Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Mailbox unavailable is a common message in returned email or "bounces" that actually says very little other than that the email could not be delivered.
What does "smtp; 550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable mean?" I can no longer send emails to my friend at *****@live.com ... the mail comes back with this message.
Well, on one hand it means exactly what it says: your friend's mailbox isn't available, and your message could not be delivered.
In fact, that's exactly, and the only thing it's saying.
But we can make some guesses as to what it might mean.
"Mailbox unavailable" is a frustratingly vague message. Quite literally it's telling you that the mail could not be delivered, without giving you any clue as to why. None. Unless there's additional text in the error message saying more, there's simply no way to know exactly why it failed.
It gets worse. Different mail systems use different error texts to report the same errors. So whatever might cause a "mailbox unavailable" from one system, might well generate a completely different (and hopefully more useful) message from another.
So, all we can do is guess.
But, we can make some educated guesses.
First let me be clear: I'm NOT saying that any of these did happen. We don't know. These are simply possibilities, nothing more.
Of course, you should start by being absolutely positively certain that you have the email address exactly correct. Any error could have you sending to a non-existent account, which could easily result in this error.
If you are certain that your friend should still have his email account, then it's likely to be a temporary problem at his end. More often than not, it's something as simple as an account that has reached its quota and simply doesn't have room for any more mail. Your friend would have to download or delete email in his account to make room for new messages.
Some services use "Mailbox unavailable" as an error message to reject suspected spam. If your email somehow looks like spam, or your email address has somehow become associated with being a spammer, this could be the system rejecting your message.
It's possible that the server on which your friend receives email has been misconfigured, and is erroneously rejecting mail to him for a variety of reasons.
It's possible that your friends account was suspended or deleted for abuse. Sometimes this means that he was doing something he shouldn't have, but more often than not it means that his account was hacked or spoofed and taken over by someone who did. Once they got caught, the account might be closed or disabled.
Perhaps your friend closed his account without telling you. This happens, intentionally or by accident. You would need to find another way to contact your friend that doesn't involve this particular email account.
While those are all things to look at and rule out, what this all boils down to is that basically any reason for email not being delivered could, in fact, cause this message.
In your shoes - I would contact your friend via some other means.
Comments on this entry are closed.
If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.
If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.