Why are the 'sent' and 'received' dates different from each other?
Thursday, December 8, 2016 2:20 PM

Due to FocalScope displaying emails as elements of tickets, date & time details previously unnoticed in other email systems become clear in FocalScope; particularly, the time at which emails were modified, sent, received, or acted upon. This article details the disparity some FocalScope users noticed when they observe the modifiedsent, and received date and time of emails.

Prerequisites

Explanation of fields in the 'Detailed E-mail list' report

Cause

  • When someone sends an email, desktop email clients such as Outlook, Thunderbird, etc. will take the date and time of the system from which the email is being sent and record it in the email header. Thus, if the senders system has an incorrect date & time calibration, it will be recorded in the sent email. When FocalScope receives the email, it will only stamp the received date / time with that of the FocalScope server
  • When you've migrated to FocalScope, your previous email client may have been configured to leave copies of emails on the server--in which case FocalScope will retrieve copies of old messages with their original timestamps still embedded
  • Some email servers and antivirus / anti-spam services can delay emails for processing for up to several hours. FocalScope users can check the email path through cyberspace and detect the reason for such delays by examining the email headers of affected emails
  • For outgoing emails that were saved as drafts the received timestamp reflects the date and time when the draft was fist created, and the sent timestamp shows the date and time when the email was successfully sent
  • Drag and drop operations performed on emails / tickets may produce the following effects observed in reports:
    • The ticket's created timestamp will be inherited from the very first email in it
    • The ticket's modified timestamp will show the created timestamp of the most recent (newest) email in the ticket. The modified timestamp is used to sort tickets with new messages and place them at the top of the [By Thread] & [By Date] views
    • For cases where agents move the first email out of a ticket, the ticket's created and modified timestamps may become out of sync
  • An email that was composed and saved as a draft will have different modified and created timestamps in reports. The modified timestamp shows when the message contents were last modified, while the created timestamp reflects when the ticket was successfully sent. The longer an email was kept as a draft before being sent, the greater the time disparity will be between the modified and created timestamps

Symptoms

  • A normal sent / received timestamp difference is usually a few seconds to a few minutes (highlighted in red)
  • An abnormal sent / received timestamp difference usually indicates something irrational, like an email coming from the future (highlighted in blue)


Figure 1 - Spotting sent / received timestamp mismatches


Troubleshooting

  1. Open the email in question by double-clicking it
  2. In the [Message Properties] window, click [View] and select [Message Headers] (see Figure 2). The email body contents will change to display the email header information
  3. Note the handover of the email message between the email servers in the [Received] headers. These entries will reflect the local time, as recorded by the mail server, when the message was received. Delays and date / time disparities can be observed from these entries




Figure 2 - Viewing the email header information


Figure 3 - Identifying the sent / received time disparity


Additional Information

Explanation of fields in the 'Detailed E-mail list' report