Inbox missing all 2011 emails

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Outlook version
Email Account
We have run into a weird problem in Outlook 2003 running in Windows XP SP3, POPing mail to a .PST file.

All of the messages from 2011 in the Inbox have disappeared. The oldest remaining message is dated 1/6/12. There should be around 400+ messages from 2011 in the Inbox.

There are no filters applied to the Inbox. The View is set to Messages. Archiving is turned off. These were the first things I checked. There are also no rules, no junk mail filters, and no syncing. The messages were not deleted by the user. There should be around 400+ messages from 2011 in the Inbox. Other messages from 2011 or older that were moved to separate folders are not missing.

We have also noticed another oddity. The file size of our Outlook.pst backups have been decreasing in size since last December. In December, the Outlook.pst file size was 9.5 GB. Now it's 7.5 GB. Before that, the file sizes were increasing in size every month. The user has done nothing that would account for this. Also, automatic compacting is disabled, and the user has not compacted the file manually.

We opened an old backup from last December. There were 2011 files in the Inbox from November and December only.

Could this be a symptom of a corrupt .pst file? The user is getting no error messages and is not having any problems in receiving and sending email.

Would appreciate any suggestions as to how to further troubleshoot this.
Is the user syncing Outlook with a smart phone? If they sync email and have it configured to delete old mail from the phone, it may also delete it outlook.
I can't imagine it's a corrupt pst - if it were corrupt, you'd have other symptoms. It's more likely the pst was opened in a second profile where archiving was used or archiving was run in this profile and turned off.
There is no second profile. I'm also certain that archiving wasn't run in this profile and is turned off. The Outlook user prefers to archive manually every summer. We do the archiving together. Nevertheless, I did look at the archive files. The 2011 Archive file hasn't been created yet. The date and the file size of the 2010 Archive file have not changed, and the missing 2011 files are not in there.

Archiving was an immediate suspect because of the year-end cutoff: 2012 files are in the Inbox; 2011 files are not. But I now think that this is just coincidental. As I said above, when I opened a December backup, there were 2011 files in there from November and December (but January to October were still missing). A later December backup had similar files. A February 2012 backup had no 2011 files. So whatever happened happened between December and February. If we had noticed this in December, the cutoff wouldn't have been at year-end.

Also, the shrinking file size is a mystery. The Outlook.pst file has never gotten smaller until the file was compacted. And the file was not compacted since last summer. Since the Outlook.pst file is large, it takes almost 8 hours to compact. The user doesn't have time to do it at work, and doesn't want to do it in the background, so we do it on a weekend. We're still a couple months away from that.

BTW, no one else uses the computer.
So whatever happened happened between December and February.

Correction: That is not accurate. There were only two months of 2011 files in the December backup. There should have been twelve. So I don't know when this happened. But apparently it didn't happen all at once.
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