Sunday, May 30, 2010

Disabling Message Recall in Outlook

Converted from a Google Wave to normal HTML since Wave is shutting down...

Blog Post - 27 May 2010
So this is a test of embedding a Wave in my blog. I have wanted to try to embed a Wave inside my blog for quite some time - lets see how it goes!

Recently someone at work sent a stinker on a group with a large number of people. When he realized his mistake, he recalled it - it didn't go away from some of my friends' inboxes, but it did go away from mine. Usually, a message is recalled for one of two reasons
  • Unintentional Transmission - Someone sent off a message to you when they didn't want to
  • Post-Stinker Regret - Someone sent of a stinker, then had a moment of panic when his anger subsided

In either case, a recall attempt is usually a source of hilarity - even if its momentary.

Only thing is, if the admin has enabled recalls on the exchange server, it is not possible for you to disable recalls from inside of Outlook. This has happened to me several times and I really don't like people deleting mails that have reached my inbox without my permission - thanks for this Super Creepy "feature" M$! After a bit of research, I found this page which defines the rules of recall.

What this page basically says is that if you disable "Process Requests and Responses on Arrival", Outlook will no longer automatically delete messages on recall. If you just preview mails (in the preview pane), rather than double-clicking to open them, no deletes will happen. Recall requests will show up as a message. If you open the newer message first, the older one - the one with all the content will be deleted. However, it also says that if the recall and the original message end up in different folders, a could not recall message will be sent to the original sender. So now we just need some difference between the recall and a normal message to allow us to distinguish between them. One obvious difference is that the message begin with the String "Recall". However, a perfectly valid message may begin with that. On looking at the headers of the message however, another difference emerges: Recall messages have the phrase "iso-8859-1" in the Subject header.

This gives us the basis of disabling message recall on Outlook. Follow the steps below and message recalls will no longer work:
1. Inside Outlook, Go to Tools>Options. Click on the Email Options button. Click on the Tracking Options button
2. Uncheck the Process Request and Respones on arrival checkbox, click on the Ok buttons till all the dialogs close
3. Go to Tool>Rules and Alerts
4. Create a new Rule. Select "Move messages with specific words in the Subject to a folder".
5. Tick the With Specific Words in the message header checkbox. In the Subject field, add "Recall:". In the header field, add "iso-8859-1"
6. Click Next, Tick the "Stop Processing more rules" checkbox. Set the "specified folder" to Deleted Items
7. Click Next, Next, Finish

At the end of it, the rule should look like this:
Rule Screenshot

That's it, recall will no longer work in your Oulook, even if the administrator allows it and the original sender tries it. The Recall message will end up in the deleted items folder and even if you double click it, will only send a failure message to the original sender.

Wave evaluation: Still not ready for big time! No numbered lists (WTF), no "publish" option, doesn't work in IE6, I am not sure if Google indexes it - overall, useless! Also, the embed JS doesn't work Out Of the Box with Blogger - Blogger keeps inserting <br/>
tags for returns, so I had to convert it to a single line JS!

Original Post Below

I was trying out embedding a Wave in my blog. It really sucks! If you are lucky, you should see the Wave below. If not, Google Wave Sucks! Try this link instead.