Working in service, I can say that easily the most common issues our clients encounter are email related, usually with Outlook. Outlook is a Microsoft product that is used primarily as an email client, but which also provides a calendar, task-manager, RSS feed, journal, and contact book. Microsoft released the first version of Outlook in 1997. Outlook Express is a similar Microsoft mail client that was included with Internet Explorer versions 4 through 6, which was first released in 1998. Outlook is currently the most popular email client in use, and is also more popular than many web-based email platforms, such as Hotmail or Gmail. Other popular desktop mail clients include Apple Mail and Thunderbird.
When you are having email issues in your email client, there are a few things to check right away to help you figure out what the problem is.
Before anything else, try sending or checking email from your web-based option. For Faster Solutions clients, this is usually at webmail.yourdomain.org. If everything works fine from the webmail, then the problem is likely to be with your email client.
Once you have determined whether the issue also exists on the webmail, the first question to answer is whether you are getting an error message. Do you get a message when you start the email client? Do you get a message when you try to send/receive? Are you receiving a bounce-back or not? A bounce-back or non delivery report is the email message that you sometimes get telling you that an email you tried to send failed. If it seems like you are not receiving email as normal or know that someone sent you an email that you didn’t receive, you should find out if the sender got a bounce back. These failure messages usually have important information that can help you or your email host figure out what’s going wrong. It’s also important to note whether you get the messages every time you send an email, or only in certain cases.
If you are getting bounce-back emails (or someone trying to send to you is getting them) give the message a quick read. Sometimes the problem is obvious, like “mail box full.” This means that the receiving mail box has too much data in it. If the owner of that mailbox deletes some messages, you should be able to get through. Even when it isn’t clear exactly what the problem is, that information can help your tech dept or email host determine what the problem is and how to correct it. A note on bounce-back emails: if you don’t recall sending the message in the first place, the message might be fake. As such, don’t try to open any attachments.
The second thing to do is confirm that all of your settings are correct. One thing I have noticed is that even if your email has been working fine until now, and you haven’t changed anything, it never hurts to confirm. Once in a while, things might get reset accidentally. If you are using Faster Solutions as your email host, you can find instructions for setting up email on our website. You can also refer to these instructions when double checking your settings; the steps will be a little different, but the information should match. Important things to check are the password, port numbers, and whether you have authentication turned on.
If you can’t seem to send email, but you aren’t getting an error message or bounce back and you have already checked your settings, take a look in your outgoing mail folder. Sometimes messages get “stuck” at this stage, for a number of reasons – the message might be too large, or it might be corrupted. Try clearing out the outgoing mail folder and sending something else. If, once you’ve emptied the outgoing folder you can send other email, then you know that one of the messages that was in it was the problem. You may want to try them one by one, or try removing attachments which may be too large.
If you’ve taken a look through the settings to no avail and checked for error messages, it is probably a good idea to contact your tech dept or email host. Faster Solutions’ clients can submit this form for email issues. That support form is monitored Monday through Friday, 8:00 – 4:30, except on holidays, and you will receive a prompt reply. When you do contact support, it is important to include some of the information from above: any error or bounce back messages, what your settings are, what email client you are in (and version), when the issue occurs, and anything else that seems important. We’re here to help, and it’s important to have all of the information so that we can do so.