• All the places a “missing” email can be hiding

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    MICROSOFT 365 By Peter Deegan If an email hasn’t arrived, there are many reasons why it’s not sitting in your Inbox. Before complaining to the sender,
    [See the full post at: All the places a “missing” email can be hiding]

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    • #2642215

      My dad hasn’t received emails from Outlook since late December 2023.
      Still a bloody mystery! Ref: Missing Emails

      Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on...
    • #2642279

      This article carried with it many ideas that are worthy of consideration.  Your comment about “not recommending Outlook Archieve” needs an explanation.  Your explanation could go far in changing my use of “Archieve”.

      Thank you

      • #2642843

        There wasn’t room to go down the Outlook Archive rabbit hole — especially since the article was too long already.

        These days there are two ‘Archive’ features in the Outlook/Microsoft line.

        • There’s an Archive feature for Microsoft 365 business/enterprise customers.  That’s something for IT managers and legal departments to worry about.

        The other is the Archive option in Outlook desktop for Windows — that’s been around for many years/versions.  That’s the feature I have NEVER recommended, ever since it appeared in beta releases.

        Archive in Outlook for Windows moves messages from the main storage to another PST file.  The problem is that the second PST file can’t be accessed or searched along with the primary mailbox.  It’s hiding information you might want and it’s easily overlooked.

        It’s useful to understand why Microsoft added Archive — it was a trick to deflect complaints (in those days) that Outlook was running too slowly with ‘large’ mailboxes.  Instead of improving the performance of Outlook and its database engine, MS provided a way to offload messages.
        Over time, Archive has become less necessary.  Modern computers are more powerful with faster CPU and SSD drive access plus more memory.  All that combined with other tweaks like a newer, better database format and 64-bit apps means Outlook can handle much. much larger mailboxes that it could when Archive was introduced.

    • #2642304

      If it seems as if I’m down on Internet Service Provider (ISP)–based email, you’re right. Well over half the email-delivery problems I see are caused by overzealous spam filters or low storage on ISP-hosted mailboxes.

      I don’t know whether you would say that email from or to ‘att.net’ or to/from one of its subsidiaries such as ‘bellsouth.net’ is really ISP-based email. AT&T contracts with Yahoo! to provide its email service and the storage that comes with it is very large. Spam filtering is provided by Yahoo!.

      Is Yahoo! what you would call a ‘modern mailbox service’? If anything, Yahoo! spam filtering is underzealous, because it seems that Yahoo! does not update its filtering strategy often enough. But, if you SPAM-mark one that has slipped through, the filter immediately updates accordingly.

      I do check the SPAM filter weekly, just to be sure ‘should be accepted’ email hasn’t landed in the filter. Usually, the email is from a sender who hasn’t ever sent me email before and is not listed as a ‘contact’. But, once the SPAM filter knows that it should be in the Inbox instead, email from the sender always lands in the Inbox afterwards.

      • #2642847

        It’s good that ATT etc have delegated their email hosting to Yahoo … in my experience that setup isn’t as bad as some others.

        However very recently I had a customer who wasn’t receiving emails from us.  ATT/Yahoo was accepting the emails but then they disappeared without a trace.

        Once the receiver understood the delivery problem, he realised that other emails were going missing too.  According to him, there was no way to complain/feedback to Yahoo/ATT.  I could only suggest setting up another mailbox (Gmail, Outlook.com) which is more reliable.

        Being able to tag messages as spam is good, but there should also be a way to trace and identify messages wrongly marked by the automated system as unwanted.

        No spam system is ever going to be perfect.


    • #2642349

      My ISP (Optimum) has put in place a spam filter and I have exactly the problem mentioned in the newsletter, namely, that some messages get marked as spam by my ISP and get put into the online Junk folder. Since I use the Thunderbird email client to access my email, I never see those messages in Thunderbird since they’re not in my online Inbox but are instead in the online Junk folder and therefore do not get downloaded. It used to be possible to opt out of my ISP’s online spam filter (which I had done), but starting a few years ago, that option is no longer available. Although most of the emails put into the online Junk folder by my ISP are, in fact, spam, I occasionally catch a few legit emails in there as well. So now if I want to make sure I’m getting every legit email, I have to log in to my ISP’s webmail interface in order to review what’s in the online Junk folder. This is quite annoying. I dislike the webmail interface—any webmail interface—and much prefer using an email client since you can do more with one, and it’s not clunky and slow like webmail. I would much rather handle the spam by myself on my end and not have to, in essence, log into my email twice.

