View a Message's Source in Windows Mail or Outlook

Normally, we're more interested in an email's text than we are in its source. But sometimes, taking a look at the source can be interesting, or necessary.

Especially when something does not work right, the message source can often lead to a clue what went wrong, and the source often reveals a spammer's ISP, too. Fortunately, Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail,​ and Outlook Express offer a smart shortcut that brings up a message's source quickly.

View a Message's Source in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express

To view the complete source of a message in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express:

  • Open the message.
  • Press Ctrl + F3.

View a Message's Source Without Opening the Message Itself

To see the source of a message you don't want to open in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express:

  1. Click on the desired email in the message list with the right mouse button.
  2. Select Properties from the menu.
    1. If your message is in an IMAP account, you may first have to download it in full:
    2. Click on it with the right mouse button.
    3. Select Download Message Later from the menu.
    4. Select Tools > Sync or Tools > Send and Receive from the main menu and select your email account from the list.
  3. Go to the Details tab.
  4. Click Message Source.