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

The first thing that comes to mind is that one of the devices you're accessing your email account with is set to downloaded the mail, thereby removing it from the server.

I have Windows 7, Outlook 2007, a Cox Cable email address, an iPad, and an Android phone. I have what appears to be an issue with Outlook downloading emails from the Cox server. My issue is that I have missing emails in Outlook, some random and others from certain senders. I get these missing emails on my Android phone and iPad and initially, I can log on to the Cox server to view those, which have not downloaded to Outlook. I've called Cox tech support but no resolve. I do know that the setting for all devices is so emails are not to be removed from the server.

In this excerpt from Answercast #65, I look at various ways that email would seem to disappear when being downloaded into Outlook.

Missing emails

Your last statement is exactly the very first thing that came to mind. Potentially, one of the devices you're accessing your email account with is set to actually downloaded the mail from the server, thereby removing it from the server. So, when Outlook comes along and tries to download email, it's just not there.

Obviously, however, if the email is in fact there (especially if you're able to find it using Cox's own web interface), that's clearly not the problem and we can rule all of that out.

The only other thing that really comes to mind is well two things... actually three things the more I think about it.

Real-time scanning

One: anti-malware software on your computer. If you have anti-malware software on your computer that is actively scanning email as it is downloaded... Well... stop that.

Have that instead not use real-time scanning. Just turn that off and let it do the periodic scanning that it would do at other times. I have definitely seen (multiple times) where anti-malware software can interfere with the proper downloading of email, the proper retrieval of email.

So it's one of the very first things that I would turn off.

Outlook's junk mail

In Outlook, I would have you look at your junk mail and your junk mail filters and folders. See if perhaps the mail is being downloaded but, in fact, being automatically scanned by Outlook itself and thrown into the junk folder.

If it is, there are two approaches you can take.

  • One of course would be to turn off that junk filtering completely.

  • The other is in the junk folder make sure to mark the proper messages as "Not junk." That actually helps Outlook to learn what is and is not junk for you.

Message rules

And then finally, one random thought that comes to mind is if you have any message rules: rules that you've created yourself to automatically filter or file messages as they come in.

Every once in awhile, one of those is misconfigured and can cause certain emails to get acted on that you didn't expect to get acted on.

So those are the things that I would look at: anti-malware software, your junk mail settings, and rules you have in Outlook.

Article C5967 - October 29, 2012 « »

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?

James Heinrich
October 30, 2012 8:41 AM

One further possibility comes to mind: Outlook is downloading only "new, unread" messages from the server. But if the iPad or phone happen to contact the server and check for emails and see the email first they're likely flagging it as "read" and then Outlook skips over all the read messages when it next synchs with the server, and so the messages that made it to the phone/iPad don't show up in Outlook. I'd suspect the phone and tablet are smart enough to synch on message ID rather than simple read flags and so I wouldn't be surprised if all the emails make it to those devices, and only Outlook is missing some emails.
One possible test for this theory would be to log in to the web interface and mark one of the "missing" emails as unread and then immediately get Outlook to check for new messages and see if Outlook grabs it.

October 30, 2012 11:53 AM

Exactly the same thing happened to me. I was using two pop3 clients and even though I set both to leave all email on the server the one would only download what the other didn't. Like you my iPhone still accessed everything. My solution? I turned the one pop3 connection into imap. Now all is fine.


Brent Bolinder
November 2, 2012 12:47 PM

Outlook sometimes doesn't show all your emails because of a "view" setting. My parents had a similiar issue. All their emails were there, but Outlook wasn't showing everything, so I did some online investigating, found a solution to the problem and fixed it. I just don't remember what it was that I had to change

Russell Smith
November 19, 2012 2:47 AM

According to my opinion, It is better to take an effective solution for missing mails. You should use such types of tool that can easily get back your precious mails. For this purpose a PST recovery tool of Stellar can be a good option for deleted or missing mail recovery.


March 28, 2013 10:35 PM

We have two computers where mails from our clients come. But for some reason, one of the computer fails to receive emails whereas the other computers receives properly. Why does this happen? Please advise.


If you're downloading from the same email account, it's likely that the first computer to download the email is the one to get it, that's how POP3 downloads work - they remove the mail from the server on download. You could switch one or both of the email clients to use the IMAP protocol instead, or configure one (the "first") or both to "leave messages on server", an advanced configuration option.`

March 31, 2013 10:35 AM

I have configured my outlook account with the email app on my android. I am able to receive all the emails except the ones I have created message rules, have the message moved into a folder (it's a subfolder under inbox) if it's from a specific sender. I can still receive those email from computers and when I have my iphone, just not on my android phone. Do you know how to fix this problem?

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