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One of our end users has flagged a bizarre issue they've come across from time to time. What happens is this:

  • User sends an email from Outlook for Mac 2015
  • User looks to see when the email was sent and sees conflicting information
  • In some areas it will show the date the email was sent as Friday (as an example) which was the correct date
  • In some other areas it will show the email was sent on Thursday (which would have only been possible via time travel)

I've had the user check this in webmail to rule out any local application issues and the problem persists there as well. Screenshot:

enter image description here

Has anybody ever seen this before?

Another issue this user faces periodically is that emails will come in out of order in Outlook, i.e. when looking at emails sorted by time received there will be an email from 16:30 that is sorted between 13:00 and 14:00. I don't know if this is related or not.

We are using Office 365, nothing is hosted on-premise.

Any assistance here would be greatly appreciated!!

  • Go over the timestamps again, and while doing so, consider your Timezone (and possible DST) offsets. Does it appear they are involved in the calculated timestamps? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jun 1 '15 at 18:11
  • I don't think it is a timestamp issue because it's not only the hours that are off but also the minutes. – Windows Ninja Jun 1 '15 at 18:13
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Was the email actually written on Thursday (or the earlier of the times)?

Check the message headers... Sometimes a message will get queued up in the sender's outbox, or on any of the servers between them and you. When that happens you sometimes get a "creation" timestamp and a "sent" timestamp which may display differently in different parts of Outlook.

Also, if the same user is consistently wrong, its possible that the system time on their machine is off... this would lead to one timestamp from the client and an entirely different one from the (more likely correct) server.

  • No, the email was actually written on Friday. The conversation in question was about an event that didn't even take place until Friday. For the client time issue - if that's what it is (I'll have to check) wouldn't the times align in webmail? That was why I used that as the authority, to try and remove client issues. The screenshot I sent showing two different dates sent was from webmail. – Windows Ninja Jun 3 '15 at 22:42
  • I checked and the client system has the correct time set so that isn't the problem either. – Windows Ninja Jun 4 '15 at 16:18
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When the user first signs up for Office 365 they have to select their time zone. Users notoriously disregard any settings selections and frequently have problems because of this. You can check this under their options:

Settings

Also, the minutes are definitely a result of sending the mail from the client application vs using the web interface. If you have the user send a test e-mail from OWA, you will probably see that the times match in minutes, and the hours are consistently the same number of hours different.

Finally, if the e-mails are sorted in conversation mode, you will get some strange sorting behavior because the conversation header shows the time and date of the most recent e-mail, but each e-mail will have it's own time and date. This may also account for why it seems that the e-mail times are different by minutes, when viewing in sent. The sent header will always show the most recent time, but if you open an older message in that conversation, it will show the older time in the header.

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