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:

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