In case you don’t already know this, I run a small IT consulting company. By small, I mean, just me and my wife. Last week a client of mine needed to renew their AVG licenses so I thought this would be a good time to switch them over to AVG Cloud Care. If you haven’t seen AVG CloudCare I suggest you check it out. I have been a long time supporter of AVG. I feel like they have the best balance of protection, while not bogging down your computer. Not like some other companies, ahem Nort cough cough, or McA cough.
Anyway, last Friday I went on site to uninstall the old AVG 2012 and install CloudCare on their 6 PCs. The process went just fine, I thought. Monday morning I got a call from one of the employees saying that their email wouldn’t load. So I logged into CloudCare and connect to their computer, that is one of my favorite features! Once I logged in I saw this lovely message.
Hmmmm. So I went looking for the PST file, and sure enough, no sign of it! Well what the heck!? All I did was uninstall AVG and install AVG. The same process I did on two other PCs running the exact same version of Outlook and AVG.
Well now time for recovering the file. I assumed it would not be hard. After all I have recovered files from dead hard drives before, and this drive is fine, right? Nope! I ran every recovery tool I own, and some are not cheap, and there is no sign that the PST file ever existed. I was able to find 3 old PST files from 2 years ago even, but no sign of the current one!
After HOURS (about 20 at this point) spent on this project I ran across a program that claims it can recover the data, and so far the DEMO version says it did. I have now purchased the full version and the scan is at 5%. I am crossing my fingers that it actually works. If it does I will update this post with the name of the software, and I will sing their praises!
So how did this all happen? I have no idea, I have un-installed and installed AVG on countless machines and have never had any problems. I did find that the computer did have a little virus infection, no, AVG doesn’t stop them all, but it was nothing major. The only thing I can think of is that it infected the PST file and AVG moved the PST to the vault. Which would have been emptied during the un-install. What I don’t understand is, how was the email working just an hour before, if the PST file was in the Vault? If you have any ideas as to what caused this, feel free to let me know.
What is the moral of the story? I don’t know if AVG caused the problem or not, but from now on, the PST file will be backed up before I re-install AVG on any computer.
UPDATE The program I used did in fact recovery the lost data. It wasn’t able to recover the original structure of the data so calendar events, contacts, and tasks were all restored as mail documents. Considering the amount of email that was recovered (about 18K messages) loosing the folder structure wasn’t as big of a deal as loosing the data all together. The program I used is called Advanced Outlook Data Recovery by Datanumen.
UPDATE 2 I am starting to loose some love for AVG CloudCare. For the most part it is fine, but I have run into an issue were it will act like it is not installed on a client’s machines. I end up having to un-install it, then run the AVG removal tools to clean it up. Then I can re-install it. So far I only have one client (6 licenses) using it, and based on the Outlook issue, and the apparent buggy-ness, they may end up being the only ones.