Emails are being modified (e.g. their sent date) if you make changes to emails server side, when Outlook via MAPI is trying to sync these changes
Problem reported by Ionel Aurelian Rau - 12/2/2020 at 1:37 AM

We have experienced a very strange issue and we cannot really put our finger on it - maybe someone else has seen this too, so please let me know in case we can find a way to reliably reproduce it.

The problem started with a user claiming that the sent date on their emails has changed to today. This seemed utterly impossible and we had no way to reproduce it. We were 2 SM builds back at the time. However, a week ago another user complained about the same thing.

And today I also think I experienced it and it may be due to this: I have a large mailbox (30+ GB) which is synced with MS Outlook Pro Plus 2019 via MAPI. In this mailbox I had a large folder (13.000+ emails) which I cleaned up and moved to subfolders like this:
I made all of the modifications in WebMail (created new mails, moved emails). After a while, the new folders appeared in Outlook and emails in the subfolders started appearing as well. However, the LargeFolder still showed 13.000+ emails after leaving Outlook to sync for a few days - it did not start to mirror what I have in WebMai. During this, syncing other folders is unreliable as well (usually it works without issues).
Today I go to the WebMail to the LargeFolder which now it still has some 3000 emails left, but I can see that emails disappear and appear back, but with a different sent date - that of today. And I can see that going back many of the emails have been modified like this. I`m sure the date is wrong because all of the emails in this folder are from an automated notification system that timestamps each email, so the timestamp in the body of the email does not match the receive date that appears in WebMail.
As you can see above, the date that appears in Webmail is today at 10:08 AM, when in fact the mail has been sent by the system (and received imediatelly, it`s a local system) on 26.11.2020 @ 14:55 PM

If we look at the Header of this same email, the time is correct:
Then why does Webmail (and Outlook - they both show the same) show the incorrect time?
Note that all that reported this had Outlook synced via MAPI.
I was able to stop the behavior (I released that Outlook was going slowly email by email and changing them..) by right-clicking the folder in Outlook, clicking Properties then Clear Offline Items.

We have a user that needs to prove they sent emails at a specific date (some regulatory obligations) and now they are complaining they can no longer to so due to the date and time that now appears on the emails. 

Let me know if anyone else has experienced this.
@SM: is this something that is known?

EDIT: updated the post to correct the fact that we were using Outlook synced over MAPI.

3 Replies

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Stefano Replied
Hi Ionel, I've had some messages on my account that have changed the date / time, but luckily just one message and just few times.
I've reported it (ticket [2CA-2709D52B-0B12]) but from when I've recreated the profile on Outlook, I've not seen that bug anymore.
Matt Petty Replied
Employee Post
@Ionel, I'll try some tests. So to clarify these issues started occurring after you did the move in Webmail and you are using MAPI or IMAP? I noticed you used both in your post, likely MAPI? IMAP wouldn't really be able to modify emails like MAPI can. I can attempt these myself and see if I can replicate.

Also, I'd test this with one of your folders first and this will break any syncs you have with devices... While SmarterMail is offline, Delete the CFG file in your mailbox folder with the bad emails, Start and log back in. We do a rebuild that's based off of the data in the email to re-create some of our data. You can use this rebuild to potentially recover the dates on these emails. However, you will lose read and flagged status of these emails. But if you really need those dates on those emails for that customer, this could be an option.
Matt Petty
Software Developer
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
Thank Matt for pointing the IMAP/MAPI thing above - they are just too similar in name and I just mixed them up while writing the post. I updated the original post to reflect the actual situation.
All that had this issue happening were using MAPI with Outlook.

MS Outlook was fully synced and this appears to have occurred after moving large amounts of emails from that folder to other subfolders, a move that never reflected in Outlook for that particular folder (the subfolders did sync OK). And the changing of date/time on emails stopped immediately after we cleared Offline Items for that particular folder in Outlook.

Thanks for the possible solution, I`ll ask and see what is more important for him. However, I would not want to also mess something up even worse for him.. then that would be an even bigger issue.

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