Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why is Outlook sending email using the wrong account, and how do I fix it?

SkyHi @ Thursday, April 21, 2011
Why is Outlook sending email using the wrong account, and how do I fix it? This is a great question, because this is an especially vexing and annoying problem that Outlook has. So here’s the situation. You’ve set up Outlook and, because it’s oh ever so helpful and convenient, you’ve configured several different email accounts to run through it. You can basically set up however many you want. Then Outlook will send email through a specific account that you tell it to. So let’s say that you have one main email account that you want to use, or maybe even you have a main email account and then you have another account that you use when you post on blogs and message boards and things like that. You don’t want to use your main personal account when you post on blogs and message boards because sometimes those email addresses can be picked up by spammer and who knows who else. You don’t want any of that spam or junk mail coming to your regular account. So, you think that you have everything all worked out, Outlook is managing and handling all of your different email accounts just the way that you want it to because, hey, you’re not getting any message that it’s having trouble and problems doing what you tell it to. And then you notice that it’s not working. Your main personal email account is the one showing up when you post on blogs and message boards. Or let’s say that you are sending emails to people and horrifically enough, your terrifying ex-girlfriend’s name and email account are the ones showing up as the sender because she used to live with you and you two shared a computer. No wonder nobody’s writing you back! They all think that your ex is hunting them down!

The really aggravating thing about this situation, other than the obvious fact that Outlook is screwing up your email account settings and turning everything into a disaster, is that Outlook doesn’t tell you when it’s going on. Outlook 2003 and earlier just goes on its merry little way, deciding which email account it’s going to be using to send your emails. You’re left entirely in the dark. Now you as the user might assume that since you’re the user you would be able to 1. make the decision regarding which email account is being used and 2. decide what to do if for some reason Outlook can’t use that account. Well, you, dear user, are assuming a bit too much.

So what’s going on when Outlook sends email using the wrong account? Here’s basically what’s happening when Outlook sends email using the wrong account. Now, let’s say that you have a bunch of different email addresses that you’re running through Outlook 2003 or earlier. Here are some things that you should know.

1. When you write a new email, then Outlook is going to use whichever email account you have designated as your default email account.

2. When you receive an email, and you reply to the email or forward it on to someone, Outlook will use whichever email account received the original message. So if you have a Hotmail account that’s being run through Outlook, and you receive an email sent to your Hotmail address, if you just hit reply, Outlook will send the reply mail through Hotmail instead of your Gmail address, which is the default email account.

3. No matter what the situation, you can decide explicitly which account to use. What you do is you click on the Accounts button that’s next to the send button. Then you can change which account you want to use, if it’s not the default or the receiving account.

Now the problem is that a lot of the time, even if you specify a specific account using the Accounts button, Outlook won’t use the account that you tell it to. This is because Outlook is having a difficult time sending an email on the account that you tell it to. The frustrating thing is that Outlook won’t tell you that it’s having a hard time; it just chooses a different email account.

One way that you can fix this problem is to go to the account that’s having problems. Send a test email and make sure that the sending authorization configuration is properly set. It should be set to “Use the same settings as my incoming mail server” instead of something along the lines of “Log in to mail server before sending mail”. It’s not really a particularly evident solution, but it should work.