Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Without installing keystroke logging or other spyware on your computer, there's no way to tell if anyone is reading your emails before you do.

How do I know if someone is opening my email before I read it, then marking it as unread?

You don't. Essentially you would have to install some kind of keystroke logging or other spyware on your machine in order to see if someone is using it when you're not around.

Article C2063 - June 14, 2004 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

November 2, 2004 2:57 AM

thanks for your servece and i will remember my life this

February 2, 2005 3:26 PM

I have microsoft outlook email at my school. I think someone is reading my email. Can the server or administrators see which computer is accessing my account or if someone is doing it online by the exchange? Thanks.

February 2, 2005 5:43 PM

Maybe. It depends on exactly how they're configured, and if they're willing to take the time.

Robert Winkler
February 7, 2005 3:28 PM

I have a client(CFO, CEO) who is having issues with information being passed to outside people.

They need to determine if the admin person is passing out the information. We know how to stop it but must determine and confirm whow the problem is.

Is there software that can not be detected on the desktop that can determine id e-mail has been opened and passed on?


February 7, 2005 4:24 PM

There are things such as keyloggers that may help. But realize that any software installed can be detected ... it's just a matter of how difficult it is to detect. Anyway, this site has pointers to packages - mostly aimed at parents, but the concept is the same:

February 14, 2005 8:13 PM

I think someone is in my email at my school account. Is there any way I can get them to monitor it and tell me exactally who it could be?

February 14, 2005 8:54 PM

Depends on your school. All I can say is "maybe". You'll have to ask them.

February 18, 2005 8:06 AM

I think someone is using spyware to look into my email. I tried one of those free spy ware scanners and it said that it found 4. It said that I had 2 Alexa adware and 2 CWS. Does that free scanning stuff really work? And if so how do I get rid of it and what exactly is the difference between the two.

February 18, 2005 10:00 AM

Yes, the free stuff does work :-). The Alexa things probably no biggie, but CWS, also known as Cool Web Search, is a big annoying page hijacker in Internet Explorer. The good news is that neither have nything to do with email.

This article has more:

April 22, 2005 5:25 AM

i have an msn email account as well as a juno account. if someone is trying to guess my password and get into my email without me knowing is there any way msn will know and notify me? I have purposely entered the incorrect password several times to see what happens and it just tells me i have made too many attempts with the wrong password and that my email is temporarily unavailable. is there any way of finding out if someone is trying to get into it and then finding out who it is?

April 22, 2005 9:13 AM

In general, no. If you have a serious problem, contacting your ISP may help, but they generally will not do it even then.

May 19, 2005 3:19 AM

is there any way i can find out how many times a day i (in my case i or anyone else) get into my Yahoo! mail account?? I'm pretty sure someone is but lack proof (and it's not from my computer).

May 19, 2005 7:17 PM

Not that I'm aware of, no.

May 24, 2005 4:13 PM

Hi- I think someone has access to my earthlink email account and has been checking my email. Is there anyway possible to trace their IP address or find out who is checking my email? This is a huge security issue so if I notified police is there anything they would be able to do?

May 27, 2005 7:02 PM

You would need to contact earthlink customer support.

June 14, 2005 6:32 PM

I sent an e-mail to someone and realized I didn't want to send it. I guessed her password and logged into her yahoo account to delete it before she could read it. She read it, but I deleted it anyways so she couldn't forward it. Is their anyway if she suspects someone was in her e-mail that she could trace it back to me? I feel ****** for doing that. Thanks!

August 19, 2005 11:32 AM

Someone is accessing me email. Is there any way I can track the location and ISP of the person who is doing this?

August 19, 2005 11:49 AM

The practical answer is no. You would have to convince the folks at Hotmail to help you, which is highly unlikely unless you involve law enforcement.

September 11, 2005 4:48 PM

I am under the suspicion that someone is logging onto my im account what software if any can i use to find out if it is so and who it is?

September 11, 2005 9:36 PM

I know of no software to do that. Change your password.

September 26, 2005 3:01 PM

My b/f and I share a computer together. Is there any way he can look on the computer thru the ip address to see what sights I have been on? And also,is there any way he can read my e-mail thru my ip address?

September 30, 2005 10:17 PM

If you share a computer, then yes, it's probably quite likely that things can be seen.

November 15, 2005 7:54 PM

I like what you people have done for me

November 22, 2005 4:34 PM

Today when I signed in with my username and password, hotmail rejected my password many times. I remembered my friend has my password. Is it possible that she was checking my email account while I was trying to log on at the same time? after i tried logging on many times then I finally was able to log on. Do you think she changed my password and changed it back? what would have happened if we were both checking at the same time? I have now changed my password.
thank you.

Lamara Fiame
December 3, 2005 10:22 PM

Someone has access to my email account in yahoo and it's caused me and my husband to split up. His family was also involved how can I find out where and who this person is?

January 3, 2006 10:58 AM

I've had the same problem, except that I have not shared my password with anyone else. Is it possible for someone to gain access without a password?

January 9, 2006 4:01 PM

hi i have a question i feel like my girlfriend put a parental control on my email.I saw her checking her email and I saw a letter that I wrote to someone else in her inbox I asked my other friend if she got the letter and she said yes & there is no way that I sent the letter to the both of them I am positive I did not send the letter to my it possible that she has some type of parental control on it and how did she get that letter? thanks alex

February 2, 2006 10:09 PM

Any sort of computer expert (i.e. IT, MIS, Computer Science people) are knowledgeable about this stuff. They know how to tinker with computers. Never ever share a computer with a computer junkie. I don't how it works, but I know there's a way to record every key that gets typed on a computer. If you share a computer with another person, that person can easily set the computer to record all keys which are being punched into the keypad. The person can then discover your email password.

