Outlook 2003 - Wrong account used if original message is attached in reply/forward


V

VanguardLH

Outlook 2003 SP-3
Windows XP Pro SP-3

When a user has asked which account gets used when replying to an
e-mail, the standard response has been "The account used to send the
reply is the same one through which the original e-mail was delivered".
If you had 2 accounts defined in Outlook where the 1st one was the
default and an e-mail was received through the 2nd one, a reply to it
would use the 2nd account. Well, unless you configure Outlook to
*attach* the original e-mail, that is, in which case the default account
gets used.

Which account gets used for sending a reply or forward seems to depend
on how you configured Outlook to handle the content of the original
message in your reply/forward e-mail. In OL2003's Tools -> Options ->
Preferences tab -> E-mail Options settings, the "On replies and
forwards" section lets you choose whether to include anything of the
original message and how to include it, which are (along with which
account gets used when you send a reply/forward):

- Do not include original message.
(Received account is used for your reply/forward)

- Attach original message.
(Default account is used for sending your reply/forward)

- Include original message text.
- Include and indent original message text.
- Prefix each line of the original message text.
(Received account is used for your reply/forward)

The 1st method doesn't include anything of the original message. The
2nd method attaches the original message to your reply/forward e-mail
(i.e., disposition=attached). The last methods are all inline
attachments (e.g., disposition=inline) which result in stripping out all
the headers and putting the original message inside the text of your
reply/forward message. Apparently OL2003 gets "confused" when you
attach the original message despite that the received account has never
changed in Outlook's message store.

Reasons for attaching a message instead of adding it inline are:

- You want to include the headers of the original message. These are
needed to track the origin of the message you are including in your
reply/forward e-mail (e.g., when reporting spam) or to show someone
else just exactly what you received.

- OL2003 nuisances you for your replies about having to download content
that you blocked in the received message. If you attempt to reply and
refuse to download the content, Outlook pukes by refusing to let you
compose a reply without that external content. When you reply and
allow the content, you discard the security of blocking that content
(e.g., web beacons). OL2003 forces you to download the external
content to compose your reply. Attaching the original message
eliminates this security/privacy issue. When you attach the original
message, Outlook doesn't have to download anything to compose a reply.

Note: Setting Outlook to "read all messages in plain text" format is a
not a desirable solution since any received HTML-formatted
e-mails will have their formatting corrupted, like for tables,
columnar text, bolding, formulae or other styled text, bullets,
etc, and can make them less intelligible when presented in
plain-text format.

Maybe this is a bug in OL2003. Maybe some other setup can override
Outlook's use of the default account for outbound reply/forward e-mails
so instead it reuses the received account (through which the original
message was delivered) instead of the default account when you attach
the original message. Yes, account management might've been improved in
later versions of Outlook but I still have the 2003 version to deal
with. It sucks that OL2003 will use the received account for
reply/forward e-mails with no original content or when putting it inline
but screws up and uses the default account for reply/forward e-mails
that attach the original content.

If you add the "E-mail Account" in a view, you'll see through which
account an e-mail was received. That doesn't change no matter if it was
not included, attached, or inline to your reply/forward e-mail. For
some odd reason or poor design, OL2003 forgets the received account when
you attach the original message and you end up with the default account
(which, if you happen to notice the received account didn't get
selected, you'll have to change to the received account using the
Accounts toolbar button). I have accounts for specific purposes and I
don't want to accidentally expose different accounts through other
accounts. Obviously the purpose of having different accounts is to
differentiate their purpose and use - and I'd like to keep it that way.

Is there a means of configuring Outlook so it will always use the
received account when sending a reply/forward e-mail regardless of
whether the original content was not included, was attached, or was
shoved inline in the body of your reply/forward e-mails? On replies or
forwards, I *always* want Outlook to use the same account through which
the original message was received. Or is OL2003 broken (which means
it'll never get fixed)?
 
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D

Diane Poremsky

Interesting. It looks like a bug to me - the From field is blank, so
unless you select the From account, Outlook uses the default.

Because Outlook 2003 is out of support, i don't expect it will be fixed.
If this bug exists in Outlook 2007, it might be fixed in that version.
(It's not in Outlook 2010 in a quickie test, but outlook 2010 handles
accounts differently.)

FWIW, we don't recommend that setting for replies - use the option to
include the reply in the body. If you need to send the message back as
an attachment, insert it. (File, Insert or Drag to the reply message).


Diane Poremsky [MVP - Outlook]

Outlook & Exchange Solutions Center: http://www.slipstick.com/
OutlookForums http://www.outlookforums.com
 
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V

VanguardLH

Diane said:
Interesting. It looks like a bug to me - the From field is blank, so
unless you select the From account, Outlook uses the default.

Because Outlook 2003 is out of support, i don't expect it will be fixed.
If this bug exists in Outlook 2007, it might be fixed in that version.
(It's not in Outlook 2010 in a quickie test, but outlook 2010 handles
accounts differently.)

