Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today's stumbled upon bit of tech goodness – Outlook 2007 and the hidden message headers

I have an on again off again relationship with MS Outlook. I used it for a while (roughly 2002-2004) only to ditch it after it suffered one too many unrecoverable data file corruption problems (admittedly at least partially due to my attempt to use Outlook+Offline Folders to have a single data file accessed from either my desktop or laptop, kept in sync). I switched to Eudora for a while, until they had a major version upgrade that totally broke the ability to use Eudora with Offline Folders. So I decided to try Outlook (2007) again when I started my position here at UIUC a few years ago. One minor annoyance I ran across was that I just couldn't find an easy way to get to the full email message headers (with all the relay stops a message takes to get to my machine, etc). Well, I stumbled across it today (I hadn't been frustrated enough to actually go hunting for the headers). Here's what I found (just in time for it to be changed in Office 14... woot…)

One way to get to email message headers in Outlook 2007 it is to right-click the message (not in the preview pane, in the list of emails) and select Message Options. Yes, message options: not details, more info, or something sensible, but "Message Options." There, you'll find the "Internet Headers" section, which contains all that occasionally useful information (for checking to see if something is SPAM, for instance). Here's a sample of what you'll find there (basically the path to your machine, from the sender, plus any extra header info any servers/services add along the way):

Return-Path: <m…>

Received: from ( [])

by (MOS 3.10.3-GA)

with ESMTP id BXU48109;

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:48:00 -0500 (CDT)

Received: from pps.reinject ( [])

by (8.14.2/8.14.2) with ESMTP id n9TDm09e017714;

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:48:00 -0500 (CDT)

Received: from (localhost [])

by pps.reinject (8.14.1/8.14.1) with SMTP id n9TDgVqO005351;

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:47:59 -0500

Received: from ( [])

by with ESMTP id n9TDlwtY021763;

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:47:59 -0500

Received: from [] ( [])

by (8.14.2/8.14.2) with ESMTP id n9TDluiW021375;

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:47:56 -0500 (CDT)

Message-ID: <>

Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:47:56 -0500

From: K…y <m…>

Reply-To: m…

User-Agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20090812)

MIME-Version: 1.0

To: E…s <e…>,…


CC: R…r <r…>

Subject: ULSAC

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

X-Spam-Score: 0

X-Spam-Details: rule=cautious_notspam policy=cautious score=0 spamscore=0 ipscore=0 phishscore=0 bulkscore=0 adultscore=0 classifier=spam adjust=0 reason=mlx engine=5.0.0-0908210000 definitions=main-0910290096

X-Spam-OrigSender: m…