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Lost Email (over 2 years worth from Inbox)

Regular Visitor

Lost Email (over 2 years worth from Inbox)

Over 2 years of email in my Inbox has disappeared.  Emails prior (2010-2013) and emails for the last day or two seem fine.  The Sent folder seems OK as well. 

 

Also, I see that the Inbox on both my iPhone and iPad (Xfinity Connect App) seem OK, too. 

 

Can these emails be recovered?  What happened to them?

 

Thanks.

Email Expert

Re: Lost Email (over 2 years worth from Inbox)

Are you saying you can't see those messages when you sign into the account using only a browser on your computer?  Or are you using an email client like Outlook or something?




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Regular Visitor

Re: Lost Email (over 2 years worth from Inbox)

Yes.  They seem to be gone from the Comcast email server i.e. they are gone when I log on with a browser.  While trying to switch from Windows LiveMail to Thunderbird (IMAP), I uninstalled LiveMail (POP3) and Comcast seemd to delete the LiveMail Inbox contents from its server.  I have since been trying to recover the Inbox by re-installing LiveMail and importing the recovered Inbox into Thunderbird.  That seems to have worked although some heared info looks to have been lost. 

 

Now, the missing emails are re-appearing on the Comcast email server.  Any idea why that might be happening?  Would the server somehow sync/copy emails it doesn't have from the LiveMail re-install?

 

Thanks.

Email Expert

Re: Lost Email (over 2 years worth from Inbox)

OK I'm having a hard time trying to unravel whatever it is you did.  But understand that in POP3, the default behavior is to download the emails to the client program, like Windows Live Mail, and then it deletes them from the server.  When you set up the account in another client using IMAP, it will "see" whatever is on the server, and will duplicate all the folders you had there.  If you had the phone and the iPad set up using POP3, that would explain why you can see the emails in question on them and not on the PC.




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Regular Visitor

Re: Lost Email (over 2 years worth from Inbox)

Yes.  I am learning the dangers of POP3.  In the past, I never observed my POP3 devices and LiveMail deleting my emails from the server after downloading them.  Instead, I have always had to delete the same emails on each device (i.e. no "global delete"). 

 

What happened here is: when I uninstalled my POP3 LiveMail from my desktop, the Comcast server deleted all the LiveMail emails from its (the server's) folders.  The server "assumed" that because one client (LiveMail) no longer required the emails (due to the uninstall), none of the other devices/clients (or the server) required them.  Hence, it deleted them.  Needless to say, this is dangerous behavior on the part of the server if you're relying on the server as your primary email repository.  Lesson learned.

 

Fortunately, the LiveMail mail file remained intact on my desktop even after the uninstall.  I reinstalled LiveMail, the install located the mail file and the emails were resurrected. 

 

But there's a twist: after re-installing LiveMail with the old mail file, the server has endeavored to recover the lost emails by uploading them back into its (the server's) folders.  Unfortunately, it failed to upload the date header info of several hundred of the emails making all these emails appear to be "today's email" with just the time stamp on the server.  Do you know of any way to manually "re-sync"  the folders on the server with those on LiveMail client?

 

If not, I'll take my lumps.  The clients and devices seem to be working fine; only browsing the server is problematic.  And I can work around that with the client packages.

 

Thanks for your help.

Email Expert

Re: Lost Email (over 2 years worth from Inbox)

What you need to keep in mind is the history of POP3.  It is the oldest of the two protocols by far, and dates to a time when the vast majority of people who were even on the internet had only one computer, and bandwidth was a lot more limited, as was server storage and the way dial-up and DSL worked back then.  People were charged every month by how many minutes they spent online, and POP3 downloaded then deleted the messages because storage was a very small fraction of what most providers give you today.  If you are going to use your email account on more than one device/computer, you really need to make sure it's enabled on all of them using IMAP.  Comcast is now IMAP compliant by default, and most email programs will detect it as such when you go to configure it.

 

I don't know about re-syncing your folders.  But in IMAP all devices should be synced.




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