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Posted <2017-09-11 Mon 18:01> by Aaron S. Jackson.

Between six months and a year ago, the university moved their email away from Exchange (which worked) to Office 365. I have been suspicious that emails had been disappearing for a few months now, but today I am certain of it.

This morning I tried to find an email. So I searched for it in mu4e, as I usually do. mu is a very good mail indexer, and supports all kinds of search patterns allowing me to find my emails quickly. Unfortunately, I could not find the email I was looking for. So I searched for a few more, to check if I was going insane. Hardly any of the emails I searched for could be found.

To explain a little, I download my email with a program called mbsync. All it does is downloads new emails, and uploads emails when they have been moved. I have been using this program on several email accounts without any issue for quite some time. Only on Office 365 am I having an issue.

I reluctantly logged into the Office 365 webmail and searched there. Still, they could not be found. From webmail I checked my deleted items and saw some emails appear for a few seconds, before disappearing. There is a button above the mail list allowing you to recover items which have been deleted from the deleted items folder, so I clicked it.

Suddenly I could about one hundred emails which I had moved to the Archive folder over the past week or so. So I recovered them and thought it was a bit odd. I proceeded to download my email again, with mbsync, this time using the pull option, which only downloads emails and updates them locally. *All of the emails on Office 365 which I'd just spent half an hour recovering deleted themselves again*.

I have made a few more attempts at recovering these emails, such as recovering them, and then moving them to new folder, just to see if they can be downloaded. It does not matter where I put them, they always get deleted when I run mbsync.

To confirm that the issue is not with mbsync, I just installed Thunderbird and the same fucking thing happened! How am I supposed use the university provided email if my emails are constantly being deleted?!

I have no idea how many emails I have lost by not recovering them within a month. What if I need to find something? I am very angry about this.

As what I hope will be a temporary solution: I have set up an account on my personal mail server, and emails will be forwarded there until they get this fixed.

Update <2017-09-11 Mon 20:46>: There is an application called DavMail which connects to an Exchange Web Service (EWS) endpoint (i.e. Office 365) and hosts a local IMAP/SMTP/LDAP server. When I pull my email with this, I do not appear to have any issues with messages disappearing randomly.

Update <2017-10-02 Mon 12:38>: My ticket with university IT support has been closed because Office 365 provide no way for a customer to provide a support ticket (at least according to the IT guy that closed my ticket). What am I to do now? Just run a local installation of DavMail running I guess. Pretty disappointed with how this went, but didn't expect much considering this is Microsoft.

The use of UNIX and free email, in particular, needs to be preserved, especially in academia. I hate that all universities are switching to this cloud based solution.

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