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Live OneCare Security Deletes E-Mail Folder

Live OneCare anti-virus application has been accidentally erasing e-mails from Outlook and Outlook Express of some users. Microsoft has admitted the fault.

When the anti-virus program detects a virus in any e-mail attachment, it causes the Microsoft's OneCare forum erasures. Instead of quarantining that particular e-mail the entire .pst or .dbx files are quarantined, or sometimes even deleted, many users have reported. These files are the personal folder of non-Exchange Server users where they keep their messages and other information.

The e-mail address of a Microsoft Live OneCare user sends the following message to Microsoft that has the subject head: "Outlook and Outlook Express Mail Store Missing or Quarantined". It says that the sender received a distress call from a distant user. He wondered how the caller had uninstalled her Outlook, while actually it was Outlook.pst. This folder was completely missing from her computer. After straining their brains they found that OneCare had isolated the folder not as a singular solution but as a routine operation when the owner was not in front of the PC.

Several other users reported similar tendency of their Outlook Express mailbox to Microsoft.

Stephen Boots, a forum administrator said he was very disappointed with the problem as a year ago it was fixed with the 1.0 release. After that the problem didn't surface throughout the beta. But now it has suddenly come up under the 1.5 version, Boots added in a statement that Zdnet.co.uk published on March 9, 2007.

Six weeks ago, following a malware scan, those users writing on OneCare support e-mail were first to report the Live OneCare flaw.

Kevin Kimp wrote to Computer World in e-mail on March 7, 2007 that after doing a scheduled update, the badware scanned his hard drive very normally. But later when he opened Microsoft Outlook he got the message that Outlook could not trace the Outlook.pst folder. Kevin believes the damage was much greater than that by any virus or spyware.

A Microsoft spokesperson said that the company would include the fix in the next scanning update, which is due to arrive on March 13, 2007.

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