Recently, one of my Terry’s Computer Tips subscribers wrote to ask:
I am running windows XP home and using Outlook Express as my mailbox.
My problem is that on occasion (not every time) but enough of the time to be real annoying, I send out duplicate emails. Even when I send photos from a file on my PC, where I have saved the photos..I have contacted my ISP with no luck at all..Do you have any fixes/solutions to this problem..?
I enjoy and look forward to your “tips”..
Sometimes, the problem is in the recipient’s email system, and sometimes it is in the transition from mailserver to mailserver (although that would be rare). Usually duplicate emails are a configuration problem on the recipient’s end. However, it sounds like you have tracked the problem to your computer.
First, make sure you only click on the Send button once. Some email programs will send twice if double-clicked on the Send icon. If you only click once, they will handle the email properly, but a double-click confuses them.
Also, you might try blind-copying yourself routinely, even though you get your own copy automatically in your Sent box. Set up a folder Rule that says: if the sender was me and the bcc is me, then put it in folder X (where “me” is your email address and X is a folder you set up for these copies).
Then, if you actually send duplicates, you’ll get 2 copies.
The other advantage of this approach is that, if you somehow bobble sending an email — maybe you clicked send and disconnected your modem — and think your email didn’t actually get sent — you can be sure if you sent yourself a BCC copy. Otherwise, when if you send it again, you actually might be sending a duplicate. As the saying goes: “Been there. Done that.”
Another time to be careful is when your email program crashes. I managed to do that one day, four or five years ago – not only double-clicked as above, but that much-earlier version of Eudora crashed. So I sent the email again. You can guess what happened… 3 copies! Again, if I had blind-copied myself, I would have known the email was sent before the crash.
Another way you can actually, accidentally send duplicate emails is if you have a bad phone connection.
In most computer communications over the phone line, the sending computer sends packets of information, each labeled with its order in the overall communication. The receiving computer is able to reconstruct the message based on the packet order information, even if packet 200 arrived before packet 150, for example. If it decides that it is missing a packet, it requests the sending computer to resend that packet — not the whole message again.
When you have a noisy phone line, though, you can have a lot of apparent sending failures and the resulting retransmissions. Sometimes this is manifests itself as a large number of duplicate emails.
If you think you may have this problem, change which phone number you use to call your ISP. If you only have one phone number for your ISP, try a trial signup with another ISP, such as NetZero, who offers a free dialup account and premium accounts.
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