Blog: e-mail

A customer reported a problem with one of their users not being able to get email on his iPhone. His  phone would setup his account successfully, but when he went to the mail app, it would say “The connection to the mail server failed.” The customer tried setting up another user’s mailbox on his phone and it work correctly. I setup both accounts on my iPhone and saw the same results. I checked his account in Exchange to make sure ActiveSync was enabled. After some research, I found that the user’s Active Directory account must inherit permissions from the parent folder for email to sync.

To change this setting, first open Active Directory.

Enable Advanced Features – (View > Advanced Features).

Find the user’s account in Active Directory and open the Properties.

Go the Security tab > Advanced > Check “Include inheritable permissions from this object’s parent”. [more]

Click Apply and close Active Directory.

Refresh the mail app on the phone and mail should start flowing.


This applies to any e-mail accounts setup to get e-mail using POP3. 

A customer that uses an e-mail account provided by their ISP for work was frequently having new e-mail rejected because the mailbox was full.  Looking at the storage space on the ISP’s website, they were limited to only 20 MB of e-mail storage.  They usually would have to delete e-mails on the ISPs website in order to receive new e-mails again.  The customer also had been setup to connect to the ISP’s server using POP3 in Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Outlook was configured to save e-mails to a local PST file on the hard drive.

In Microsoft Outlook, open the “Account Settings” for your e-mail account.  Click on “More Options” to view more settings and select the “Advanced” tab. [more]

With POP3, you can give Microsoft Outlook the option to “Leave a copy of messages on the server”.  If this is unchecked, new e-mails received at the ISP remain there until Microsoft Outlook downloads them.  After it downloads the e-mail, the e-mail is deleted on the ISP’s mail account.

An important thing to remember is that the local PST file needs to be backed up regularly because all e-mails will be lost if the PC crashes, PST file becomes corrupt, or you want to change PCs.


You can edit existing emails, although usually this would not be a good idea since you probably want to preserve the exact email you received.  You can add something to the subject line without even choosing to edit it.  Categories are fine for a preset list, but sometimes I like to make a comment and save it with the email to make it easier to find later.  Sometimes the subject is blank or created programmatically with little relevance (like voicemails).  So I add something to the subject, marking it with something identifiable so I can clearly see what was added.  It was pointed out in the meeting that changing the subject line will break the default behavior for the built in search for “messages in this conversation” since it has to match the subject exactly (well, except for RE:, etc.).  Keep this in mind if you use that feature.  I usually just use the regular search feature, which just finds anything that includes that string.


Recently, I was working with someone who receives a lot of email. Because of the sheer amount of email she receives, she must prioritize what messages she can read in order to continue working effectively. The request came in to see if it were possible to auto-categorize emails in Outlook based on the sender of the email so that one could simply glance through the inbox and see (by color) what emails had come in. After looking at it for a bit, we set up a Outlook Rule to color categorize an email as soon as it came in if the email was on a list of senders manually added to the rule. This worked fine until we reached the size limit of the Outlook Rule.

The fix is quite simple. Create a new local Address Book with all the recipients you’d like to color code. Then, set your Outlook Rule to scan the address book for a sender to color code the email. [more]


I set up an distribution group on our Exchange server for when we need to communicate with a new customer.  Email to the group from the inside worked fine, but any external mail sent to the address would bounce with a generic "Unknown recipient".  I asked a couple of our other network engineers to look at it, and one of them found the RequireSenderAuthenticationEnabled attribute was set to true, so he changed it with this command: [more]

"Set-DistributionGroup "groupname" -RequireSenderAuthenticationEnabled $false".


The other week I encountered a user who wanted a specific Public Folder to display in his "Favorite Folders" windows in the [MAIL] view in Outlook (the one directly above all of the "Mail Folders"). He said he added it previously but now it wasnt updating. I asked him how he created it, and he said "I went to the public folder in the [Folder List] view, copied it, then pasted it into the "Favorite Folders" list in the [Mail] view." So that explained why it wasnt updating (b/c it was a static copy of a public folder). 

To remedy this, I deleted his copied Public Folder, browsed to the public folder in the [Folder List] view, right clicked on the public folder and selected "Add to Favorites". I changed back to [Mail] view and looked at the "Favorite Folders" but it wasnt there. I switched back to [Folder List] view and navigated to [Public Folders >> Favorites] and there it was. I right clicked on the "Favorite" that I had just created and selected the "Add to Favorite Folders"  view, then it was added to the "Favorite Folders" window in the [MAIL] view.  [more]

So in short, "Favorites" and "Favorite Folders" DO NOT mean the same thing. To add a public folder to your "Favorite Folders" view in the [Mail] view in Outlook:

  1. Navigate to the [Folder List] view in Outlook.
  2. Navigate to any public folder, right click, then select "Add to Favorites".
  3. Still in the [Folder List] view, go to [-] Public Folders >> Favorites >> XYZFavorite. Right click on the "Favorite" that you just created, select "Add to Favorite Folders".
  4. Your public folder will now appear in the "Favorite Folders" pane in the [Mail] view of Outlook.



1. ISP customer setup automation sometimes creates issues. Email from domain A to domain B works, but from domain B to domain A doesn't. Be careful if both are customers of the same ISP. Sometimes automated processes create mail domains, DNS zones, and web space for all customers. Customers that use the same ISP can experience issues (depending on mail server software used) if one customer uses ISP mail (POP/IMAP & SMTP) and the other hosts their own mail server. If ISP mail servers have mail domains set up for customers who do not use the ISP provided mail (have their own mail server), when another ISP customer who does use the ISP provided mail service attempts to relay mail through the ISP's mail servers, delivery ends up being server local instead of the server looking up the correct MX record. This usually ends up being an SMTP 550 error (user not found) rejection sent to the sender.

2. Can't send mail to AOL, join the club! If a mail domain can not send mail to AOL, it could be a number of things. The first thing to do is start a telnet SMTP session like the following: [more]

telnet 25

The AOL server will return an error code and a web link to an article explaining why the mail was blocked. A very common error is 554 (RTR:sc) which means that your sending IP has been blocked due to too many AOL members clicking the "this is spam" link for emails that trace back to you mail server IP or domain. If you are curious about what mail is getting sent on your behalf that is being specified as spam by AOL users, you can create a feedback loop (see Once you have requested a feedback loop you will be notified when a member clicks "this is spam". The email sent to you from will contain the complete email and header information. To be removed from an AOL block list, you must call 703-265-4670 and jump through some hoops to be removed. It takes 24-hrs for the removal to take affect.