or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › Genius Bar › Third-Party Products › Lost all Outlook messages, address book, etc.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Lost all Outlook messages, address book, etc.

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Help! I was trying to make room on my hard drive and copied everything from my Documents folder onto an external drive, then deleted it. Then, to my horror, I realized all my Microsoft Outlook data was in the Documents folder.

I tried what would be the logical thing to do and copied all the Microsoft Outlook data back to my Documents folder, but it will not restore my messages, etc. I then tried a few other tips I found online with creating a new identity, copying my stuff into that identity's place, etc. but nothing has worked.

Does anybody know how I can get all my stuff back? I have some really important emails, etc. that I really need.

thank you!
post #2 of 28
If you move the entire Microsoft folder back into place from the external, doesn't it load the profile up? Obviously quit Outlook before copying and then start it up.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, it doesn't and I don't know what I'm missing. I have totally deleted the Microsoft folder and copied my old one back over to my Documents folder and when I start Outlook, it is like it's brand new.
post #4 of 28
Try holding the alt/option key when launching outlook and see if it lets you switch identity.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
That lets me choose an identity to rebuild, but then opens the current one and not the old one. Thanks for the option.
post #6 of 28
If you go into Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities/Main Identity/Data Records/Messages and follow the folders right down until you get to the end, do you have a lot of files in there or is it empty?

If you had put your folder with your old identity back in place and it still had all the messages, I wouldn't expect Outlook to make a new identity without saying there was an error of some kind. If that's what it's doing, there will be multiple folders in Office 2011 Identities.

Try closing down Outlook and moving the folders in Office 2011 Identities somewhere else e.g the desktop and then move the contents of the Office 2011 Identities from the external drive into that folder. Then launch Outlook and see if a new identity has been added. If not, it must mean that it is using that identity but is perhaps having an issue loading your email data.
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thank you again Marvin. I checked the folder and I have a bunch of folders under Messages; each one with another folder, but when you get to the bottom, there are only 3 messages. There are many identities there, all but one say (Backed up 2011-<date>) beside them.

When I look at the Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities/Main Identity that I copied onto my external drive back on March 9th, it only has a 43mb Database file.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcondliffe View Post

When I look at the Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities/Main Identity that I copied onto my external drive back on March 9th, it only has a 43mb Database file.

That doesn't sound good. A default blank database file for me is 23MB in size. It's possible that it has text-only emails inside it but it still seems too small.

Are all the identities of a similar size? If you hit command-i on each identity folder, are they all around the same?

Also, do you use POP for email or IMAP? If you use an IMAP server, your email would still be hosted online.

Lastly, if you used POP, did your emails migrate over to Outlook ok? Outlook for the Mac only came out recently and was Entourage previously. If you migrated it over from Entourage, the Entourage database may still exist on your drive.
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Well Crap! All are similar except for the 1st two Main2 identities. One is 311mb and the other is 284mb.
We use POP for the email account, but have it set to not save a copy on the server. I did use Entourage previously, before moving to Outlook 2011. I just opened Entourage and it has emails up to the end of November which is when I started using Outlook 2011.

I just can't understand why it got so screwed up just because I copied all the files to an external drive, deleted them and then copied them back. Just don't get why it didn't recover.
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcondliffe View Post

I just can't understand why it got so screwed up just because I copied all the files to an external drive, deleted them and then copied them back. Just don't get why it didn't recover.

This is the kind of thing Microsoft does best - they've had decades of practice.

If you haven't done this already, I'd try to setup the identity from the largest folder so that you have a structure like the following:

Office 2011 Identities > newid > Main Identity > Database etc

Just a single identity with a single Main Identity folder inside it. Then see what it does when Outlook opens.
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
OK, I did that and when I opened Outlook, it rebuilt the database and created a 'Main Identity - Backed up 5/21/11'. So I removed it from the Office 2011 Identities folder and tried opening Outlook. The Outlook 2011 splash screen comes up , but the program never opens. So I switched the 'Main Identity' with the Backed up version and the same thing happened.

Outlook just won't open now.

I HATE MICROSOFT!!! This should not be this hard!!!
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcondliffe View Post

Outlook just won't open now.

If you move all the folders out, it should just start over again. If you do this so that the folder Office 2011 Identities is empty and launch Outlook, it should create a default identity called Main Identity. This will have two items in it, Data Records and a Database.

If you then close down Outlook and switch those two items for the Data Records and Database in your 300MB+ folder and open Outlook, what happens?
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Marvin, I can't thank you enough!! I get so frustrated that I don't slow down enough to go to the lowest (and simplest) entity in the chain to be able to solve the problem.

This worked beautifully!

Thank you!!!!!!
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcondliffe View Post

This worked beautifully!

Glad to hear it. Microsoft must be slipping - this only took 3 weeks to fix.
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
I agree! :-)
post #16 of 28
Martin - maybe you can help.... we had to replace a HD and used a TimeMachine backup. Outlook wants to rebuild the database, but then when its done, it says that Outlook can not use the file.

