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Why are message sent dates showing up as the date of message export when exporting to PST files?

  • Type: Knowledgebase
  • Date changed: 3 years ago

Solution #00006035


All Barracuda Message Archivers, all firmware versions.

The root cause of message sent dates being set to date of export to PST files typically emanates from invalid source data at the original time of import.  Often, third party tools, including backup restore tools or message conversion tools from email systems other than Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, create invalid headers in PST files they generate.


When importing these files with invalid headers, the Barracuda Message Archiver retains the original source data (.eml format) in its permanent storage.  However, on export to PST format, the Barracuda Message Archiver attempts to normalize all data at export so that the messages can be properly utilized upon subsequent export within viewers such as Microsoft Outlook.  While these normalization operations are logged internally (and temporarily) for debugging purposes in the Barracuda Message Archiver, only the most extreme cases are reported to the administrators. This is consistent with the behavior of Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange when creating items based on data with missing headers so as not to overwhelm administrators with high volumes of warning messages associated with high volume exports that would obfuscate the presence of more severe errors.


If the message sent headers are found to be invalid, the normallization process on export sets the message sent date to the date of export from the Barracuda Message Archiver into PST format.


An interesting use case is that if the the received headers are correct, the absence of valid sent headers might appear to be transparent to the users within the Barracuda Message Archiver.  For search indexing and display in the Search screen, the Barracuda Message Archiver utilizes the message received dates, which are in close proximity to the message sent dates.  The reason for this behavior is that often automated bulk email tools do not properly set message sent dates so this attribute cannot be relied on for indexing.


Barracuda Networks recommends that customers who import PST data generated from tools other than Microsoft Outlook and Exchange advise their auditors to rely on received header data for analysis, not sent header data.


Customers who want to provide original source data with the invalid headers for forensic purposes can use ZIP format instead of PST.

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