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The bounce message isn't coming from Hotmail; the bounce message is coming from somewhere else entirely. That implies that there are some faulty settings involved.

I saw your answer to another Hotmail question and mine is similar. The person said that all Hotmail accounts she emailed were being returned. You discussed spam filters, flagged IPs, etc. I can log in to my account and send email, but no one can email me. It gets returned. I've checked all of the settings, spam, forwarding, set email address to forward to and nothing works and naturally I can't get any assistance from Hotmail. Forums just suggest everything I've already tried. It started on 8.22.12 and did not give a return message for a few weeks. It just disappeared.

Now, the message error is "The following recipients could not be reached {email address} on date and time. The email system was unable to deliver the message but did not report a specific reason. Check the address and try again."

In this excerpt from Answercast #67, I look at a case of bounced emails that are bouncing from an unrelated account.

Returned email address

So, it's interesting because you're discussing a Hotmail service - and yet what is being reported in that error message is not a Hotmail address.

And in fact, continuing the error message, it goes on to say, "a DNS hard error lookup, the domain of that email address cannot be found." In other words, not only is it a bad email address, it's a bad domain. It's not even a 'mail server' that's trying to be reached.

The error message actually has nothing to do with Hotmail!

So, if people are getting this when they send to you, then I would be concerned about two things:

  • One is they have an error in their address book that's sending to this bogus email address - and not to your email address. That's something that they would have to fix on their side so I would triple check to make sure that they are sending to exactly your correct email address.

  • Or, the other thing is that maybe, somewhere along the line, your account got hacked - and a forward was set up so that email that is coming in to your Hotmail account is somehow automatically being forwarded to a different email address, and it's that email address that is bouncing.

Forwarding and spam filters

Normally, a forward should still appear in your inbox or potentially in your deleted mail. It's one of those things where it's possible, I suppose, that some kind of automatic filtering is happening. That is causing all of this email to be automatically deleted, or like I said, moved - perhaps even to the spam folder.

I'd have look there too.

But the bounce message isn't coming from Hotmail; the bounce message is coming from somewhere else entirely and that implies to me that there's something else going on here:

  • Either your senders aren't sending to the correct email address;

  • Or your account has been misconfigured to automatically forward email to this address.

Now the good news is that forwarding options are pretty clear. If you take a look at the Options menu, there's a "More options" link and that will take you to a raft of options available in Microsoft Hotmail. If you dig in there, you'll be able to find that there is, indeed, an option to automatically forward your email to another email address. Make sure it's not.

Article C5997 - November 5, 2012 « »

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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.

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