Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Email Problem -- dont know if you can help

I don't know if anyone can help, but I was searching the internet for a forum board to post this and this was the only site that came up.  Here goes

I sent an email blast to about 300 of our clients, I am running outlook 2000, windows 98 -- I sent this email on Dec 29 -- as expected .. I got the 40-50 returned emails

on Jan 16 I open up outlook to find another 40-50 returned emails for the same email -- the header info said the email had been sent (by me) on Dec 29 -- it went to the same 300 clients (because many of them called and emailed saying they had already recvd this email once)

Jan 18 -- Same thing

Jan 19 --- I ran complete updated virus scan -- nothing was found -- I also deleted EVERY instance of this email in outlook, including the original

Jan 28 -- it has happened again-- every returned mail header says this email was sent dec 29 .. but they are going out today

I'm at a loss -- Any suggestions on what I can check or do?

Betsy Gordon
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Contact your ISP and have them remove the email from their mail queue.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

It seems that the virus scanner was not able to detect te virus. If thats the case, disconnect from the network so that no more mails are sent, download the latest virus scanners from more than one vendor- like McAfee, Sophos,
FProt, PCCillin . Run them one by one.

Warning:Many of them are not compatible with each other. Meaning that you should not install 2 virus scanners at the same time as they have a program which stays in memory. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I've contacted my Email provider and they say they dont know, its a virus

I ran Mcaffee virus scan online, as this was recommended

the address's it is going to, are not in my regular contact list, they are a separate folder, it has not gone to anyone in my regular contact list, as I would think would happen if it were a virus

Betsy Gordon
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Learn the theory and workings of email client and servers and know the ins and outs of SMTP before you tackle this.


Annoying Anon Database Admin
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Anybody else notice the trend of using 'blast' instead of 'spam'?  Maybe it's just the companies I deal with...

Joe Blandy
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I don't consider it spam if they have asked to be notified of our upcoming seminars and put on our mailing list --

We are a nonprofit and provide our services to only nonprofits .. ALL of our services are FREE

Betsy Gordon
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The Email system stores the messages and retries sending them over and over if unsuccessful.  This timeout is configurable (contact your IT group or ISP), but is in the order of days, like you've observed.

Is your list of email recipients old enough that many of them may have moved to other email accounts?  Is your message something that would cause a SPAM filter to fire (you're not selling penis enlargment devices are you? :)  That would explain the bounced messages.

I don't understand why you all think it's a virus.  What made you come to that conclusion?

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The email system is sending them to everyone, including the undeliverable addresses, as well as the successful addresses

I have contacted the ISP/email provider, but all they tell me is it must be a virus on my computer (although the emails are being sent when all our computers are off)

My list is very old and this was really the 1st time I have tried to email them all, so I was not suprised by the number of "old" email addresses

No I'm not selling penis enlargement devices .. I was just sending out notice of a seminar we were having that I hadn't gotten letters in the mail for -- actually the number of bounced emails is not really a concern -- its the fact that this email just keeps sending and sending and sending

I am convinced it is NOT a virus
I just need to know either
1. What it is and how to fix it
2. What to tell my email/isp so that they will know what to look for and fix it
3. how to prevent it from going out again and again again

Betsy Gordon
Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Your ISP runs what's called an "Email Server."

This is a computer that has special software on it.  This software is generically referred to as an "SMTP Server."  It sends and receives email.  (SMTP means Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.)

On your ISP's "Email Server" there is a folder that stores the email that is being sent until it is sent.  It called a queue.

If the email is successfully sent, the message is removed from the folder.  If the email is not successfully sent it remains in the folder and the "SMTP Server" continually tries to send the email at set intervals.

What you need to ask your ISP to do is to ensure that your email, (tell them the title of your email), is not "stuck" in that folder.  You may also ask them how long each message remains in the folder and how many "tries" the "SMTP Server" uses before it quits trying to send the message.

It seems to me that it is a problem with your ISP's SMTP Server.  You need to contact them and have them check it out.  They can manually clear the message or search for the message on the server.  They should also check for viruses on their computers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

"It's a virus" has become the "take two aspirin and call me in the morning" answer of tech support.  You may need to work your way up the food chain at your email provider to find someone who will listen to you.  While it's very hard to diagnose these things remotely I think the poster above has described what going on.

Keep stressing the points you raised here, that you've scanned with current virus definitions, that emails were sent only to you broadcast list not to your address book, that they were sent when none of your computers were on.  If the tech you're talking to isn't responsive ask to speak to their supervisor.

Ken McKinney
Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Here's another WAG. Outlook is set to not remove mails from the POP3 server.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

I have the same problem. It seems to occur only when I am sending attachments.  When I send such an e-mail it does not look like it has left my outbox, but then I start getting messages from recipients saying that they have received 10 or 20 copies.  And to me, it looks like it still has not been sent.  Yikes!  I've looked all over and asked around about how to fix this and have not found a good answer yet.  Meanwhile, I am using a different mail program to send messages that have attachments.

Marty Furse
Friday, February 20, 2004

i have a similar problem with outlook.  evertime i open the program it starts sending a couple of old emails out.  these emails have been deleted, but they still send over and over- multiple times each time i am in outlook.  i have switched email programs because i can't figure out what's going on... 

Saturday, August 14, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home