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Possible Causes and Fixes for Delay in Receiving Outlook Email

written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 4/29/2011

There are some delays in receiving Outlook email when the server is configured to send or receive emails on schedule. Find out what to do if you experienced delays in retrieving emails.

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    Delay in Sending and Receiving Emails

    It is a common issue with some email and Internet service providers to delay delivering email messages. The problem with the delays in receiving emails is not an Outlook program issue but rather the server that delivers and retrieves the messages. In some cases, the antivirus program, incoming server setting or spam filter in a computer or server is the cause of the delay, but it is not an Outlook issue.

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    Incoming Server Settings

    If you are experiencing delays receiving emails using Microsoft Outlook, you should first check the incoming server settings. Ensure that the box before "This server requires an encrypted connection (SSL)" is not checked if the email provider or your Internet Service Provider (ISP) does not actually require you to use a secure connection when retrieving email messages.

    Common Setting for Incoming Server Setting 

    The above setting is not what Gmail, Yahoo or Windows Live Hotmail requires if you chose to access your emails using secure protocol. When the email provider uses port 995 or port 993 to receive emails, it means the "This server requires an encrypted connection (SSL)" is needed to be selected.

    Incoming server setting for secure email using Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo 

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    Antivirus and Secure Certificate Issue

    In some events, the delay in receiving Outlook messages is caused by an antivirus program. If your antivirus program is configured to scan incoming emails for spam, viruses or malware, try to temporary disable the feature to see if it is the culprit. If there is no more delay in receiving email messages, look for product and component updates for antivirus program, which usually provide fixes on known issues.

    Another causes of delay to receiving email is when the server uses SSL connection but the certificate has expired or become invalid. Most providers of email that uses SSL will help encrypt your message so no others can view it except the recipient, but if their email certificate has expired or invalid, it can cause delay and error in sending and receiving emails using Outlook or other email programs. Outlook will usually display an error code or error message if the problem is caused by the SSL connection. If you find such error code, report the issue to your email provider.

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    Sync Schedule

    Defer Delivery of Email Using Outlook 

    Some email providers have configured their server to delay in sending or receiving emails by default. This is true with Google Apps and some Microsoft Exchange servers that schedules email sync. If your company is using Google Apps for Microsoft Outlook, you should note that the email synchronization occurs every minute, which means there is a one-minute delay before you can retrieve new messages for your account.

    Administrators of Microsoft Exchange have the option to delay sending messages by anyone in the work-group so if you are expecting an email from a contact or partner that uses Microsoft Exchange, expect a bit of delay but if the delay is more than the normal schedule, alert your IT administrator.

    Some users of Outlook wants to delay or defer sending of emails for some reasons and this is done by creating an email rules using Outlook to defer deliver by number of minutes. Inform your contact if there is such email rule in his Outlook program, if his or her email has not arrived on time.

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    • Screenshots taken by the author using Microsoft Outlook 2010.
    • Information based on author's experience and research.