Outbound mail flow

Outbound mail flow

Why is my message taking so long to arrive at its destination?

We have a new Guided Walkthrough Troubleshooter available for troubleshooting issues sending or receiving email.  Please try it and let us know what you think! 

Scenario: You sent a message from your Office 365 mailbox.  One or more recipients are complaining either that they haven’t received the message or that the message took a long time to arrive.

If this is NOT your email delivery issue, or if the sender is getting a bounce message, return here.

Steps:

  1. Users: Open a delivery report for your message
  2. Evaluate the report
  3. Administrators: Use the Message Trace feature to get additional detail
  4. Reach out to the receiving side if necessary

 

1. Open a delivery report for your message

If you have Outlook 2010, go to your Sent Items folder, and find the message you want to track.  Open the message.  In the message window, click the File tab.  Under Message Delivery Report, click Open Delivery Report.

If you are using anything other than Outlook client (e.g., mobile device or OWA) to send your messages, you will need to go to Outlook Web App (OWA).  From Outlook Web App, click the Cog (Settings) and select Options.

 

You will find the Delivery Reports under Organize Email:

Highlight the search for messages I've sent to and then select users.  You can specify any email address, including those outside of your organization.

As an administrator or someone with the ability to track messages (helpdesk), you can also access Delivery Reports for any user directly from the Exchange Admin Center. From Office 365 portal, go to the Admin page and select Exchange. 

Note: Small Business customers will need to follow the steps here to access Exchange Admin Center: http://community.office365.com/en-us/wikis/exchange/4077.aspx

Once in Exchange Admin Center, select Delivery Reports in the Mail flow tab. 

For more information about Delivery Reports see TechNet.

 

2. Evaluate the report

For each recipient, the results will look something like this:

Note: Exchange Online currently only keeps message tracking data for 14 days.  If your message was sent outside of that time period, you will not be able to run a delivery report.

The main things to look for are the following:

  • Was the message successfully submitted?  Does the time stamp match what you expected?
  • If sent to an Office 365 recipient, was the message delivered?  If yes, what was the delay from the submit time?
  • If sent to a non-Office 365 recipient, was the message transferred (handed off to a different email system)? If yes, what was the delay from the submit time?

If there was a significant delay between the submission event and handoff or delivery, then the problem may have been with Exchange Online.  Otherwise, the investigation takes us elsewhere.

 

3. Administrators: Use the Message Trace feature to get additional detail

At this point, if you’re an end-user, you need to get your tenant administrator involved.

As an administrator or someone with the ability to track messages (helpdesk), you will need to navigate to Message Trace in the Exchange Admin Center. From Office 365 portal, go to the Admin page and select Exchange 

Note: Small Business customers will need to follow the steps here to access Exchange Admin Center: http://community.office365.com/en-us/wikis/exchange/4077.aspx

Once in Exchange Admin Center, select Message Trace in the Mail flow tab. 

In the Message Trace tool, enter the search parameters – in this case, enter the sender and recipient addresses.

Message Trace tool supports wildcard searches and many other features.  For more information about Message Trace see TechNet for more assistance.

After retrieving results and clicking Details, you’ll see more information like this in the Message Trace Summary:

You may wish to capture a screenshot of this information in case you need to provide more details to the receiving side or to Office 365 Support.

If the message was handed off, it may be necessary to run troubleshooting and tracking tools on the receiving end to determine the reason for failure.

 

4. Reach out to the receiving side if necessary

Assuming that you still have not solved the issue with the data you've collected, this is about as far as you can go right now from the sending side.  If you just sent your message, you will need to give it some time to arrive or timeout.  If you get a notification you should skip to the troubleshooting notifications section.  If, however, you do not receive a notification, then you should contact the receiving side to have them perform message tracking.  You will need to provide them with To and From information, as well as an approximate Date and time.  In most cases, the remote side should be able to provide you with information to help you make sure your message got past their anti-spam defenses, when it was received, and if it was delivered.

 

Common problems

Here we'll add links to helpful Knowledge Base articles or other documentation that pertains to this scenario.

  • If you are having trouble sending mail to certain domains, you may want to verify that you have the recommended DNS record types for sending mail.  Specifically, you want an A record for the domain (example: @.contoso.com - this record should generally point to the same address as your www record), an MX record, and SPF record that designates Outlook.com as a sender.  For more information see Domains in Office 365.

 

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Comments
  • My emails are sitting in my outbox until I shut down Outlook and open it again then they will send????

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