Magical disappearing messages with Outlook 2002

If you're really bored, here's one way to amuse yourself in Outlook 2002 or earlier:

1. Start Outlook and turn off the preview pane (View | Preview Pane)
. Select a folder with a lot of unread messages in it
3. Go to Tools | Options | Other | Preview Pane
. Check "Mark messages as read in preview window", change the interval to 2 seconds, and OK out of all dialogs
5. View | Current View | Customize Current View
6. Click on the Filter button
7. On the "More Choices" tab, check "Only items that are unread"
8. OK out of all dialogs
9. Turn on the preview pane (View | Preview Pane)
10. Watch the items in the folder disappear every two seconds

(wiping tear from eye) gee whiz, that gets me every time. Whoo-boy that's some funny stuff.

P.S. This was fixed in Outlook 2003 (in order to make the 'unread items' search folder actually useful if you have the 'mark messages as read in reading pane' option enabled).

Comments (8)

  1. Anonymous says: – Uofficiel Microsoft Exchange Server Ressource

  2. Peter Torr says:

    Yeah, that was always a really bad "feature". I once panicked and thought Outlook was deleting all my messages… I swear I made a liar out of Einstein in my attempt to get to the power button as fast as possible.

  3. Myra Lemson says:

    KC, I did it! I made the spam magically disappear! But WHERE did they go?

  4. Charles Oppermann says:

    Why are reading pane options "when selection changes" and "when viewed" mutually exclusive?

    Also, when "Mark item as read when selection changes" is on, moving or deleting the item does NOT mark it as read. Thus, I get a message, view it in the pane and wish to save it in a folder. When I move it (Ctrl+Shift+V), it retains it’s unread state in the new folder, which bothers me.

    Thanks for a wonderful blog.

  5. KC Lemson says:

    Question – can you explain why you’d want them to not be mutually exclusive? Why would you want "move when selection changes" and "Move when viewed in preview pane after X seconds" both enabled? I kind of see the selection change one as a superset – if the case where the item maintains its unread state during move/copy was addressed so that it was marked read, would that address your concern?


  6. Charles Oppermann says:

    I guess there are times when the selection doesn’t change and I’d like it to timeout. For example:

    It’s the latest message. When delievered, I get the ding, the desktop alert and the mail icon appears in the tray. I switch over to Outlook and read the message. More often than not, I *don’t* do anything with it right away. I don’t move it, or delete it or reply. But I have read it.

    Since I didn’t change the selection, it’ll sit there as unread. If I shut down Outlook, it’ll still be marked as unread. The new mail icon will remain in the tray.

    Interesting note about selection changes and moving mail. If I click and drag a unread message to a new folder, it’ll be marked read. If I choose a folder from the "Move to Folder" list off the toolbar – it’ll be marked read. That’s correct behavior.

    However, if I do the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+V, or choose "Move to folder…" from the toolbar or Edit menu, then I get the Move to folder dialog box. If the item is moved via this dialog box, then it is NOT marked as read and remains unread in the new folder. I’d consider that a bug.

  7. ZM says:

    So.. wondering if this is the same issue. All of a sudden (without warning, so he says) Outlook is removing messages from the inbox. I can reply to a message and when I do, it is deleted (not in deleted items file)

  8. KC Lemson says:

    ZM: Yes, it sounds like there’s a filter to hide messages marked as read from the view. Go through the steps above to see if such a filter exists on the active view.

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