Outook error, " 550 Error: Message content rejected" when sending to ANY email

Please read this carefully before replying.  Other replies to similar problems have grossly missed the point of the question.

This is a sudden problem, no known changes to my system or Outlook settings.   Using WindowsXP and MS Outlook 2003 to send email via POP3, its been working fine for years.  Suddenly 90% of the emails I try to send get the following error message

  550 Error: Message content rejected
from the "System Adminsitrator"

Key points missing in the other answers:

It does NOT matter who I am SENDING TO.   This is not a blacklist problem with receiving, this is a problem with my messages getting OUT to ANY sender.   I can take a rejected message and send to to another email address and get the exact same rejected message.  It does not appear to be rejected by the RECEIVING server becasue if I send to multiple recipients singly, not a spam looking mutliple addresses in the same email, they will all get rejected.   Logic says its something in my sending then, not in the receiving.  This is the main point all the previous answers seem to miss.

Sometimes I can cut parts of the email and resend and it will go through.   Often it comes down to one word, when I take the word out, or put in back in, the message gets sent properly, or not, in reliable pattern that says that word is the problem.   Once it was the word "see", once it was "sing", once it was "find"... but if I put on that word in, the message sends.

If I go to the web site and send directly, I have no problems, so we know its not the provider, or the recipients, its something in Outlook.   The email is through excite.com if there is some known problem between them and Outlook, but it worked fine for years, so why the sudden problem?

I have up to date virus software and ran another company's scan just to get a second opinion and my computer is virus free, so that's not the problem either.   So I'm stumped and frustrated and my productivity crippled when I can't send emails like this.

1)  Who is the Outlook "System Adminstrator" and where do those settings/error messages come from?

2) Anyone know a solution to this problem?

Thank you!
Who is Participating?
EngecConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Under your outlook tools - options - mail format. Try unticking/ticking the  "using word as email editor" and see if makes difference.
kbens0nConnect With a Mentor Commented:
"1)  Who is the Outlook "System Administrator" and where do those settings/error messages come from?"

Of course, the System Administrator "moniker" is a fabricated authority response string meant to represent the actual Mail System(s) handling of incoming/outgoing emails. The address <emailadmin@cs.excite.com > is gonna be the person who configures, controls and handles user problems with the Mail servers regarding such things as these bouncing emails with auto-responses based on filtering/blacklists/other rules, etc.

"2)  Anyone know a solution to this problem?"

SORRY, I'm late to the party... have you contacted the email admin with an explanation of your problem(s) -or- samples of the bouncing messages -or- auto-response errors? In light of the fact that you are not doing any obvious or intentional operations and you seem to think that simple words ~may~ be germane to your problem, I would highly suggest you, at least, seek clarification, rather than running "blind".

Dont over look this...
"This is a sudden problem, no known changes to my system or Outlook settings."

If I go to the web site and send directly, I have no problems, so we know its not the provider, or the recipients, its something in Outlook.

Not necessarily a good "assumption" about your email provider. It's not 100% clear from your description of the problem that you are using POP3 (Webmail) in some exclusive way [ versus SMTP (Outlook) ]. Each are used for different purposes (POP3 to gather from/send to -other- email accounts you may configure / SMTP "typically" for your master account for use in email clients), each is configured and controlled by your email provider and they ~could~ still be the culprit in filtering, blacklists, message sending quantity/timing limits, other settings, etc.

When a message bounces with this error, you could try sending same original  to YOURSELF to determine if you get the same handling response on the "internal" side of the mail system. you do not mention HTML vs. Plain text when sending -or- whether there is a signature line -or- acronym (initials, etc.) that may be common to all outgoing mails, but not obvious as a potential problem, because the email provider has just made "filter" changes or whatever.

As an example, I use to embed a Four-Capital-Letter acronym in my signature line... that suddenly became a stock market symbol common to penny-stock spam and triggered such a filter.
LLB101Author Commented:
ok, good answers and logical places to start.

I apologize for my ignorance on some of this.  I thought SMTP is just the sending side of POP3, heads and tails of the same thing.  Every POP3 acct I've had uses SMTP to send, but the acct gets referred to as POP3 so that's where I was coming from.

To refine our problem solving here and answer your questions.

