How To Stop Downloading Duplicate Emails

If your email software suddenly starts downloading duplicate copies of the same emails, there are four common causes to consider.

1. Your email software has more than one “Account” or “Profile” or “Personality” configured to download messages from the same email POP account.  As a result, your software downloads one copy for each Account/Profile/Personality.

  • Symptom: All email from all senders are downloaded two or more times; but only up to a certain number of copies, which remains the same… ie: two copies of every email or three copies of each.
  • Solution: Manually review each Account/Profile/Personality within your email software to make sure that the same POP account isn’t listed more than once.

2. The sender actually is mailing multiple copies, possibly due to a software problem on their system or server.

  • Symptom: You receive two or more copies of messages from some senders, but not others. The “Message ID” for each email (contained in the Internet Delivery Headers) is unique, even though the message itself is the same. Additionally, The “time stamp” on each message may be slightly different, but this is not always the case.
  • Solution: Contact either the sender or their ISP/Host and make them aware of the problem, providing as much information as possible, such as: Dates, Time, Subject Lines and the Message IDs.

3. Your email software may have corrupted files (most common with Outlook & Outlook Express) which prevents it from successfully downloading and deleting messages from the mail server.

  • Symptom: In this situation your software program loses track of the emails that it has already downloaded. The result is that every time you connect duplicate copies are retrieved of just certain emails, or of all emails older than some specific date, while newer emails are downloaded just once. In either case the original date and message ID contained in the email’s Internet Delivery Headers will be identical for each copy.
  • Solution: Log into the Web-mail interface (if one is available for your mail server) and manually move or delete any messages that are being downloaded repeatedly. If the condition re-occurs frequently you may need to uninstall and then re-install your email software application.
  • Solution: If the above does not work, then you’ll want to research other solutions. A few helpful links that will explain the issues (there are several) and how to correct them are located at:

Microsoft Article 284404
Microsoft Article 292249
Microsoft Article 317945
Eudora Article 1598HQ

4. Messages are matching more than one “Rule” or “Filter” within your software program.

  • Symptom: Specific emails are always duplicated (but most emails are not), and these messages usually have something in common, such as: coming from the same sender or list-server; containing similar “Subject” lines, or having identical “phrases” within the email body.
  • Solution: With some email programs this can result in your software making an additional copy of the message when the second rule/filter matches. Carefully review any such rules within your software and look for any instances where more than one might match the same message. When such an instance is found, remove or modify one of the rules.

5. Your email provider’s server is regenerating the “Message ID” or is moving your mail from one server to another server.

  • Symptom: Duplicates of all emails on the server are downloaded repetitively. This may occur every time your email software connects or might be based on a specific time interval, once per hour or once per 90 minutes or some other predictable interval. While the date/time stamp doesn’t change from copy to copy, the “Message ID” for each duplicate is different than the last.
  • Solution: While rare, if this condition exists, then you’ll have to contact your email provider as it means their servers are changing the “Message ID” for emails left on their server. This change causes your email client to believe each message is a new email that needs to be downloaded, and only your mail host will be able to diagnose and correct this condition.

While it can take some time, and patience, to diagnose and correct the problem, one of these five causes and solutions will turn out to be the cure in almost every case.

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