Not that YOU'D ever do anything like that...

Pilot fish is called to the cubicle of a panicky user who is suddenly missing several years' worth of archived emails.

"She says she needs to reference said emails for a current work item," fish says. "I do my usual poking around, and there are no Outlook PST files where they are normally located.

"I ask the user what happened. She says they just aren't there -- and she is not very forthcoming when I press for more detail."

Fish is a little puzzled, but he knows he can't find the missing emails on the spot. He tells the user he'll come back later, because he was in the middle of another task when he dropped everything to help the user out.

Later that day, fish returns to the same cube area handling an unrelated item, and the user spots him -- and is not at all pleased to learn he's not there for her. Why haven't you found my emails yet? she demands.

Fish tries to explain that the emails just aren't there, but she cuts him off and stomps away before he can tell her he'll be happy to restore her email from the most recent backup.

The following day, fish decides to try again to find the root cause. After examining backups, he calls the user and tells her he noticed that, on one recent day, many files were removed from her network storage -- including the missing Outlook PST files.

"I tell her it looks almost as if someone was cleaning house," says fish. "Someone -- I'm careful not to say it was her -- someone who was on her machine removed all those files on that day.

"After several more minutes of prodding and pulling, she finally admits to trying to free up space on her network storage.

"Even though she never actually admits to deleting the files, the unspoken blame is correctly placed. I then proceed to restore her several-days-old 'missing' emails and she goes on her merry way."

Sharky's missing an emai from youl -- the one with your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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