In the Emerald Viewer Review I wrote about Inventory Loss. Inventory loss is now also a problem with the standard Second Life viewer (not that it is new thing but the current problem seems to client side as opposed to the ongoing asset server side problems). Since the problem is in the basic SL viewer code it is also likely to show up in most 3rd party viewers.
I also wrote about failed delivery of items purchased (See: Failed Inventory Deliveries in Second Life) This loss thing is not that failed delivery problem, but it could also cause what appears to be a failed delivery.
Linden Lab has a wiki where steps for recovering your lost items are covered. The Second Life Wiki article is: Inventory loss
There is Inventory Loss and PERCEIVED Inventory Loss. One of the processes that can make it appear you have lost items is object coalescing. Those not into building things have probably never dealt with coalesced objects in inventory. To understand a coalesced object think of making 12 cubes. One could take each cube into inventory and have 12 new items. Or one could select all 12 cubes at once and then take them into inventory in a single ‘take’. In which case all 12 would make only one inventory item. If your have items returned, they will return as a coalesced item. (Note: The icon for coalesced items is a cube that appears to be made up of smaller cubes.)
The basic steps to recoever lost inventory are to clear the viewer cache and check your Lost and Found folder. You may need to manually clear the cache. By going into Edit -> Preferences -> Network tab you can see where your viewer’s cache is located. The Wiki links to a more detailed article on clearing your cache. On this same tab you can set your cache to a new location. If you are using any third party viewers, you should set them to use their own cache. Many problems are caused by different viewers sharing the same cache.
I was surprised to find that the “Object Missing From Database” error message was not the end. In some cases the object will be recovered. The error some times (they don’t give any information on what makes it happen or not) triggers a recover process in the asset server. If it does trigger, it may take up to an hour and the item will only show up after a viewer restart. Not the handiest thing but worth a try.
The article lists the simple things we can do to loose things and how to recover from those silly mistakes. I remember making an object phantom and physical… duh! I was not exactly thinking ahead.
The Wiki sort of implies one should keep their inventory item count below 10,000 items… Right, that’s gonna happen.
As a last resort they provide information on submitting a support ticket for inventory recovery.