E-Mail Troubleshooting

Once again, we need to Qualify the Issue. What exactly is the problem with your e-mail? Can you not send, can you not receive? Are neither working? Are you having problems with duplicate e-mails or is the e-mail just endlessly checking and then timing out? These are the most common issues and have the same basic steps, regardless of the e-mail client you're using.

If you're getting problems such as your e-mail program giving you an error and then physically closing (crashing), then there's some form of file corruption that needs to be addressed, which is outside of the scope of this guide. The challenge is that there are just too many things that can go wrong and too many possible fixes to cover in a simple guide. Unlike browser troubleshooting which has a few common problems, e-mail program issues are far more complex and varied.

Remember, this is not intended to be all encompassing. It's designed to give you the most basic, common steps to try to resolve the issues yourself. These steps have been compiled from taking tens of thousands of calls on the subject and managing departments in multiple organizations that have taken literally hundreds of thousands of similar calls. Needless to say, some patterns developed over time.

What Is An E-Mail Client & What Is Yours?

The Problems

Let's break this down into the most common issues:

  • Can't receive e-mail, but can send
  • Can't send, but can receive
  • Can't send/receive e-mail
  • E-mail locks up or takes forever when sending/receiving
  • Getting the same e-mails over and over again
  • Getting every e-mail exactly the same number of times, usually 2 or 3

With any of these problems you may or may not get an error code. Microsoft specifically loves to give cryptic messages mentioning things like SSL, even if you haven't enabled that feature. I've even found this site dedicated to determining the resolutions for each one of those codes: www.0x800CCC.com. Often though, they're useless messages. I've actually found that it's usually quicker to ignore the 0x800 messages and try the same basic troubleshooting steps. By doing so you can fix almost every e-mail problem a person will encounter.

Things To Try Every Time

Everyone Has Webmail

I have yet to see an ISP that doesn't offer free Webmail with their service. So, if your e-mail address is moc.erehwemos|bob#moc.erehwemos|bob, then your Webmail site is probably http://webmail.somewhere.com. This is necessary to know, because for almost all troubleshooting, you're going to verify if the account is actually working properly by checking it in Webmail, as well as in your e-mail program. You would log into your Webmail account using your E-Mail Address and the Password associated with that address. It's that simple. You can always check with your ISP if you're unsure.

Can't Receive E-Mail

Can't Send E-Mail

Can't Send/Receive E-Mail

E-Mail Locks Up Or Takes Forever When Sending/Receiving

Getting The Same E-Mails Over & Over Again

Getting Every E-Mail Exactly The Same Number Of Times, Usually 2 Or 3

Created: 14 Sep 2010 21:56


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