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SNARF from MSR-CTG

SNARF FAQ & Troubleshooting

Install

  1. What do I need to run SNARF?
  2. Nothing happens when I click the "Download" button on the SNARF homepage.
  3. Help! Indexing takes a long time
  4. Help! I run SNARF and see no data.
  5. SNARF gives me an "Unable to find an Outlook source with information" error when I try to run it.
  6. SNARF isn't getting my new mail
  7. Does SNARF support multiple email profiles?

    Using SNARF

  8. Why can't I have multiple instances of SNARF running at the same time?
  9. How do I get to the message list dialog when I only have one message from someone (or some list)?
  10. Why don't I see messages that I send to a list in the SNARF main window?
  11. What are the bars under the names in the SNARF main window?
  12. What does the "Repair Outlook Connection" menu item do?

    Customizing SNARF

  13. Can I make SNARF ignore some of my email folders?
  14. How can I tell if I've designated a correspondent name as a list?

    Troubleshooting

  15. SNARF won't show anything "To Me"
  16. SNARF used to work, I upgraded and now SNARF doesn't work.
  17. SNARF is causing Outlook to be slow and other performance problems.
  18. SNARF quits with an unhandled exception about a COM object with CLISD {000000514 .....}
  19. When I add a new view it doesn't show up in the settings panel for other panes.
  20. I am running NewsGator, and SNARF is behaving oddly.
  21. I see negative numbers in my view title bar.

    Misc.

  22. How is SNARF different than Outlook search folders?
  23. Why doesn't SNARF show up in my system tray?
  24. What happened to the Welcome to SNARF dialog?
  25. Why doesn't SNARF support Outlook Express, Entourage, Thunderbird, Pegasus, ....?

1. What do I need to run SNARF?

SNARF requires .Net 1.1 or 2.0, and should work with any MAPI source on your local computer. It should automatically detect available MAPI sources, and index off of them. We have successfully tested SNARF with the following Outlook configurations:

  1. XP-SP2 - Outlook 2003 - Exchange 2000 Server
  2. XP-SP2 - Outlook 2003 - POP/SMTP
  3. XP-SP2 - Outlook 2003 - Hotmail / MSN
  4. XP-SP2 - Outlook 2003 - Outlook Connector-Notes - Lotus Notes 6.5
  5. Win2000 (SP4) - Outlook 2003 - POP/SMTP - GMail
  6. XP-SP2 - Outlook 2002 (XP) - IMAP - Groupwise 6.5

SNARF uses "Jet" as its native database: this is a built-in part of Windows versions from 2000. SNARF may work on older versions of Windows if you install Access (which includes the Jet engine).

2. Nothing happens when I click the "Download" button on the SNARF homepage

The best thing to check is your browser security settings to see if "File download" is enabled (Tools->Internet Options->Security Tab). You can also try this direct link to the download: http://research.microsoft.com/research/downloads/download.aspx?FUID={6cfb594f-8987-4a8f-939b-c7da6ab967ad} If you are still unsuccessful and are trying from within a company firewall you may wish to speak with your companies IT department.

3. Help! Indexing takes a long time!

The first time indexing should take a long time. SNARF needs to look at every message you have, in every archive, and add it to the database. This can take a couple of hours, if you have a very large archive.

After that, SNARF only needs to check for differences between your previous and current versions; it takes just a few minutes.

If indexing stops entirely for more than a minute or two, though, then the process might have gotten stuck. First, move your cursor into the SNARF window, then off once or twice. This has helped in many situations.

If that doesn't work, kill SNARF, and restart.

4. Help! I run SNARF and see no data.

With the default settings of SNARF the top two panes may be blank if you have no unread email. The bottom pane however should show your email ordered by the people you send email to the most often and thus should be showing names and numbers. If this pane is blank, the next step is to check what SNARF is using as your user name. Open the registry (Windows Start Menu-> Run, then type regedit). In regedit under My Computer->HKEY_CURRENT_USER->Software->Microsoft Research->SNARF look at the user field. This should be your Outlook display name, exactly as it appears in messages.