FWIW, we don't recommend that setting for replies - use the option to
include the reply in the body. If you need to send the message back as
an attachment, insert it. (File, Insert or Drag to the reply message).

Diane Poremsky [MVP - Outlook]

Outlook & Exchange Solutions Center: http://www.slipstick.com/
OutlookForums http://www.outlookforums.com

When forwarding a message, it doesn't make sense to put it inline in the
body of your message since that strips out all the headers. You aren't
forwarding a copy of the original message but an edited and highly
hacked edition. I don't often have to forward a message but when I do
the *entire* message is needed, not just some synopsis of it. Well,
when you forward as attachment then OL2003 screws up and uses the
default account instead of the one through which the original message
was received. It is similar to your method of starting to compose a new
e-mail (which will use the default account) and then inserting another
message (as an attachment). So it appears when attaching messages that
OL2003 doesn't look at the account through which the attached message
was received. There is a disconnect between the new-mail compose window
and the received account.

In a way, I understand why this might've been designed this way since
it's possible to attach multiple messages that came through different
accounts. If a dozen messages were attached to the new e-mail (in fact,
every e-mail you write is a new e-mail whether new, reply, or forward)
with them received through 3, 6, or more accounts then which account
should the new-mail compose window default to? Yet when you select to
Reply or Forward, you are doing it on *one* specific message. You might
add more messages as attachments but your initial action to Reply or
Forward was based on the currently selected message.

Basically this discovery came about when trying to eliminate OL2003's
penchant to refuse composing a new e-mail for a Reply if you don't
permit it to download the content you had it originally block (i.e.,
external/linked images). Normally Outlook is configured to Reply by
inserting inline the original message but this means Outlook also won't
let you reply if you reject lowering security by downloading the
external content you decided you didn't want to allow when you received
that e-mail. If you have Outlook insert the original message inline to
your body and you want to reply, you either have to allow Outlook to
download the external content that was previously blocked or you reject
that requirement which means Outlook closes the new-mail dialog and you
cannot reply. As a workaround, attaching the original message
eliminated having Outlook downloaded the previously blocked external
content. Instead of opening the original message, you simply attached
it and Outlook didn't have to download anything so you could avoid
getting that external content to compose a reply. Yet then I found
attaching a message had OL2003 use the default account. I'd get a
message through account #2, reply to it (with the original as an
attachment), but the account #1 (default) got selected and I'd have to
remember to change back to account #2.

My choices were:
- Reply inline (normal setup). I'd get a message through account #2 and
the reply defaulted to using account #2. However, if external content
had been blocked for the original e-mail, Outlook would prompt that it
must download that blocked content before it would let me reply. I had
to allow the external content to reply or Outlook would refuse to let me
reply if I refused to let it download the external content.
- Reply with original as attachment. I'd get a message through account
#2. If content had been blocked, Outlook didn't care as it was
attaching the original e-mail instead of having to download the blocked
content to supposedly include it inline in the body of my reply. I
didn't get bothered with a prompt about downloading the external content
or having Outlook refuse to let me reply. Alas, that meant account #1
(default account) got used by default in the new-mail dialog and I'd
have to remember to switch.

When I Reply or Forward, it's on a one-message case. I'm selecting that
action when focused on one received message. If I toss multiple
messages (as attachments) into a reply, and since they can arrive
through multiple accounts, I wouldn't expect Outlook to know which
account to use during the send operation. So I found probably the best
setup is to:

- Reply - Do not include original message: I include nothing of the
original message. After all, the sender very likely has a copy of
their own message (in the Sent Items folder) or they really don't need
back a copy of what they said. This is more like a conversation since
you don't answer someone and then follow with what they said to you.
o Outlook doesn't use anything of the original message in my reply.
That means it doesn't have to download anything (some of which
might've been blocked).
o Because Outlook isn't retrieving anything, I don't get prompted to
allow the previously blocked content.
o The same account through which the original message was received
gets used by default for my reply.

- Forward - Include original as attachment: This is the typical setup.
o Outlook doesn't have to download anything to attach the original
message, so I don't get prompted (to accept the download or to
refuse to let me reply).
o The default account gets used instead of the account through which
the original message got received. I don't often forward e-mails
and when I do they are when sending spam reports so using my default
account is okay. If I'm forwarding to legal or business reasons,
it's likely the e-mail was received through my default account or I
don't care about accidentally using my default account since I trust
to whom I'm sending a full copy of the original message.

Guess that's about the best I can do with OL2003. Replies will always
[default to] use the same account as through which an e-mail was
received. Nothing of the blocked content must be retrieved nor does it
get included in my reply. Forwarding still has problems but then I
rarely forward any received e-mails to someone else (and when I do is
not when I'm concerned about divulging my default account).
 

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