.

Therefore, somehow in the sending process, all the text in the message body
was lost, and the formatting of the message was changed from HTML to Plain
Text.

I would still greatly appreciate help with this. Thank you.
 
M

MS

I'll add something else.

As that long e-mail took me hours to write, I many times clicked File, Save,
to save the message. Probably as well, pretty recently before clicking the
Send button, to send the message.

When one saves a message, I know it is saved in the "Drafts" folder. That
message is not there now, though. I guess when one clicks Send on a message,
and it goes to the Outbox, it is immediately deleted from Drafts. Such
messages do not appear in "Deleted Items" though.

I wonder, however, if the message might somehow still be under Drafts, but
hidden, and if there could be a way to revive it?

I hope someone can help with this problem. Thank you.
 
P

Pat Willener

First of all, since it took you so long to write that message, I assume
that it should be quite large. What is the size of the message in the
Sent Items folder? If it is not just 1KB or 2KB like an empty message,
then we must assume that the text is still there, but has somehow become
invisible.

If that is the case, open the message, right-click on the message body
and select View Source. Do you see now your original text (interspersed
with HTML tags)?
 
M

MS

Thanks for the suggestion, Pat.

I already tried that, "View Source". All that I see are a couple HTML tags,
no text.

Any other ideas?

What happens to a message that has been saved, that is in the Drafts folder,
when one clicks Send (putting it in the Outbox)? One doesn't see it listed
any more under Drafts, but is the saved version there somewhere?

As data is changed in a .pst file, what happens to the previous version of
that file?

It sure would be nice if Outlook saved a .bak copy of the .pst every ten
minutes or so, so if something like this happened, one would have a backup
copy, still with the data. (I know there are backup programs for Outlook,
but they can only work when Outlook is not running, a very different
situation.

I tried Scanpst, Office Repair, and a few other things.

Yes, writing that e-mail took hours, but now I have spent more hours trying
to recover the text, more time than what it would have taken me to re-write
it. I guess it's the computer geek in me that wants to find a solution--that
thinks "that message must be somewhere". Of course, I never thought it would
take this long. I always think I'll solve it in the next few minutes.

Anyhow, I would still appreciate more suggestions. Thank you.
 
R

Roady [MVP]

No, it's not still stored somewhere else. The item in the Drafts folder is
still the same item as that ends up in your Sent Items folder; it gets moved
depending on the status (composing-> sending-> sent).

My guess in what happened is that you have a virus scanner that integrates
with Outlook and corrupted the item by scanning it before sending it. That
also explains why it gets converted to Plain Text. You really should disable
your virus scanner's integration with Outlook. It is redundant and doesn't
offer any layer of extra protection. See
http://www.msoutlook.info/question/20
It sure would be nice if Outlook saved a .bak copy of the .pst every ten
minutes or so, so if something like this happened, one would have a backup
copy, still with the data.
Not a good idea. Considering an average pst-file is quite large, copying
such a large file every 10 minutes will generate way too much disk I/O and
renders your computer unusable.

Sorry to hear you lost your message, but this corruption is caused by a 3rd
party product.
 
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M

MS

Thank you for the reply, Roady.

The virus scanner I use is Symantec's corporate AV. I forget if it has
Outlook integration. I'll check. You say that it (integration with Outlook)
is completely unnecessary?

The virus scanner could delete all the text in an e-mail, before sending it?

Are you saying that the text I typed is probably completely unrecoverable,
not anywhere to be found on the hard drive, so I should give it up, and
re-write the e-mail? Hard to believe it isn't somewhere.

When a .PST file is changed, is the past version of it (now deleted) not
recoverable somehow, with a file recovery app? (I've tried, so far with no
luck.)

Regarding my suggestion of OL saving a .bak copy of the .pst, every time it
saves the current one (like Word saves a .wbk when it saves a .doc), I
understand your point, that .pst files can be much larger. Yet, it would be
nice if they could figure out some way to do that (for instance, saving
changed data to temp files before making changes to the .pst), so that in
cases like this, one could recover the lost data. (Of course, any such
Outlook backup would be optional.) Current Outlook backup apps, which only
backup the .pst after one closes Outlook (and some have Outlook running
almost all the time), could not serve that same function. It would be nice
if OL could be backed up on a regular basis while it is running. (Optional,
of course.)