    • #2642522

      My last comment seems to have gone into the bit bucket so I’ll try to reproduce:

      My ISP (Optimum) has a spam filter and I have exactly the problem mentioned in the newsletter, namely, that some messages get marked as spam by my ISP and get put into the online Junk folder. I never see those messages in my email client (Thunderbird) since they’re not in my online Inbox but instead are in my online Junk folder. It used to be possible to opt out of my ISP’s online spam filter (which I had done), but for the past few years that option has no longer been available. Though most of the emails put into the online Junk folder by my ISP are, in fact, spam, I do catch a few legit emails in there from time to time. So now, in order to make sure I’m getting every legit email, I also have to log in daily to my ISP’s webmail interface in order to review the messages in my online Junk folder. It’s annoying since I dislike working with webmail—the interface is slow and clunky and is more limited in what I can do (the same applies to the gmail interface).

      I don’t know why they changed things. The default was to enable spam filtering, which is fine, but at least make it an option to disable it.

    • #2642524

      Of course, the very instant that I posted my last comment, my original comment showed up.


    • #2642527

      I have come across many various causes of email going missing but the strangest was this.  In dealing with overseas suppliers, we found that emails sent from suppliers in one country to multiple staff in the office at the same time, this one person would never receive them, either when address in To, or CC or BCC fields.  They could receive emails from all other countries without issue.

      What we found is that the country was doing filtering and the users email address was a problematic word for them.  The sender got no notifications.

      Basically the user was Christine and it was blocked because of the Christ.  Changing their email to Chris got around this.



      • #2642848

        Some countries do filter content — usually it’s web sites supposedly for ‘religious or cultural reasons’ which just happen to also include services like Skype and WhatsApp that cut into lucrative internation voice call services. #FollowTheMoney

        I’ve never heard that kind of block being applied to email and certainly not in such a silly, unthinking way.

        Thanks for the note, it’s worth keeping in mind.

        Peter Deegan

    • #2644953

      Where does the “bounce” come from, on a sender’s address?
      This is the one I’ve run up against a lot. They pre-pend “bounce@987654+somenonsense” and my work filtering system blocks that. These are fairly important messages, from our health insurer, I’ve got the admins to let them through from a very specific sender. Still, others are getting blocked.
      I can’t imagine that anyone would voluntarily place “bounce…” in their from address, so I’m inclined to think it’s one of these other stops along the way that’s doing it. And can we get them to remove it?

      Thanks Peter. Excellent instruction on how to find our missing messages.

      • #2646911

        “Bounce” messages usually come from the receiving system and can happen for many reasons.

        Look at the details in the return message to see the reason. That will be there, among all the tech text.

        The most common ‘bounce’ message is ‘unknown user’ where the email address isn’t correct.

        But there can be other reasons. Sometimes there are content blocks on certain types of attachments or certain text in a message (e.g. anything that looks like code) among many.  These types of blocks may, or may not, generate a ‘bounce’ response to the sender — it depends on the setup of that mailbox system.

        Using bounce@… is a fairly common practice.  They should not be blocked by a receiving system since the original email sender needs to know their email didn’t arrive, obviously.  From what you’ve said, it seems strange that your Admin Gods are blocking those responses simply on the basis that they come from a bounce@… address.

        Extra: It’s possible for a sending mail system (in an organization) to block outgoing emails but that’s less common and the response message should be clearer.

        Thanks for the kind words.

    • #2648535

      There’s another place missing emails can be hiding. If you have a boutique email address / domain through a service like Hover or Network Solutions, and all the email to that address is forwarded to your regular (gmail or outlook) account, the domain service email server probably uses some junk/spam filtering. You need to go to the domain email account directly and check the spam folder there every once in a while. I have not been able to turn this “feature” off, only set it to low, and whitelists don’t work flawlessly.

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