Some users of Microsoft anti-virus and Outlook and Outlook Express have experienced email problems lately due to the fact that OneCare erroneously quarantined .PST (Outlook) and .DBX (Outlook Express) files when it detected infections within them.
The Windows Live OneCare team has released an updated version of the OneCare anti-malware engine since March 11, 2007. Following the automatic implementation of the update, the anti-malware engine's version should be 1.1.2306.0. Otherwise, OneCare has not been updated. However, according to Gina Narkunas, Microsoft Lead Product Manager, only a small number of OneCare customers have been affected by this issue, although Narkunas failed to provide additional details in this respect.
Also, the Windows Live OneCare team informed that the anti-virus simply quarantined the files and that it did not delete them. “It is important to clarify that although in certain cases OneCare might automatically delete a piece of malware, OneCare does not delete archive files such as .pst or .dbx files, nor does the design of the service allow users to set OneCare to automatically delete such files when quarantined. To delete whole archive files, such as those .pst and .dbx files that were erroneously being quarantined by OneCare prior to the fix issued this weekend, the design of the service is such that it would require someone manually deleting these files from the quarantine dialog in order for them to actually be deleted,” Narkunas explained.
If your Outlook .pst and Outlook Express .dbx files have been quarantined prior to the OneCare fix and engine update released on March 11, you can recover all of your lost emails. In order to do so, follow these steps:
1. Close Outlook or Outlook Express
2. Click Change OneCare Settings in the Main OneCare user interface
3. Click on the Viruses & Spyware Tab
4. And then click on the Quarantine button and then select the .pst or .dbx file and then click on Restore.
If your .pst or .dbx files have been manually erased, you also have the possibility of retrieving the emails via OneCare's backup and restore functionality. Still, you will only be able to restore the files that you last backed up.