Once again, thank you for your input.
 
M

MS

Roady said:
No, it's not still stored somewhere else. The item in the Drafts folder is
still the same item as that ends up in your Sent Items folder; it gets
moved depending on the status (composing-> sending-> sent).
Robert Sparnaaij [MVP-Outlook]
Coauthor, Configuring Microsoft Outlook 2003


http://www.msoutlook.info/
Real World Questions, Real World Answers


Well, here is another suggestion. (I don't know if the developers read these
NGs, or if the MVPs can forward suggestions to them.)

That is, to have as an option, that when you have saved an e-mail (and is
therefore in Drafts),and you click Send, putting it in Outbox, that it also
remains in Drafts. In this case, that would have saved me from having to
re-write the e-mail. The system could even keep a few hidden past saves of
the e-mail in Drafts, so that one could revert to an earlier version (all
configurable, of course).

Of course, that could create a large Drafts folder. This saving would have
to be an option. And one could have options for cleaning the Drafts folder,
such as every week automatic deletion from that folder of e-mails that have
been sent (or every month, every two days, etc.) Or, no automatic draft
folder cleaning--just do it manually. All options to choose from.
 
M

MS

My guess in what happened is that you have a virus scanner that integrates
with Outlook and corrupted the item by scanning it before sending it. That
also explains why it gets converted to Plain Text. You really should
disable your virus scanner's integration with Outlook. It is redundant and
doesn't offer any layer of extra protection. See
http://www.msoutlook.info/question/20
Robert Sparnaaij [MVP-Outlook]
Coauthor, Configuring Microsoft Outlook 2003


Hello again Robert,

I looked at the configuration of Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition. Under
the configuration of Realtime Protection, there is no e-mail or Outlook
protection. There is (of course) the File System Protection, and also Lotus
Notes and Microsoft Exchange Protection. (I don't use Exchange. My Outlook
mailboxes are POP3.) File System protection was turned on, so was Exchange,
and Lotus Notes was turned off. I turned off the Exchange protection. But
that could not have caused the problem, could it, since I was not using
Exchange?

I also looked at the log of SAV, and saw no action that it took around the
time of sending that e-mail.
 
R

Roady [MVP]

You say that it (integration with Outlook) is completely unnecessary?
Yes. What advantages did you expect from it?
Are you saying that the text I typed is probably completely unrecoverable,
not anywhere to be found on the hard drive, so I should give it up, and
re-write the e-mail? Hard to believe it isn't somewhere.
Yes, gone. Why is that so hard to believe? Create a txt-file, type in it,
save it, remove the text, save it again. Result; text gone forever. In your
case you saved the draft while composing but when pressing Send, Norton
opened it again, did its crappy work and saved it again without text.
When a .PST file is changed, is the past version of it (now deleted) not
recoverable somehow, with a file recovery app? (I've tried, so far with no
luck.)
No, because the file isn't being rewritten but appended/shrunk when you
add/change/remove an item.

A pst-file is a database which is a completely different concept then a Word
document when it comes to writing data within the pst-file. You must also
understand that it is not Outlook that lost data but that Norton messed up
the mail item. Outlook on its own is perfectly well protected against a
sudden loss of information just like Word prompts you that it has recovered
some work you lost due to un unexpected power out for example. The
equivalent of Outlook is that it scans the database for integrity issues.
The Deleted Items folder allows you to recover files you should actually not
have deleted. A backup is there for when the complete pst-file fails or when
you need to recover permanently deletes items (meaning that you have deleted
the item twice already). When you were to delete text yourself, you have the
undo function. When you delete the text yourself and closes the item,
Outlook will prompt you save changes.

Now back to your issue. When it comes to Outlook, nothing went wrong so
Outlook is unaware of your data loss. When it comes Norton, a lot went wrong
but it didn't return any errors, nor did it back out of its message editing
procedure. Instead; it crippled your message and told Outlook that it should
be like this and should be sent this way, so Outlook did. It is Norton who
should have built-in a fall back procedure which would restore the item when
it cannot do its magic.
 
R

Roady [MVP]

Usually it is the Exchange protection but I don't use their product so I'm
not sure. They call it that way because you use a corporate version and they
usually have an Exchange account so it is recognizable in the naming
convention. The naming convention is wrong as it integrates with Outlook and
not Exchange. For quite a few virus scanner you can only add/remove the
components by completely uninstalling the product and change the
installation options.



