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I'm using Thunderbird as my email client to check a Gmail account.

I get a lot of emails from family who are located in different time zones. Now, my emails don't arrive out of order, but the timestamps are sometimes out of order so that when my email client sorts by date, it's not necessarily in the order sent. This is confusing when I check a day's worth of emails and I'm forced to read them in an order that's only lightly correlated with their "real" order.

Is this likely to be a problem with my computer, my email server, the senders' computers, or the senders' email servers? Between all of us and our computers we touch probably 6 or 7 different time zones around the world. I would think that ALL computers handling email would just handle UTC timestamps, until the very last computer (the client that displays the email in human-readable form) localizes it to the user's time zone. But it's not behaving this way and I'm wondering where I can start fixing this.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Thunderbird does have a "Order Received" column that you can sort by:

enter image description here

It seems that Outlook is particularly bad at sending a bad date stamp from the client (if the client computer has the wrong time) which is seen as authoritative.

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Some mail clients sort by sending time, some sort by receiving time (some can do both.) Some mail clients don't generate proper Date: headers, so even if you could sort by that it might be unparseable (and that assumes that the sending computer even had the correct clock on it.)

I suspect that you're seeing them sorted by time received, rather than sent.

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