How can we "work around" this MS issue...?
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by graphix1998 View Post

Martin - maybe you can help

I dunno, Martin doesn't come here much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by graphix1998 View Post

.... we had to replace a HD and used a TimeMachine backup. Outlook wants to rebuild the database, but then when its done, it says that Outlook can not use the file.

You can try similar steps to the above but:

- close Outlook and move everything out of the Office 2011 Identities folder
- recover the largest identity folder to this location using Time Machine
- move that backup identity somewhere else
- open Outlook to create a default identity and close down Outlook
- move the contents of the backup identity into the newly created one and open Outlook again
post #18 of 28
Marvin, I need help too please!!

1. I have rebuild my database but before that I had archived email - click and drag from outlook to folder in hard drive. Now when I try to open those emails I get a message that says
"Outlook cannot open the file because it is not associated with the default identity.
Is there a way to transfer this info from old database to new dabase? How can I open those old emails? Any text software that may work? TextEdit doesnt open it.

2. I had few crashes and used time machine to rebuid the database. All old databases that I have I can delete and keep the recent one only?

2. Any software suggestion that will archive emails so the database doesn't get too big?

Thanks!!
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by vvgg View Post

I get a message that says "Outlook cannot open the file because it is not associated with the default identity.

Is there a way to transfer this info from old database to new dabase? How can I open those old emails? Any text software that may work? TextEdit doesnt open it.

There's a guide here for migrating emails over:

http://www.officeformachelp.com/outl...tipleMessagegs

Quote:
Originally Posted by vvgg View Post

All old databases that I have I can delete and keep the recent one only?

Move them out of the folder first to make sure they aren't used and if everything works ok after quitting and opening Outlook, you can delete them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vvgg View Post

Any software suggestion that will archive emails so the database doesn't get too big?

Ideally use a program like Mail that keeps emails as individual files rather than a large database but if you are set on Outlook, Microsoft has details on manual export/archiving:

http://mac2.microsoft.com/help/offic...f-76d818e9882f
post #20 of 28
thanks this is all great!! Appreciate your help Marvin!
post #21 of 28

Hello Mavin, 

 

Maybe you can help me too, I am having the same problem as mcondliffe, however when getting to this stage my issue is not resolved. When i was in all my files and found all my outlook emails saved there i deleted them thinking that they were duplications, then I discovered that it had removed all my e-mails/contacts and so forth from Outlook I dragged them all back from the trash to all my files. 

 

I have gone through a lot of steps to try sync them with Outlook agin but with no luck (identity issue), can you help or has moving and refiling them completely ruined my chances of a fix?

 

Thanks a bunch,

Renee

post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renee12 
Hello Mavin

Hang on, I'll see if she's in. Nope, just me. It's closer than Martin at least. 1wink.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renee12 
Maybe you can help me too, I am having the same problem as mcondliffe, however when getting to this stage my issue is not resolved. When i was in all my files and found all my outlook emails saved there i deleted them thinking that they were duplications, then I discovered that it had removed all my e-mails/contacts and so forth from Outlook I dragged them all back from the trash to all my files. 

I have gone through a lot of steps to try sync them with Outlook agin but with no luck (identity issue), can you help or has moving and refiling them completely ruined my chances of a fix?

See this is where Apple needs to be more responsible. They design these systems with the intention of making them simpler but they really messed up with this.

All My Files is a search view that for some reason Apple made the default view and it gets rid of the hierarchy of a filesystem. So all those files you saw were originally in a folder structure. When you moved them to the trash, it destroyed that hierarchy and when you moved them back into All My Files, it just dumps them into your Documents folder and Outlook has no way of finding them.

I hope they're reading this because they seriously need to put the default back the way it was but their interpretation will be they need to hide more things from All My Files.

The first thing you should do is go to Finder > preferences > Sidebar and enable the home folder (with your username) and hard disks if they aren't already enabled (and disabling All My Files wouldn't be a bad thing unless you happen to like it). If you navigate to your home folder and Documents, the emails should be in there but they might be in amongst a lot of other things. You'd be best to create a new folder on your desktop and put all the Outlook files into there. You can use list view to sort by file type to help.

I don't think you'll be able to easily put them back in the right place in the Outlook folder but Outlook will probably let you import them into a new identity. The big problem is it won't distinguish between sent and received mail. Was it just email files you moved to trash or was it also the database?
post #23 of 28

Hi Marvin, thanks for the reply, I seem to have really messed this one up.

 

I added my home folder and went to documents as you said however this only took me to where I was before in documents and Micorsoft Userdata.... I had already created new identities when trying to fix the problem a few days ago and to be honest am not sure which one is the original and which are my attempts to sync the files again.