5. SNARF gives me an "Unable to find an Outlook source with information" error when I try to run it.

Usually, this error implies that SNARF can't read the username. To fix this:

  1. Close SNARF
  2. Open the registry (Windows Start Menu-> Run, then type regedit)
  3. Look at My Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft Research\SNARF\user this field should be your Outlook display name exactly as it appears in messages.
  4. Either correct the user field if it is incorrect or manually add a "user" string field with your Outlook display name
  5. Restart SNARF
  6. If this doesn't help, you may be using an unsupported Outlook version, double check "What do I need to run SNARF"

6. SNARF isn't getting my new mail

If you know that your mailbox is changing, but your SNARF display isn't:

  1. Check the status bar below the SNARF window. Does it show a recent time? If so, then new mail is being received, but the views aren't configured to show it. Make sure to use a view that will show the recent mail (such as "This Weeks' Mail") to find the message.
  2. If the status bar isn't showing a recent time, create a new mail event: mark a message in your inbox as Unread. If SNARF still doesn't change, then the Outlook connection has been severed. Click "Menu | Repair Outlook connection".

7. Does SNARF support multiple email profiles?

No. At this time, SNARF pays attention only to your default Outlook profile. From the feedback we've received, it definitely seems like more people than we expected are using multiple profiles and we will take this into consideration as we plan for future updates of SNARF. We definitely apologize for the hassle in the meantime.

Note, that some people have commented that while SNARF is running they cannot change the Outlook profile they are using. We believe this is because when you first open an Outlook message, SNARF builds an OLE connection to Outlook. We hold onto that object to speed up future message openings. But holding that object may keep you from changing your profile. Unfortunately this means you need to close SNARF and then close Outlook and then reopen to change your profile.

8. Why can't I have multiple instances of SNARF running at the same time?

Bad things happen to the SNARF database when multiple instances are both logging new messages as they arrive (remember: this is just a working prototype). SNARF will try to prevent multiple instances running on the same machine – and you should try to help it by not intentionally starting a second instance of SNARF, if one is already running.

9. How do I get to the message list dialog when I only have one message from someone (or some list)?

When you only have one message for a person (or list), double clicking on the name opens the message using Outlook rather than bringing up the message list dialog. If you want to see the message list dialog for a person with only one message, right-click on their name and choose “Open in Message List” from the menu.

10. Why don't I see messages that I send to a list in the SNARF main window?

By design, SNARF treats messages that you send as "read" regardless of read/unread status in Outlook. If you are using a view that only shows unread messages to lists your message will not count for that list. Somewhat related, SNARF also does not show you in the list of correspondents so your name will never appear in the list of people in a pane in the SNARF main window.

11. What are the bars under the names in the SNARF main window?

The blue bars under correspondent (or list) names in the SNARF main window visually show the number of messages for that correspondent. The bars are on a log scale, and proportional to the largest value in each pane.

12. What does the "Repair Outlook Connection" menu item do?

Occasionally we have seen some problems where SNARF becomes disconnected from Outlook (really MAPI). This means new email arrives and SNARF does not show it. The "Repair Outlook Connection" option "reboots" the connection with Outlook and ensures that SNARF is up to date. Note, this may take several minutes so SNARF will ask you to confirm that you really want to do this.

13. Can I make SNARF ignore some of my email folders?

Rather than excluding folders to ever be seen by SNARF, it is recommended that you limit SNARF views to just the folders you are interested in (See the Settings panel). This will allow SNARF to still know about the other messages for determining your relationship with people involved in those messages. And this does not require any changes to the registry.

If you would like SNARF to completely ignore some of your email folders you can change the registry to tell SNARF to treat other folders like the "Deleted Items" folder. Create a registry value named DeletionPaths in the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft Research\SNARF, with the new value. You can specify multiple folders, using semicolons to separate them (with no additional spaces). For example: "Deleted Items;Mail2005;SMS2005;Archive Folders". All listed folders will include sub-folders. This will not work for entire PSTs, or Outlook Stores, but you can have a folder in the root of the PST or Store with a listed name (or “Deleted Items”), and have all folders you want ignored under that. The default value is: "Deleted Items;Junk E-mail;Dogfood Filtered SPAM;Drafts;Outbox".

14. How can I tell if I've designated a correspondent name as a list?

You can tell SNARF that a particular correspondent name is a list. (See the SNARF Guide for more on this feature). To remind yourself whether or not you specified a particular name as a list, right click on the name. If there is a check in front of "This is a list", then you have told SNARF to treat this name as a list.