MS said:
My guess in what happened is that you have a virus scanner that
integrates with Outlook and corrupted the item by scanning it before
sending it. That also explains why it gets converted to Plain Text. You
really should disable your virus scanner's integration with Outlook. It
is redundant and doesn't offer any layer of extra protection. See
http://www.msoutlook.info/question/20
Robert Sparnaaij [MVP-Outlook]
Coauthor, Configuring Microsoft Outlook 2003


Hello again Robert,

I looked at the configuration of Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition.
Under the configuration of Realtime Protection, there is no e-mail or
Outlook protection. There is (of course) the File System Protection, and
also Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange Protection. (I don't use Exchange.
My Outlook mailboxes are POP3.) File System protection was turned on, so
was Exchange, and Lotus Notes was turned off. I turned off the Exchange
protection. But that could not have caused the problem, could it, since I
was not using Exchange?

I also looked at the log of SAV, and saw no action that it took around the
time of sending that e-mail.
 
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B

Brian Tillman

MS said:
Well, here is another suggestion. (I don't know if the developers
read these NGs, or if the MVPs can forward suggestions to them.)

That is, to have as an option, that when you have saved an e-mail
(and is therefore in Drafts),and you click Send, putting it in
Outbox, that it also remains in Drafts.

There already is such an option. It's called "Forward". Right-click your
Draft message and choose Forward or select it and click Forward. The
compose window will open exactly as for a send only the message won't be
deleted from Drafts.
 
M

MS

Not really the same. I was suggesting a global option, to have saved
messages automatically retained in Drafts after clicking Send, could be
configured to delete them a day or a week or whatever after sending, etc.
That would have prevented the hours I had to spend re-writing the long
e-mail. (After hours spent, trying to figure out a way to recover the lost
one.)

It wouldn't occur to most people to forward a message, that they have not
sent yet. I guess one could do that with every message, but I was suggesting
something automatic.
 
B

Brian Tillman

MS said:
Not really the same.

Exactly the same.
I was suggesting a global option, to have saved
messages automatically retained in Drafts after clicking Send, could
be configured to delete them a day or a week or whatever after
sending, etc. That would have prevented the hours I had to spend
re-writing the long e-mail. (After hours spent, trying to figure out
a way to recover the lost one.)

Now you're adding to the scope of the original issue. You didn't mention
any of this in the original problem statement.
It wouldn't occur to most people to forward a message, that they have
not sent yet. I guess one could do that with every message, but I was
suggesting something automatic.

The behavior you originally stated that you wanted to see is exactly how
using Forward behaves, so it fulfills exactly the original request.
 
K

Karen Strouse

Just to add another voice here, Outlook lost the text from two messages of mine in the send process as well. My situation is very similar: several recipients (2 TO: and 2 CC: recipients), HTML formatting, long message, several saves (not at the end, though...) It happened the first time about three weeks ago and I should have been smarter about it when it happened again the other day.
There's one difference, though. I'm using McAfee now, and I just noticed that the setting that I have to scan email doesn't let me turn off scanning for outbound mail if I scan for inbound mail. Norton used to let me do that.
I'm not convinced that it's antivirus that was the problem, though. There isn't a single link or photo or file in that message. There would be no reason at all to delete the text, and certainly no reason not to notify me if it did.
I think it's Outlook that's doing it.
 
G

Gordon

Just to add another voice here,

WHERE? This is a global Usenet Newsgroup, NOT some sort of web forum. Please
quote the post you are replying to, reply to the thread, and do NOT change
the subject line.

Thank you.
 
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D

Diane Poremsky [MVP]

No idea what problem you are talking about - but I will address the email
scanning. Unless you are clueless and can't identify spam/virus messages
without a program telling you it's a baddie, you don't need inbound scanning
any more than you need outbound scanning. As long as 'autoprotect' is
running and scanning all writes to the drive, you will be protected if you
attempt to open an infected message, just not forewarned.

The problem is that the scanners don't just scan messages with attachments
or links. They scan every message and the longer messages take long to
scan - that is usually when problems occur.

--
Diane Poremsky [MVP - Outlook]





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