 

All the files I deleted had the outlook icon :( I don't think I deleted the database (but am not really sure

 

I have now moved the outlook files to a separate folder on my desktop and tried to import them this way via File & Import within Outlook however all the files are greyed out and I am unable to select them. When I create a new identity again it all happens automatic and I am not able to choose where it looks for the files.. am I doing something wrong?

 

FYI, I am completely useless when it comes to these things and appreciate all the help ;)

post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renee12 
I had already created new identities when trying to fix the problem a few days ago and to be honest am not sure which one is the original and which are my attempts to sync the files again.

If you go into list view on the folder where your identites are and right-click the bar where it says modification date, it will let you add creation date. The earliest creation date should be your original identity. It should also be the largest folder so while in list view, you can also go to the Finder view menu > show view options and select calculate all sizes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renee12 
I have now moved the outlook files to a separate folder on my desktop and tried to import them this way via File & Import within Outlook however all the files are greyed out and I am unable to select them.

There are a couple of ways to rebuild this. When you dragged all of the emails out of All My Files, that should have been just the email header files. Close down Outlook first and try the following on the original identity you should have found earlier.

Inside your identity folder, there is a Data Records folder and inside that there are folders called Message Sources and Messages.
Message Sources has the email contents, Messages has the headers.
The folder structures in both of these Message folders should still exist and they should have the same groups of folders inside them.

Look at where the files are inside the Message Sources folder and if you find a file named say x27_137.olk14MsgSource (Microsoft has the friendliest naming conventions), the corresponding header to that should be x00_138.olk14Message (they increment the number before the extension for the header - usualy by 1 but sometimes more. It's the next closest number that matches) and it should be in the Messages folder in the same folder group.

Basically:
Message Sources > 0T > 0B > 0M > 0K > x27_137.olk14MsgSource
matches
Messages > 0T > 0B > 0M > 0K > x00_138.olk14Message

If you have a load of these olk14Message files, it might take a while to do this but hopefully there won't be too many subfolders so you can drag batches of headers into the right folders at a time as they should be numbered sequentially.

Once all the files are in the right place, you should be able to move all the old identity folders out of the way and rename the original identity folder to Main Identity. If everything is ok, Outlook should ask you to pick an identity and open it without an error. If it still does, cancel and check the folders for any mismatches. If you can't see anything, try rebuilding.

If it still has a problem, the alternative route is to start a new identity and rename the files in Message Sources to have a .eml extension and then drag them into a folder in the Outlook sidebar. I would say this is a last resort though because this won't distinguish between sent/received emails and would also be quite time consuming. Putting the header files back will actually rebuild the identity.
post #25 of 28

Help with Outlook Contacts & Calendars - lost

Hi Marvin - I'm hoping you can help me with an Outlook issue as well. I was having trouble synching my iPhone and my emails with my network provider. They chose to delete my email account and then set up a new one - they told me not to worry because all my emails, etc were on their server. While this was true, when I went to my Outlook on my MacBook, I found that outlook was empty - and by empty I mean no emails, contacts or calendar files. I don't have a timemachine back up set up yet (my bad - am going to do this today!) but I did have a backup .olm file from my Outlook from only a week ago. The problem is that I imported the .olm file into Outlook, and while all my emails came in, none of my contact files or calendar files came in...any suggestions on how to recover those parts of Outlook?

post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by janetg View Post

They chose to delete my email account and then set up a new one - they told me not to worry because all my emails, etc were on their server. While this was true, when I went to my Outlook on my MacBook, I found that outlook was empty - and by empty I mean no emails, contacts or calendar files.

If they said your data is still on the server, you should just need to put in the right server details to access it. If you don't have an Exchange service, they likely just have your emails anyway. Your contacts and calendars should be in your backup as long as you chose to back those items up when you made it. If they aren't importing from that backup, I'd assume those options weren't selected when making the backup. If you have your emails though, you should at least have the contacts. If you have the calendars on your phone or iCal, you might be able to sync those back with Outlook.
post #27 of 28

I know this is an old thread, but I did the same thing.

Moved my MUD file thinking I didn't need it as somehow it was located in a different folder (one I thought I could delete).

Then emptied the trash. Got the message that couldn't empty that file since it was in use and realised I must need it, so moved it back and started searching for the problem.

Anyway, I have a database file for the main identity that is nearly 400MB, but I must have deleted the Data folder that accompanies it.

 

Is the database useless without the folder or is there some way to retrieve my emails etc?

Cheers

post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaffaoz View Post

Is the database useless without the folder or is there some way to retrieve my emails etc?

The folder is where it stores emails now. This means that things like Time Machine don't have to version a huge multi-gigabyte file every time you get a single email. If you had an Exchange or IMAP account, your emails and things should still be on the server. You can just remove the identity from the Outlook folder, launch Outlook to create a new one and input your server details and it should load all your emails from the server.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Third-Party Products
AppleInsider › Forums › General › Genius Bar › Third-Party Products › Lost all Outlook messages, address book, etc.