Duplicate Email Downloads in Outlook and other Email Clients

There are times when you’ll think the world is coming to an end as your inbox seems to just keep downloading the same message over and over and over and over….. You get the idea. Here’s a quick way to check if it is a server issue or an issue with your email client.

The first thing you need to do is login to your email via the web. If you only see single copies of the emails in question, then the problem is on your end. Outlook and other email clients keep track of what they’ve already downloaded and what’s new. Occasionally through an update or some other change, these records can get corrupted. When this happens, you’ll keep getting the same message over and over until you empty out your inbox and force your email program to reset it’s “already downloaded” list.

This process is very simple and only takes a minute. Here are the steps:

Exit your email program and make sure that it’s fully closed down before proceeding
login to your email account via the web
create a new folder to move the read emails into.
In smartermail you just need to right click on “my today page” and click new folder.
name your folder something like “inbox-cleanout” and make sure that you are adding it to the “root folder”
now we are going to clean out the inbox
now click on your inbox to see your messages.
click the top most box to select all the messages in your box
you can click the boxes on any unread messages (they will be bold) if you like which will leave them in the inbox when we move the read messages
choose actions -> move and then select the new folder that you created. This will move all the read email from your inbox to the new folder
you can now restart your email program and you should be back in business. If it happens again, simply repeat the process.

Here are some other common reasons that email clients may “lose their mind:”

1) The most common cause of this problem is that there are too many items in the “Sent” folder. It sounds odd, but Microsoft Outlook can only handle a limited number of items in the Sent folder. If the program reaches its limit it cannot move files from the Outbox to Sent. When that happens it will continually resend any email that remains in the Outbox folder. The fix is simple: every once in a while you need to go in and clean out those old sent emails. If you need to have a record of the emails you sent you can set the sent folder to save locally on your computer under account settings.

2) If somehow there are multiple copies of Outlook running. Do you see more than one copy of Outlook in your task manager? If so, try closing all of them and then only opening one. Or, just restart your machine. If you are consistently having the multiple send problem though, this is unlikely to be the cause.

3) If the send/receive interval is very short, like one minute, and you are sending a very large file that takes over that interval to send then Outlook may start sending the email a second time. In this case the fix is to increase the send / receive interval. Note that this is usually only encountered when sending extremely large attachments like photos.

4) Rarely, but it can happen, the installed anti-virus software will scan outgoing messages and corrupt the queue thereby causing multiple copies to be sent. The solution here is to tell the anti-virus software not to scan outgoing messages. This can happen to all email programs, such as Outlook Express, so watch for it.

Hope this has been helpful.


DRD Staff