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User receiving delayed emails

Posted on 2006-05-17
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Hi

We are using Exchange 2003, SP2. Clients are Outlook 2003 on XP SP2 PC's. All machines are updated with the latest patches.

One of my users is complaining that she is receiving emails to her Outlook long after they are sent.

I sent a few tests emails from Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and internally which were delivered to her inbox almost immediately. However, she has forwarded me an email that was sent to an internal distribution group she belongs to as proof. This email in question was sent at 17:44 on May 11....all the other recepients received it immediately, but she received it at 18:17.

Is there any reasoning behind this? Any logs that can be checked to find out why? I checked the logs on both the Exchange server and her local machine, and there was nothing to indicate anything untoward.

Many thanks
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Question by:Dilan77
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Sembee earned 1500 total points
ID: 16700875
The only thing that can prove delivery in Exchange is message tracking. If you haven't got that enabled then you are out of luck with trying to prove something after the event. Turn it on now for anything that happens in the future.
http://www.amset.info/exchange/message-tracking.asp

Most of the email delivery delays are down to a firewall disrupting the traffic flow. If a firewall isn't configured correctly then Outlook doesn't update itself automatically unless the user does something to trigger a check. This is because Exchange sends a packet to Outlook to say that something has changed. As the packet didn't originate on the workstation, the firewall blocks it.

Simon.
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by:Dilan77
ID: 16707790
Message tracking was enabled, but only for the last 4 days for some reason, so no joy there. I've increased it to 30 though in case this happens again.

Firewall - the user is saying that most of the delayed emails are internal only. Certainly, the distribution list was an internal one and all the other recipients received their emails on time. What sort of thing can cause on person to receive it so later after others?
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by:Sembee
ID: 16707892
If the messages are internal then there is no reason that I can think of for the message to be received later for that one user.

In cases like this, it comes down to a couple of things...

1. User perception.
I don't believe what users say to me, unless I can see it for myself. Users have a habit of over dramatising things - a small insignificant problem can become something that is "affecting the entire department".
2. A firewall issue.
As I explained above, Outlook can be slow to update if a firewall is configured incorrectly. The email message has been received in the mailbox correctly, it is just that the display in Outlook hasn't updated correctly.

Simon.
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by:Dilan77
ID: 16707961
Ok thanks....so far, it's only one email so possibly a glitch. But, I have seen it myself so know that it happened.

Question - the send/received time on Outlook. Is it possible that her Outlook is somehow configured to check for new mails irregularly? Does the receive time mean the time it was received by the Exchange server, or the Outlook client?
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by:Sembee
ID: 16710528
If you have Outlook configured for the receive time, then that will be the time that Exchange received the message. If I have an Exchange server down for any length of time, then bring it back up and the queues start to flush, then the time on the received column will show the time that the message was received by Exchange.
However, when you open the message, it shows the sent time, not the received time.

Simon.
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