February 2, 2006 10:13 PM

I just remembered.... they're called 'keyloggers.' Anyone can download keylogger software onto their computer, then record all typing and program information

February 21, 2006 7:00 PM

I am the office manager and we have Outlook at my work. I have a strong suspicion that one of the admins we laid off a couple of weeks ago is checking some of our office emails from her home computer. Could our IT person find out for sure if and when this is happening, maybe through tracking the IP address? How much effort would this take, and if so, could we bring legal action against this person?

October 2, 2006 3:48 PM

I am the secretary and we have Outlook at my work. I have a strong suspicion that one of the admins we laid off a couple of weeks ago is checking some of our office emails from her home computer. Could our IT person find out for sure if and when this is happening, maybe through tracking the IP address? How much effort would this take, and if so, could we bring legal action against this person?

Leo Notenboom
October 4, 2006 3:36 PM

It really depends on how the network is set up, but yes, in most cases a competant IT peson could set up some kind of monitoring to see what's happening.

I can't speak to the "legal action" question - I'm not a lawyer.

December 13, 2006 2:33 PM

how da ?a know if some one opening my email

Leo A. Notenboom
December 13, 2006 2:36 PM

Read the very short article at the top of the page. The one that starts with "You don't".

December 16, 2006 12:22 AM

How do i know if there is a key logger on my pc?

lady tan
June 5, 2007 8:34 AM

Someone hacked into my email inbox in other words accesed my email account.I would think on June 4th 2007 at night. Deleted everything in my inbox and several folders. Some that I did not open and read as yet. I want to know if you can tell when and where and if i am able to get my emails backed to my inbox. Also to put a stop to this person they have invaded my privacy.
Can I recover my emails that they deleted

June 17, 2007 3:46 PM

Hey Leo.........i wanna ask U regarding this there a way to find out...if sumone opened ur email id from someother be specific...can we get to know wen was the last time the email was opened....??can we find out from Yahoo...i mean is there a way to check yahoo logs...or is there anything or website which shows u the last time wen the emaial was opened....????waiting for Ur Reply......???

atiba mclean
July 13, 2007 5:58 PM

If someone has my password and username and is checking my email from another computer, is there any technology available on the market to identify who this person is? I have a hotmail account

Leo A. Notenboom
July 15, 2007 3:42 PM

Hash: SHA1

Not that I know of, no.


Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


August 5, 2007 8:00 PM

How do I recoup professionally after someone was monitoring my emails and read what I thought were deleted emails to another colleague that were written in frustration about her? Especially since she had written several disparaging emails about our boss in frustration, however; I had deleted them and would have not ever used them in a retaliatory manner.

August 22, 2007 7:28 AM

Can you tell, if you sent a message from myspace, marked 'sent'- if it hasn't been opened or if it's been deleted?

January 2, 2008 10:11 AM

Good evening happy new year of 2008 with blessings to all of the world.

Can I ask how can I know if my mail account is used by a third party because i guess that someone else is using it. I'm changing my password every so often, I don't tell anybody but i am sure that it has been found by somebody that i am not sure who's this one can be. What else do u suggest me that Can I do ? thanks

Wedding Ring
February 2, 2008 12:26 PM

It's is exactly what I was looking for last two weeks. One can get lots of useful info from this article, in other words, it's never late to learn. Thanks to the author

Steve R
June 4, 2008 2:17 AM

Can one set up a password so that if your outlook is open they can't open your if the item was clicked,a
password requirement block would pop up

June 4, 2008 10:27 AM

Hash: SHA1

Other than using a password protected screensaver, no, not
that I'm aware of.


Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


Ca you tell me if it is possible for someone to hack into my email mail account?
June 5, 2008 1:12 AM

I dont want to know how they did it, is it possible? I know it can be blocked by someone but can they get into my email & read it?
Thanks Salome

June 18, 2008 11:16 AM

Guys this is too simple.. Just send a mail to ur own inbox and check it outlater..

November 25, 2008 7:04 AM

when i sign into my gmail account,,there is a notice saying that i already sign out of my mail..does this mean someone was just in my mail box?

February 6, 2009 5:31 AM

Doesn't AOL tell you when someone has opened your mail and the time?
If not, we should all write to the software co. and tell them they need to be able to do this!!

February 6, 2009 5:43 AM

How much do these types of spyware run and I would LOVE to put it on my son's computer because I KNOW his wife is reading my emails to him. (She turns into a controling ....)Where can I buy these?

July 22, 2009 5:12 AM

my emails appear to have been opened when i get to them from the do i find out what ip address the email was opened at? can this be done?

September 3, 2009 2:50 PM

folks, if you are using outlook for your email, you can assign "delegates" and give "permission" to open your outlook email. I view my boss' email daily. go to your outlook help and type in delegates. Someone probably is viewing and using your email account.

That is not true for most people using Outlook in homes and small businesses. That's a feature of Exchange Server, typically used in larger companies.

November 23, 2011 10:13 AM

I have delegated access to my bosses inbox. Can she tell when I have read them if I mark them unread?

Mark J
November 23, 2011 1:46 PM

It depends if your boss has any activity monitoring or keylogger software installed.

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