Outlook Contacts and permissionsLocked
OK, now it?s my turn for needing help. I?ll admit, this one has me stumped. I?m hoping someone has bumped into a similar situation and knows how to fix it. My intuition tells me what is causing it (see last paragraph), but I wanted to run it by all of you to confirm. Forgive the long post, but I feel it’s all relavent to explain the situation.
Setup: Fairly new HP PIV w/1GB RAM (don?t remember the processor speed), WinXP Media Center Edition with one main user login, password protected and configured as a computer administrator (besides THE administrator account), Office 2003 Pro SP2, Symantec Internet Security (up to date as of 10/14) and some kind of anti-spyware program that I can?t remember the name of right now.
Three days ago, the user called me and said their contacts had disappeared in Outlook 2003. I walked her through as much as I could over the phone, but couldn?t resolve the problem. According to her, nothing new had been installed or uninstalled recently. When she came home from work and checked her email, it had just quit working. The mail sends and receives, but contacts are gone. So, I scheduled a trip to go see her in person Friday night after work (she lives 50 miles away).
When I arrived last night and tried to look at Outlook contacts, up pops an error saying the folder can not be displayed because she didn?t have the correct permissions (don?t remember exact wording). I tried navigating several different ways, lower left ?Contacts?, menu Go/Contacts, menu Tools/Address Book and toolbar icon for Address Book. Each displayed the same error in a popup window where you have to click OK. After clicking the button to dismiss the error, the Outlook window showed a blank ?page?, if you will, with the same general wording? the user does not have permission to display the folder. I checked the location of the data files and they were all set to the original file location (outlook.pst in HER username/local settings/application data?. yadda, yadda, yadda). Using Windows explorer to look at it, the file is there and it?s not set to read only. The date on the file was a couple of minutes before I looked, so I know it?s being written to. Logging in as THE administrator in safe mode to look at it doesn?t show anything unusual about the file either. The owner of the file is her username. I rebooted and logged back in as her and went to control panel/mail to check her profile, data file locations and email account settings. All showed exactly what I expected them to show. I fired Outlook back up to look for any further signs of damage and discovered the calendar, tasks, journal, notes and everything else BESIDES the mail all generated the same error (to click ok) and then a blank ?page? saying she doesn?t have permission to view the folder.
The first thing I did was turn off Symantec and the anti-spyware programs, then did a ?detect and repair? of Office. That ran to completion with no errors, but didn?t fix the problem. I looked through add/remove programs to see if she was running any flaky software. I checked the processes running looking for anything out of line. I found nothing. So, thinking that her PST file was corrupt, I deleted the outlook profile through control panel and created a new one using a different PST file name. After creation, I imported all of her mail/contacts/etc? from the old PST file. Everything now works. The contacts are back. Her appointments were all listed in the calendar. The notes, tasks and everything else has returned to normal. The ONLY thing that did not import was the mail that she had sent/received in the last 3 days. I was able to file/open the old PST file and drag 3 days worth of mail from there into the new PST file and close the old one again. No errors were generated. But, I found it extremely disturbing that these 3 days worth of ?data? didn?t import into the new PST file along with the rest of it. Where was it hidden? The ?protected? contacts came over, but not the recent mail. If the mail is there when I file/open the old PST file and I had permission to drag it, then why didn?t the import work?
Now, after I got Outlook up and running again, I decided to check a few other things while I was there, since this user doesn?t know the meaning of ?system maintenance? and I HATE it when I can?t explain why something happens. The first thing I notice is that Symantec wants to run Live Update, so I let it. Of course, the update will not complete (nothing is ever easy). It downloads but won?t install the updates. By this time it?s getting pretty late and I didn?t have time to mess with Symantec and its idiosyncrasies, so I told her that I would come back Sunday evening and finish. I have to make the trip again anyway (and I can?t just leave it the way it is).
My intuition tells me that a few days ago (it was up to date as of 10/14), Symantec had attempted to update itself while Outlook was running and something blew up during the install. It set, or left behind, some kind of access permissions on the contacts, notes, journal, calendar, etc? ?folders? within Outlook and also on all new email sent/received after the blown install. When I return, I?ll force Symantec to update, one way or another. I know it can be extremely difficult to deal with at times, so I usually just get out the BIG club when dealing with it and force it into submission. 😉
Anyway, am I way off base here, or do you think I?m on the right track? What else has the capability of setting ?permissions? on internal Outlook ?folders?, besides Outlook itself?