Update -- Clean Install, brand new PC, Windows 7, Outlook 2010

Strangeness. I am getting basically the inverse, now: all folders, and the messages within them, have downloaded. However, the messages in the Inbox did not!

A new, test message I sent downloaded correctly and appears in my Inbox, but none of the existing messages in the Inbox did. (Some are read, some are unread.)

I have logged on using OWA on this new PC as well, and the same thing was going on, i.e. folders are there and populated, but Inbox itself is empty.

The only thing I noticed different about the settings is that on my old PC, in the mail account settings, the "user name" resolved to "[Firstname] [Lastname]" of my domain account - e.g. "John Smith" - while on my new PC it resolves to my email address, e.g. "[email protected]". Does this raise any flags for why the Inbox issue might be occurring.

I hope I can get these messages simply by logging on via OWA on my old PC, creating a new folder, moving the Inbox messages into it, then DL'ing via Outlook on my new PC and sorting however I want.

But it would be nice to hear some explanation, and a real solution for this issue, rather than just a workaround.

Thanks, all, for reading, and for any responses!

--(End of update; original post follows...)

I am using the feature known (in OL2003) as "Exchange over the Internet".

Originally our Exchange Server (on SBS 2003) was set up several years ago by an expert admin. He sent me an (apparently auto-generated) email on how to configure Outlook to connect to exchange via RPC over HTTP and I had everything working fine. But after installing Windows XP SP2 my (offsite) Outlook client spontaneously stopped being able to connect. I tried to fix it - with no success; inquired on official MS forums - with zero response :(; and ultimately gave up. (Had work to do!)

After several painful years of using RWW and OWA to check my email, and after some recent exposure to configuring Outlook Anywhere/Exchange Anywhere I decided "this can't be that hard to get working", and gave it another look. (Somehow*, in the 2-3 years I was not using Outlook, my Email Account settings evidently got wiped, so the "clean slate" part was easy!)

(*There is actually a possible explanation for this "somehow": at one point I was running out of room on my HD so, since I wasn't using OL, I temporarily moved my several GBs of PST files to another drive. But in preparation for this most recent fix attempt I moved them back into place (now having the excess free space, as well), still all my previous Email Account settings were gone. And, to be honest, I'm sure at 1 or 2 times during that several-year span, I accidentally opened Outlook and immediately closed it again. (Did it make a new PST-or-whatever at that moment and delete the old settings?) But if this isn't what caused them to disappear, then I have no idea what did.)

I am able, now, to successfully send/receive emails, but my folders have not appeared under the Inbox. (I believe most of them were created in OWA/RWW email UIs, but possibly some were also created using an Outlook client at the onsite location. BTW I have re-checked in OWA and they are still there.) Initial research indicates that such folders are stored as part of my Exchange mailbox but I'm stumped as to why they don't automatically propagate to my Outlook Inbox. It sounds like it should "just work", and even keyword-targeted Googling seems to come up with only references to downloading "public folders".

I am presently using "Cached exchange mode" but I think I have tried it both ways and it did not work. Also, FYI I am using a new, recently-created PST file for this Inbox. Is it possible I have another PST hiding somewhere in my vast archives that I need to re-link to Outlook? (Like, maybe I downloaded these folders years ago, so Exchange/Outlook aren't re-sending/requesting them, yet because I have disconnected the PST containing them, I don't have them any more either? Still, I have definitely created new folders in the "dark ages" of OWA use, which would not yet have been downloaded by Outlook. Sry: I'll keep the speculative answering of my own question to a minimum. ;))

I would really like to get this working properly, as I get a bunch of archival-type "junk" (but not really junk) in my Inbox and I need to get it organized but I am afraid/averse to "remake" the folders locally for various reasons.

Thanks in advance for any assistance!

PS sry if this is question is not 100% appropriate for this site since it's not 100% server-related but for this site but I scanned a lot of stackexchange and it seemed this was the most appropriate. TY.

  • If you create a new folder under your mailbox, does it show up in outlook and OWA ok?
    – Sam Cogan
    Aug 31, 2010 at 22:36
  • I'm pretty certain this is a workstation support issue, and something your employer's IT staff will need to help you with, as I'm pretty sure you won't be able to get at the Exchange info necessary to troubleshoot it. But the votes can decide... maybe someone's seen this before? Sep 1, 2010 at 2:13
  • TY for responses all. Sry for late follow-up but have been up to my neck in "actual" work, not "admin-by-default" work ;) @Sam Cogan how do u mean, "create", such as with Exchange System Manager? If so, the folders originally were not created this way, they were created using a client: either OWA or Outlook.
    – admin-by-default
    Sep 24, 2010 at 17:40
  • Overall, have not had time to delve into these responses in depth. Thought this would be a "one-click" fix or thereabouts. Soon to have a new install of Office so "virgin Outlook" is a near possibility. @Kara FAIAP I am the support staff. I am authed to admin Exchange; it's SBS. TY again, all! Will post back w/ any exciting developments.
    – admin-by-default
    Sep 24, 2010 at 17:46

2 Answers 2


There appears to be either some confusion or missing understanding of PST versus OST.

A PST will typically just download emails from the server to it under POP and MAPI (Exchange Server Connection). It can selectively synchronize folders as Grizly pointed out via IMAP.

An OST will synchronize folders with detailed programmability (if one wishes "tweak" the individual folder settings).

  • Quite likely, as, at the very least, I didn't know a PST vs. OST was even what controls what is downloaded. In any case I am fairly sure I have always used PSTs.
    – admin-by-default
    Sep 24, 2010 at 17:48
  • If that is the case, then you probably have at least one other .pst on the system or another system that you may have used to connect to and store emails. You can have an Outlook profile connect to multiple .pst files simultaneously where they can be connected in parallel or copied between the .pst files to consolidate onto a single .pst file/store.
    – user48838
    Sep 24, 2010 at 22:12
  • 1
    well, further update: i don't know how it happened, but yes, the client was "moving" things from the Exchange mailbox to a PST when I Sent/Received. Apparently all is sorted now.
    – admin-by-default
    Oct 28, 2010 at 16:04

If you have configured it for IMAP, you will have to specify which folders get synchronised, so its possible you have folders that are not visible.. HTTPS is the best for Outlook.

If you are comfortable (have the bandwidth) to download your entire mailbox again, simply delete your profile (control panel -> mail -> profiles) and start outlook again, it will revert to virgin outlook, and you will have to configure it, however, when you get to the "Exchange Server Settings" part, type in the ACTUAL internal dns name of the server, select the cached mode again, enter your username and then press More Settings.

  1. Security tab -> "Encrypt data between Microsoft Office Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Server"
  2. Connection tab -> "Connect using Internet Explorer's or a 3rd party dialer" & "Connect to my Exchange mailbox using HTTP", then press the "Exchange Proxy Settings..." button
  3. Enter the External URL for Outlook Web Access (minus any subfolders, so: mydomain.com.au) then press ok.
  4. You will probably have to enter your username/password to connect
  5. The Exchange Server page should now resolve your username/servername (they should both go underlined), and you can press next and watch it download!

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