Port Of Call And Other Outlook Adventures

I got home from work the other day, and wanted to fire off a few quick e-mails before dinner. For some strange reason, I couldn’t get any mail to send successfully from Outlook. Weird… I never had a problem before that moment. My connectivity was fine, I could download mail just fine, it just kept timing out when trying to send it. My ISP is Comcast, so my Outlook was set to use smtp.comcast.net for outgoing mail. Had it made some change I wasn’t aware of?

I dug around on the Comcast Web site, and although I couldn’t find anything conclusive, I found an FAQ posted about specifying Port 587 for outgoing mail (with authentication). Mind you, I had to look up what my Comcast UserID and password were, because I never use my Comcast e-mail account. So after some fiddling, I set it up, and my outgoing mail started to flow.

I think it’s a safe bet that Comcast instituted the change from Port 25 to Port 587 (with authentication) to combat spammers. Nice thing it warned its users of the change.

And speaking of Outlook, I was helping one of my customers who wanted their Outlook PST file copied to her laptop. No problem. Then she wanted to add her work e-mail account to Outlook on her laptop… again, no problem. Actually, it was a problem. She is one of those POP3 mail users who insist on keeping copies of messages on the server… which becomes a huge problem when you work on multiple PCs or get a new PC. Despite my warnings, she insisted that she was OK with it. The result: she had to re-download thousands of messages she’d already seen. I wonder how much time she’ll spend deleting all the duplicates (I did tell her about an Outlook “De-Duper” utility I’d heard about), so maybe she’ll get a hand from some software.

[tags]email, e-mail[/tags]


  1. aprior says:

    Why didn’t you tell this “friend” of yours about the option in every email client to “Delete messages off the server after x days” or “Delete messages off the server when deleted from ‘Deleted Items'”, to go along with keeping messages on the server?
    No need for some weird 3rd party program.

  2. They knew about those options…. but again insisted they didn’t want to enable it. Some weird deep-rooted sense of losing messages I guess. They also didn’t really believe in deleting anything, save for the duplicates. I think psychotherapy might be the solution.

  3. Reggie says:

    You are a life-saver! I had important email messages stuck in my outlook express comcast outbox. I searched and found your insightful information about how comcast is blocking port 25. After changing outgoing mail (smtp) to port 587 with authentication, everything went through.

    I just love it when you IT gurus share your knowledge. It really reduces the level of stress and aggravation! Thanks. It is so very appreciated!!!

  4. RagManX says:

    I just ran in to this problem today, and didn’t have a chance to research the cause before I had to leave the house. Thanks for the info – I can fix it when I get home, now.

  5. leftystrat says:

    I’ve had Comcast for years. About a year ago, they sent me a message about port 587. I enabled it and have been fine ever since.

    Comcast has done a lot of evil things, but I have no complaint about this one.

    Now if you want to discuss the invisible cap on downloading that’s apparently protected by a National Security directive….