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Re: Outlook Express error when sending email

__/ [Martin Underwood] on Wednesday 07 September 2005 08:16 \__

> "Roy Schestowitz" <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
> news:dflqca$1tn4$1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> __/ [Martin Underwood] on Tuesday 06 September 2005 14:15 \__
>>> I was setting up OE6 on a customer's PC today and usually (but not 100%
>>> reproducably) got error "0x800CCC0B" when OE tried to send using SMTP.
>> Are you using the SMTP server belonging to the ISP which provides the
>> connection? This is where many people get it wrong.
> Yes I am.

It appeared so judging by the remainder of your message

>>> The
>>> PC has McAfee Security Centre installed, but the problem still existed
>>> with McAfee Antivirus and Firewall disabled. Receiving email over POP3
>>> worked fine.
>> POP3 is completely unrelated, so don't use it for any inferences.
>>> Looking on MS's Knowledge Base, the error means "0x800CCC0B BUSY  Server
>>> or maildrop is busy."
>> I believe that Microsoft ought to have output the description to the
>> screen
>> rather than give hexadecimal numbers and refer to the user to a
>> knowledgebase.
> Yes, it would be very useful if MS did this. What was particularly
> frustrating as the PC was originally configured was that McAfee simply
> reported "Protocol error" without any further narrowing-down of the
> problem; it was only when I disabled McAfee's AV and firewall that Outlook
> Express gave the error code - I presume with McAfee in the frame, OE was
> happily passing on the email to McAfee with no error, and McAfee was then
> encountering the problem.

The error messages still pose an enormous problem. I often have people read
hexadecimal to me over the phone. Sometimes I look at tables which
interpret the numbers and often one just can't be bothered. Dial-up-related
errors likewise.

>>> The SMTP server was definitely correct - it was the same ISP and same
>>> server as I use myself, and I checked that my laptop could send/receive
>>> OK. I hadn't got "hangup after send/receive" ticked - the dial-up line
>>> was
>>> definitely staying up.
>>> With McAfee AV enabled, I get a McAfee error "Protocol Error" and no
>>> error
>>> message from OE; with McAfee disabled I see the real error message as
>>> above.
>> It sounds as if the problem is not related to the AV. It is only an
>> illusion
>> because the AV sits on top of the network layer.
> OK. It's useful to hear that opinion - at present I'm a bit unsure what
> component is causing the problem and therefore what to remove to see if it
> changes/cures the symptoms. I was all set to try uninstalling McAfee, but
> maybe I'll try elsewhere.

It is very unlikely to have been caused by the AV. I also suggest that you
consider platforms where viruses, patches and all of that unnecessary
malarkey does not exist. There are other issues associated with AV's:
firewalls misbehaving, system slow-down, installation, maintenance,
updates, and cost. Your new Dell can certainly be made a dual-boot machine.
I have one Dell at work and one at the University, both running Linux very
gracefully. This strays off-topic, however, so feel free to discard my

>>> As far as I could tell, if I cleared OE's outbox and closed/restarted
>>> OE, it would allow me to send one email but failed for subsequent ones,
>>> either
>>> with two or more emails in the Outbox when I did Send/Receive or if I
>>> did a S/R with one message (which sent OK) and then prepared another
>>> message and did S/R.
>>> It's as if OE is getting into a state where it refuses to send, and
>>> needs its Outbox clearing and OE restarting before it will send another
>>> message.
>> A few weeks ago I came across similar symptoms. A professor could only
>> send
>> one message at a time. It must have been an odd bug.
> This symptom usually means that OE has been set to drop the line after the
> last message has been sent, which works fine if there's no AV installed
> (though it's a right pain if you intend to browse the web afterwards!),
> but it is a Bad Idea if you've got an AV program installed because the
> line can get dropped while the AV program still has messages in its queue,
> once OE has handed all its messages over to the AV. Been there! But it
> wasn't the case for this customer: the line was definitely dropping.

(CORRECTED: Bugger! I meant to type "the line was definitely not dropping".)

The situation I referred to was rather different. There was a DSL connection
involved and VPN on top of it. The behaviour was quite odd and messages
could not be sent or simply sent in a sporadic manner.

>>> I tried pinging relay.force9.net (the SMTP server address) and
>>> telnetting to its port 25 (SMTP) and that worked reliably. Unfotunately
>>> I didn't have
>>> my SMTP syntax cribsheet so I couldn't try ending from the telnet
>>> session.
>>> Any ideas what the problem is and how to fix it?
>> Have you tried re-installing the mail client? You can isolate the data
>> and make a clean installation. Otherwise, consider testing under another
>> mail client. I recommend Mozilla Thunderbird, which is able to import
>> both mail and settings from Outlook Express without any loss.
> Given that it's Outlook Express, a built-in part of the operating system,
> I'm not sure how easy it is to uninstall/reinstall it?

You do not need to uninstall it. It can exist alongside another E-mail
client. If you want to switch between the two on occasion, you just need to
ensure that you do not purge messages off the server and whenever sending
messages you BCC yourself. This keeps the two clients in sync. if you wish
to use both alternately or make a gradual migration.

> I might try and get hold of a copy of Mozilla Thunderbird and try
> installing that to see if it's affected in the same way. Given that it's a
> brand new PC from Dell, I might see if their tech support department can
> shed any light on the problem in terms of anything odd that they may have
> customised when they installed the OS.

You can get Thunderbird from:


Installation is simple. Upon first start-up you will be prompted and have
the option to /copy/ both messages /and/ mail settings from Outlook
Express. Follow the simple wizard and see if the mail settings, which now
reside in Thunderbird (as well as OE), indeed do the trick.

Thunderbird is more powerful than OE and arguably more powerful than
Outlook, which is a part of the MS Office Suite ($$$).

> I'll also contact Microsoft and see whether they know what might be
> causing the problem (even if the root cause turns out to be something
> other than Outlook Express). Sadly there's no specific information in
> their Knowledge Base: the error number I'm getting is lumped together with
> others and the generic advice is vague "check that you're using the right
> mail server etc".

There are many factors to consider. Knowledge bases that make no judgement,
form no hypotheses nor have a neural structure can rarely be helpful in
complicated cases.

> It's the intermittent nature of the problem that's got me baffled: if it
> failed 100% of the time, I could understand it better as being caused by a
> misconfiguration.

I understand. That's typically when I argue that a bug is to blame. The bug
is unlikely to be at the mail server's side.


Roy S. Schestowitz      | The most satisfying eXPerience is UNIX
http://Schestowitz.com  |    SuSE Linux    |     PGP-Key: 74572E8E
  6:05pm  up 14 days  0:33,  8 users,  load average: 0.36, 0.67, 0.71

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