I have sent the identical message that refuses to send, to another of my email addresses and gotten the same refusal to send.  I have no automatic signature, so that's not it, plus *sometimes* it works and will send.

I send the problem emaili to myself at another address, I get the same refusal to send.  So I divide it half and send both halves.  One will send, one won't.  I divide the problem one in half again, repeat until I get down to a word that's causing the problem.  They all been common words so far, "see", "sing", "find" etc.    I then test by removing that word from the orignal email and try to send again.  Ususally it works.  But it takes 10min-1hr and is ruining my productive life!     The word "sing" was the worst, it will cause a refusal to send as just the one word in an email, I just tried it again in a brand new fresh email.   But it will send fine if I go to the web to send it, just not through Outlook.   Just tried it again, same result if I use a new blank email, type "photo" in the subject and "sing!" as the message content, I will get the error.  This came from my half by half isolation from an email I was trying to send about a kid's recital photo I had to give to a newsletter.   Its all been mundane stuff like that, but the biz productivity ones are killing me.  I replied to a client with "ok" about some dates, that's all, just the word "ok" and it refused to send.

Sorry for the rant, I'm soooo frustrated.    Back to logical dectection work...

HTML or plain text makes no difference, I just tested it again.

Efforts already to resolve it through Excite...
In the online Help is a submission form.  I filled it out with examples, clicked "submit" and it says that email address already has an account so email direclty to "manager@help.excite.com" and it won't let me submit thru the form.   So I email, but couldn't send due to the problem after over an hour of trying to delete different parts.    I  just resent it to the sysadmin address you gave above, but it won't send either of course.

I've had several people try to come up with a phone number for Excite, none found, but there has to be one.  So here I am after most of 2 days searching online for answers.

Thank you thank you for helping me to resolve this!

Free tool for managing users' photos in Office 365

Easily upload multiple users’ photos to Office 365. Manage them with an intuitive GUI and use handy built-in cropping and resizing options. Link photos with users based on Azure AD attributes. Free tool!

LLB101Author Commented:
P.S.  I don't know if its relevant, but the error messge from System Administrator arrives instantly in my Outlook inbox but never appears in the web access inbox.

Bounce Message Report

Did you send an email to an Excite user that was returned to you undelivered? Be sure you've first checked our help pages for a possible explanation. If you are still unclear as to why this has occurred, please use the form below to contact us. If possible, cut-and-paste the rejection notice you received into the form so we can better assist you. (The rejection notice is the message you were sent alerting you that your email had not been delivered.)
LLB101Author Commented:

you were on the road to being so helpful in your first reply today!    What happened?

 I answered your addtitional info questions and then get the generic responses from other web sites that I've already found days ago.  I said in my original postting that I've been exhaustively searching for answers on this for days and that other "answers" did not address the questions.  

Your 5:22pm post, pasting from Excite Help is a little silly.   That's the first place I started, I've addressed the content twice already, its not a problem with receiving and I explained how I've been through their useless Help loops.

I've done all the research I can before resorting to this desperate plea for expert help, please help for real, not with stuff I've already googled and found or that ignores my real and desperate question.   I can not send emails to any user, without a crazy process of eliminating words until it goes through.
Re-read the form please! It is for he EXPLICIT purpose of reporting Bounce messages SENT by -ANY- users to EXCITE users. You stated that you had done this (from one email name to another) and had the problems. This allows for pasting the specifics of a "bounce" rejection notice for possible explanation by EXCITE and the person whom they have chosen to study such problems, NO?.

Besides that, your explanations for having tried these forms for submittal to Excite.com support / admin/ etc. have been unclear AT BEST. One might be left to assume that HOW you filled out the form could be suspect.

As to not being able to send emails to:
emailadmin@cs.excite.com -or- manager@help.excite.com
You have already made it clear you CAN still send email via WebMail and why you would instead thrash "blindly" is beyond me.

Furthermore, no amount of demeaning commentary about someone's efforts (on your behalf) -or- offending verbiage about "mind-reading" what YOU may have already "Googled" ot donr is going to be productive in this environment herr at EE.

Understand your frustrations, but maintain decorum ;-)
what YOU may have already "Googled" or done is going to be productive in this environment here at EE.
LLB101Author Commented:
an Excite email "Bounce" message is a totally different message sent by Excite back to the sender when a receiver's email server rejects it.  That is not what is happening.  When I SEND a message, I get a rejection for "Message Content", not a Bounce message that it is rejected by the receiving server, it never makes it to the receiving server.   I've dealt with Bounce messages before and its a different message.

