OneCare users hopping mad at Microsoft over deleted e-mail

'The answer is ... sue Microsoft ... and buy a Mac,' says one user

Users, still angry about Windows Live OneCare's habit of making e-mail disappear, are slamming Microsoft Corp.'s support and claiming that its suggested fix doesn't recover their messages.

"I have been dealing with tier two support since February 24. Three different people ... and three different promises," wrote a user identified as AN525-24 in a post yesterday to the OneCare support message thread dedicated to the problem.

Last week, Microsoft acknowledged that a bug in its OneCare consumer security suite was quarantining Outlook and Outlook Express data files when it sniffed malware in an incoming file attachment. The company said users should be able to recover the .pst (Outlook) or .dbx (Outlook Express) files by opening OneCare's quarantine folder.

Some users said that didn't work for them. "Another tech had me look at the wloc [Windows Live OneCare] quarantine folder," said AN525-24 last week. "I told him that there was nothing there and he told me that I deleted it because wloc would not do that. He then went on to say that it would be impossible to try and retrieve the file because I deleted it. Do I need to drive to western Washington to get some help on this matter? This is crazy."

"The last support rep is insisting that I deleted the file out of wloc quarantine," user Kevin Kimp wrote in an e-mail to Computerworld. "I did nothing of the sort. The only steps that I have taken with wloc are steps that their support told me to do."

At least two users commenting on the thread said that Microsoft told them that their support cases had been closed because the representative was convinced that the users had deleted the .pst data files from OneCare's quarantine. Two days after Microsoft confirmed the bug, the technical support rep claimed that it wasn't OneCare's fault.

"I have just had a reply back from Devashish (Microsoft Product Support Services), who seems to suggest that this is not a bug but a feature," wrote a user tagged as Bestm80eva. "[Devashish said,] 'I would like to inform you that, it [is] not an issue with Windows Live OneCare. The reason behind blocking your '.pst file' by Windows Live OneCare is that it has found an infection or virus in your 'Outlook Express' E-mails (Inbox), and because of this Live OneCare has quarantined the '.pst file.' I hope this satisfies all your queries. I will close this case for now.' "

Microsoft will issue a fix for the OneCare bug tomorrow, but it's unclear whether the patch will also be able to recover long-vanished .pst or .dbx data files. When asked to comment on some users' inability to recover past messages and on their call for better support, a Microsoft representative declined. "The only information we can provide is the statement we shared on [last] Wednesday," the representative said in an e-mail.

Another possible glitch in Microsoft's plans to patch OneCare popped up today. "I opened Outlook 2007 today only to have it tell me there was no outlook.pst file," wrote Seabrook. "My OneCare was set to delete and not quarantine files. There are no files listed under the quarantine area of OneCare. What are my options?" Last week, Microsoft identified only older editions of Outlook -- 97 and 2000 -- and the version of Outlook Express bundled with Windows XP as susceptible to the OneCare flaw.

One user on the support thread, however, had his own suggestion of how to fix the whole mess. "The answer to everyone's problem is to form a class-action group and sue Microsoft immediately for the damages that they have caused (as your e-mails have been permanently deleted I assure you), use the money you are almost guaranteed to win from this newest Microsoft fiasco, and buy a Mac," wrote Gozargozarian.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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