Retrieving previous mails from mail server if mailbox .pst is corrupted

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Retrieving previous mails from the mail server if mailbox.pst is corrupted isn't easy. You should make a backup of mailbox.pst regularly. Just in case you forgot, here's my retrieval tip for use when your mail server runs on Linux and your mail client on Microsoft Outlook 2000. (I've used periods at the end of some sentences, but don't use them in your code!)

  1. Logon to mail server linsrv1.

  2. Go to var/spool/mail directory.

    cd /var/spool/mail

  3. If the mail has to be retrieved for an user named usr1 then do as stated below:

    cp usr1 usr1bak

  4. Go to user's home directory and then go to the directory where mailbox.pst of the user is kept (Personal Folder). If the user name is usr1 and the directory where mailbox.pst file is kept is outlook, inside the home directory then:

    cd /home/usr1/outlook
    mv mailbox.pst mail1.pst (Use the number for safety.)

  5. Now, restore user's mailbox.pst file from backup.

    cp mailbox.pst /home/usr1/outlook/mailbox.pst

  6. Change owner and group of the copied file using chown and chgrp command.

  7. Now log in to Widows

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  1. server as usr1 and open Outlook.

  2. Click Send/Retrieve

  3. Close Outlook and open its Properties. Choose Internet Mail, then properties and uncheck the checkbox in Outlook's Advance Properties (where it says: "Leave a copy of the messages on server").

  4. Then, open Outlook, and click Send/Retrieve.

  5. Go to mail server linsrv1 and go /var/spool/mail directory and do as follows:

    rm usr1
    cp usr1bak usr1

    Choose owner and group of the user's file.

  6. Now in Windows open outlook and click Send/Retrieve.

  7. Finally, close Outlook, and remember to again check the checkbox in Outlook's Advance Properties ("Leave a copy of the messages on server").

This was first published in January 2004

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