In my original question, there has to be a balance between including all the pertinent info, and losing the key facts in a complete log of all my efforts the past few days.  

In my reply to your helpful 1st reply, I said I'd tried to resolve it thru Excite Help.    I've read EVERYTHING there.   I cannot submit a help request, as I said earlier, cuz their Help submit form says "an account has already been created for that email address" (from a previous issue, years ago) and to email managers@help.excite.com but I tried for 2 hrs to get a message to send and none would send past whatever this problem is.  You have a good point that I can try to send it through webmail.  I tried sending it first, days ago, and only discovered today that I can send through web mail.   So I will try that again, but I'm not hopeful cuz the rejections never show on my Excite Inbox in web mail, so based on previous experience with them, they are likely to say its an Outlook problem, since that is the only place it is happening.

I"ve read EVERY web reference on the first 10-12 pages of links found by Googling "550 error, Message Content Rejected".   That's how I found this site,  and similar questions, but all the responders missed the point that this is not the usual Bounce message from a receiving server.    This doesn't matter at all who it is sent to, its NOT the receiver rejecting it, I can keep trying to send the same message to person after person and it will get the same sending rejection until/if I can figure out by my cutting messages in half strategy, what the offending content word is.

Yes, the link to the question on AllExperts sounds very similar.   I haven't seen a solution there yet either.
ridConnect With a Mentor Commented:
When you use the web interface to send e-mail, you bypass your own client and the SMTP part of the communication, from your part to the outgoing server. This setup will naturally work differently from the normal SMTP session from your mail client (Outlook).

In this case, I'd try another mail client (there are several; Thunderbird and Pegasus (www.pmail.com)) to narrow the scope a bit.

Once you find whether it's client-related or not, you'll be one step further towards a solution.

If it isn't client-related, you must verify that your system hasn't got a hysterical antivirus program or similar that interferes with your mail.

If it is client-related, you may have to re-install or repair Outlook.

It could also be worth while to examine the headers of the bounce, just to see if it contains anything about a mail server being involved. Your provider's SMTP server may be set up to be protected in another manner than the web interface; perhaps they are filtering their incoming SMTP connections in some weird way. (I hope I make myself clear: SMTP is used for sending: from your client to your providers server and then for the next hop to the recipient's server. If you use the web interface, you shortcircuit the first SMTP part and deliver your message by another method to the "sending" server.)

LLB101Author Commented:
most of that makes sense RID.   That's why I chose "Outlook" as one of the categories for this posting.  Excite might be part of it, but it not happening in Excite's webmail interface, only when I send from Outlook, so is it something in SMTP and who controls that?

I turned off antivirus, rebooted, tried again, no difference, so its not that.

I can try re-installing/repairing Outlook later, late for work now and its never gone well when I've had to do it before.

The message is not like  bounce messages that I've dealt with off and on, Its like it never gets to the server to get header info.   Here's a complete error message to a manage I work with and email a lot in the past with no problem, and its happening identically regardless of who it is sent to:

From: System Administrator
Sent: Monday, April 09, 2007 9:42 PM
To: L L Bailey
Subject: Undeliverable: Jerry, scheduling

Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients.

      Subject:      Jerry, scheduling
      Sent:      4/9/2007 9:42 PM

The following recipient(s) could not be reached:
        'Jay Scherrer' on 4/9/2007 9:42 PM
            550 Error: Message content rejected
ridConnect With a Mentor Commented:
A 550 Error is normally a server message. I think you may need to make Outlook display all "internet headers" or whatever MS has chosen to call the mail headers. In the headers, any server included in the message path should be displayed. Since I'm unwilling to acccept the thought that Outlook mails to itself, I suspect the relay server (your ISP's SMTP server that Outlook connects to when sending) may be doing something here. What, exactly, remains to be seen.
I'm with RID on this one.  Install Thunderbird 1.5 (http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/).  It's free, and it's a really good email manager anyway.  Configure it with your Excite mail server settings and try sending email with it.  I'm betting that the same problem occurs.  But at least this way, you'll know it's NOT an Outlook problem.