15. SNARF won't show anything "To Me"

If SNARF doesn't show anything when you try to limit a view to "To Me" you may have a mismatch between what SNARF thinks your user name is and how an email is addressed to you (this can happen for example if your company has mail aliases). For example, a quoted "last name, first name" will be treated differently than lastname.firstname@company.org

The registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft Research\SNARF\user has what SNARF thinks is your name.

SNARF evaluates messages "to you" by whether they have a string matching that username in the "to" or "cc" line.

Some steps to try in debugging:

  1. Check the registry entry above to see what SNARF thinks is your name.
  2. Modify the view by clicking the toolbox icon and modifying the filter to look for all messages (not just unread) across all time (not just the last n days) to you.
  3. Do messages to you actually have your Outlook user name? For example, if SNARF knows my name is (say) "Sri Roberts", and mail to me is addressed "to: Sri Roberts (sroberts@nowhere.org)". If the mail just says "to: sroberts@nowhere.org", SNARF will not recognize it.

We hope to address this issue in future versions of SNARF. (That is allowing people to specify which email addresses and format variations should be treated as "you".)

16. SNARF used to work, I upgraded and now SNARF doesn't work.

If you encounter this problem, uninstall SNARF (using Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel). If you have two copies of SNARF, uninstall both. Then reinstall and this should fix the problem.

17. SNARF is causing Outlook to be slow and other performance problems.

Performance can be an issue for SNARF, particularly if you have a lot of email to index initially. We have tried to provide reasonable default views, but obviously different people have different amounts of email.

Some things to try are reducing the number of panes by closing some and using shorter time frames (for both the display and sort metrics) should improve performance. For example, instead of using number of messages "you sent to THEM in the last year", try using the last month. The SNARF Guide discusses how to change your settings.

18. SNARF quits with an unhandled exception about a COM object with CLISD {000000514 .....}

This message suggests that the JET database engine is not properly installed. To fix the problem, open a command prompt and change to the directory C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\ado (This is the default location although some systems have the Program Files in a different location). Then enter the command: regsvr32 msado15.dll

This should fix things so try to launch SNARF again. If this does not fix it please see: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;307255

19. When I add a new view it doesn't show up in the settings panel for other panes.

If you have two or more panes in the main SNARF window, any new views you create will not be added to the settings panels for other panes until you close and re-open SNARF. (remember: SNARF is just a prototype). So if you create a great new view and want to put it into a different pane, close and reopen SNARF and the view will be available in all the setting panels.

20. I am running NewsGator, and SNARF is behaving oddly.

When NewsGator runs, the new items appear in SNARF - but later, after closing SNARF and re-running it (or after Refreshing with F5), the messages no longer appear in the SNARF list, and are gone from SNARF. Here's what's happening:

NewsGator seems to first save a message in as read, and posted by the user; it then modifies the entry to be from the feed, and unread. SNARF doesn't currently catch the change in the author, and so loses the message (thinking it was posted by the user).

This is a known issue; there's not currently an easy workaround.

21. I see negative numbers in my View title bar.

We have had reports that a few people see negative numbers in their view title bar on occasion (e.g. To/CC me (-5 msg/0 people)). To fix this problem please do a refresh using F5 or Menu->Refresh.

22. How is SNARF different than Outlook search folders?

Several of SNARF's features can be simulated with Outlook search folders and filtering. However, SNARF is able to do some things that you can’t with Outlook. At it’s simplest, SNARF orders unread mail by who sent it. For example, the morning after the SNARF announcement, one member of the SNARF team over fifty unread messages—SNARF was very helpful for finding the unread messages from other team members.

In addition, many of us find our set of correspondents change rather rapidly; SNARF helps keep them on top, without tweaking Outlook rules every few days.

23. Why doesn't SNARF show up in my system tray?.

Occasionally when first launched SNARF does not appear in the system tray (the bar across the bottom of the screen that shows running applications). The workaround is to click on running another application and then click back on SNARF

24. What happened to the Welcome to SNARF dialog?

Once you uncheck the "Show this next time at startup" option on the Welcome to SNARF dialog there is currently no way to get this dialog back. You can get to the content linked from the dialog (SNARF Help) from the SNARF Menu->Help option which takes you directly to the Help and has links to other SNARF pages.

25. Why doesn't SNARF support Outlook Express, Entourage, Thunderbird, Pegasus, ....?

SNARF relies on the MAPI interface to access email data. Thus will not work with email clients that do not implement MAPI. Please see the "What do I need to run SNARF" for more information about the email clients we have tried with SNARF.