I was thinking maybe you have some kind of firewall software installed, or maybe you have some kind of Internet Security program running that is filtering message content.  My McAfee program does that all the time.

Of course, another thing to do would be to configure Thunderbird or Outlook on another computer altogether and see if the same problem occurs.  If it does, I'd desperately try to contact someone at Excite.  If it doesn't, then there is definitely something watching your outgoing mail on your main computer.  

I know you scanned for viruses, but have you also scanned for malware/adware with a different program than your antivirus software?

Please post any updates on your situation...

LLB101Author Commented:
sorry all for being unavailable, I'm a tax preparer and worked 13.5 hrs today straight in the office and am fried...

the last thing I need is to install another application... although I see the merits for testing purposes, that's not going to happen soon.   I might brave RID's suggestiong to do "repair" on Outlook first.

Clearly no one really knows what the problem is, we can all try to figure it out together, but obviously I"m screwed.   I tried to reply to 5 messages just now, not one of them would send.   So I'm in trouble... but my eyes and brain are going to fry if I look a any computer screen for another minute right now.

FWIW, I've tried disabling the firewall and spyware and virus scan, none of it has mattered.  And I didn't make any changes to my computer when this suddenly started happening.
Sounds like hard times to me...

Anyway, one helpful thing would be the proper headers of these bounces. In Outlook (and most other clients) you don't see those unless you "ask for it". This is often a menu choice; in Outlook it might be under "Tools" or "View" or something and I believe that MS calls them "Internet headers" or similar. I'm not familiar with Outlook, not enough to be able to tell you exactly what to do, but someone else here may be. If there is any trace of a server in the headers, you need to raise the problem with this server admin!

MaximusPrimeConnect With a Mentor Commented:
In Outlook, open the received message (the one with the Error 550), click the View menu, and then click on Options.  A window will open called "Message Options."  The bottom portion of this window contains an area called "Internet headers."  The entry you'll be concerned with is called "Received: from" and should tell you the name of the domain and server that are sending you the Error 550 message.  Hopefully, it will reveal something new to you and will aid in troubleshooting this problem.

Let us know,

LLB101Author Commented:
ok!  I can try that quickly!

on View menu, there's no "Options", but if I right click on the message, there's "Options" in the pop-out menue, so I chose it.  The bottom of the window has a box area labeled "Internet Headers" just as you said.   But its empty.   On all of several of the error messages I checked.  Empty.  

I see the info you are talking about on other received messages.

So its not making it out of Outlook to the internet?
ridConnect With a Mentor Commented:
No; I'd say you're quite right - it doesn't make it out of Outlook... or so it seems at least. Very odd.

(Or should it be: "Yes; I think you're quite right" ? Anyway - you're right...)

Perhaps a repair or reinstall of Outlook is the best way, but I'd be trying another mail client in your case, just in case there is some additional layer added by protective software (antivirus, anti-malware, firewall; you name it) that causes trouble. Some antivirus setups act like an internal mail server: the mail client "sends" to localhost ( and the AV software "relays" to the proper SMTP server after inspecting the message. Sometimes things just go bad or derails for no apparent reason.
LLB101Author Commented:
ok Engec, you're the big winner so far, I did that and sent 3 test messages without a problem, we'll see over the next couple of days if its coincidence since this an inconsistent problem.   I never changed this setting, didn't even know about it, so how could it be the reason for this problem suddenly happening?    And how does Word lead to "Message Content Rejected" and rejected by who/what?
Oddly enough, I was configuring Mozilla Thunderbird on a portable USB drive for myself two days ago and sent out a couple of test messages.  Imagine my surprise when they both bounced back immediately with "550 5.7.1 relaying denied" System Administrator messages.  Of course, my message had the more specific "5.7.1" number, which specifically relates to how your SMTP server settings are set up.  In my case, I had forgotten to check off a few boxes such as "Use SSL connection."  Some ISP's also require you to authenticate your user account with each "Send", and I'd imagine if you didn't do this, you'd end up with the Error 550 message again.

Hopefully, your problem has indeed been solved.  But I wanted to add this last tidbit in case you still receive the error message.
Bob BarnesCommented:
I had this problem sending a message via Outlook Express and got rid of it by changing the Subject Field text from "Re: Notification of Limited Account Access RX1071" to "Account Access". I've no idea why it worked.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.