Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

How do I view full headers in Windows Live Hotmail?


I have the Windows Live version of Hotmail. What do I need to do to make the
complete headers show when i receive emails?

For the longest time, it didn’t seem like this was even possible.

Fortunately, with recent updates to Windows Live Hotmail you can view additional headers
as well as the complete message source – both of which can be interesting and valuable.

I’ll show you how.


Here’s an example of a message with default settings:

A Message Displayed in Windows Live Hotmail

Note the Actions menu link on the right. Click on that and you’ll see several options: (Note: several people, myself included, are now seeing a “Reply” link there. Click on the small triangle to its right – it works just the same.)

Hotmail message actions dropdown menu

Click on Show Details to get the expanded header that some refer to as the “Full Header”:

Hotmail message showing 'details'

In Actions, click on View message source to view the actual raw message. This actually opens as a separate window or tab in your browser (email addresses obfuscated in the copy below, and some additional line breaks added to make it fit the page better):

X-Message-Delivery: Vj0xLjE7dXM9MDtsPTA7YT0xO0Q9MTtTQ0w9Mw==
X-Message-Status: n:0
X-SID-PRA: Leo A. Notenboom 
X-Message-Info: JGTYoYF78jFm1I23U2ig9+JDLhKPgj97yA2JzV/HHy/wXpHjoh
Received: from ([]) by with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.4675);
	 Wed, 4 Aug 2010 15:33:36 -0700
Received: (qmail 28430 invoked from network); 4 Aug 2010 17:33:36 -0500
Received: from
  (HELO ? (
  by with (DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA encrypted) SMTP;
  4 Aug 2010 17:33:36 -0500
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2010 15:33:34 -0700
From: "Leo A. Notenboom" 
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US; rv:
  Gecko/20100711 Lightning/1.0b1 Thunderbird/3.0.6
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: Leo Notenboom 
Subject: This is a test message for full header display.
X-Enigmail-Version: 1.0.1
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Return-Path: leo@******.***
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 04 Aug 2010 22:33:37.0005 (UTC) FILETIME=[1459B9D0:01CB3425]
Hello Ask Leo! readers!

That includes not only the message, but what are truly the complete and full email message headers that are often used for mail trouble diagnosis.

(This is an update to an article originally published September 6, 2007.)

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

68 comments on “How do I view full headers in Windows Live Hotmail?”

  1. This feature is certainly well hidden Leo and
    I shared your exasperation in trying to find it.

    To see the full headers of a message:
    1. Windows Live Hotmail must be in “Full Version” mode, not “Classic” mode.
    2. Right click on the link to the message in the column left of the preview pane.
    3. A drop-down menu will appear and at the bottom will be “View Source”.
    4. Click on “View Source” and the Full Header information will open in a new window.

  2. I found a way to at least VIEW the full headers in a message received in MSN Windows Live Hotmail: Highlight the message you want to see the headers for (under the column where you choose your “Sort by…” options. Right click on that message and click “View Source” at the bottom of the drop-down list. A box pops up with the message in text mode with full headers shown. You can copy and paste it and print it out, etc., but it looks like it is only a temporary way to view any message with full headers…still no way to make it a view option for all incoming messages automatically.

  3. do you guys can see the IPaddress? I dont see anything like that. view source can be seen on any html page. you’ll see the source code of that page but no the full header info of imcoming email like IPaddress, right?

  4. according to – who want me to send them the header from an email, the ‘view source’ is not the header. It annoys the hell out of me that the ‘instructions’ they keep giving me are out fo date when its their job to get it right!

  5. and just this mornin while wanting to view the full header, i dragged the inline frame to the right (having the reading pane set to right), to later know that the frames are screwed & have no way to restore it back and read mails >=|

  6. You Guys are genius !

    Fantastic, solved ma problemo, i appriciate it a lot,

    Have some M&M from Me !

    Best wishes,

  7. Let’s be clear here. This method to view the headers does not show the “Full Headers”. Important details like “Received From” headers are _not_ present here!

  8. Yeah, today I still had the “old” hotmail version and wanted to attach a file to it, then it forced me to install a new active x to be able to do it!! Then 2 minutes later, my hotmail account was transformed into a live account without asking me anything!!! I HATE this live thing! It force me to always change the text size as it shows it way too small to be unreadable! Also those full headers are still missing as no IP addresses, how to report spam then?? Screw you Microsoft!!
    Is there any way to go back to the old hotmail?? I assume no ….

  9. I was also having the problem of not being able to see headers in Windows Live Hotmail, then I found the post below, it seems you can right click and view source, but you have to be using the “full” version of Windows Live Hotmail, not the “classic” version, here is the post I found:

    “Displaying Headers in Windows Live Hotmail

    If you are reading in Classic, you must switch to Full, right click on the message header and select “view source” to read the IP address of the sender.

    Took me many days to find that.
    Is not available in Classic and the Live “help” does not tell you that.”



  10. I have exactly the same problem and all i can find are the same tips to view the source and the darn IP IS JUST NOT IN THERE!!!!

    soo frustrating. anyone figures it out please tell me.

  11. @ Kirsteen, see my post directly above yours, basically, if you are reading your emails using the *classic version* of Windows Live Hotmail, you will not be able to get the headers by right clicking, it does not work on the classic version.

    You must switch to *Full version* of Windows Hotmail Live, then you will be able to right click on the selected message and select *view source* to read the IP address of the sender.

    I have tried it and it does work, the headers open in a new window after clicking view source.



  12. people are getting confused with the page front end markup (view source).. instead dont open the email and view source but instead right click on the email in your inbox, thats what your supposed to do… i can see why people are getting confused..

  13. I was having the same frustration as all of you while using Windows Live Hotmail, but noticed there was a switch to full version of Windows Live Hotmail. Viola! There it is, the show full headers in the Outlook style inbox.
    To switch between the two version of Windows Live Hotmail, go to your inbox and scroll to the bottom of the webpage, you will see a message

    “Want to race through your inbox even faster? Try the full version of Windows Live Hotmail…”.

    If you are in the full version it will say “Switch to Classic”


  14. I did not complete the instructions sorry, so this is part 2.

    In the Inbox list, right click on the email in question and choose “View Source”.

  15. I’ve tried to do this a dozen times (full windows live hotmail version) but all that happens is a window opens up and the little “timer” cursor spins and spins and spins… The progress bar at the bottom never gets more than half way across. Any suggestions?

  16. I don’t have the full version of Hotmail Live. When I right click on the e-mail in my inbox, I get only options about links.
    I’ll try the full version, tho I usually avoid ‘improvements’ as they usually end up making things worse!

  17. Same problem as Paul. Right click and view source but just sits there on blank screen. I see many people having this same problem and no answers anywhere on the net.

  18. I’ve been fighting with this too. Sorted today thanks to above posts. Clicked “options” at the top right of the hotmail window. Says your using the classic version, try the full version. Clicked that. In the list of emails in the inbox, right clicked on any one email; then clicked “view source” in the srop down menu that appeared,and the full header came up in a new window.

    (If you want to get back to “classic” you have to select “more option” in the options list in “full” – to get that choice)

    Thanks folks.

  19. Hi everyone,

    There are quite many frustrating things that Hotmail IS forcing on users and they don’t seem to listen at all to any feedback. One frustrating thing is with the feedback itself…it opens in the same window and after submission there is no way to get back to the page you were on! Another is the suddenly appearing ads “distended over the message pane in a U shape” and it doesn’t go away easily, as well as, doesn’t allow message options to be clicked. Yet another – if we delete a message that is being viewed, the view passes on to the older message of the folder rather than returning to the folder. (Note: these observations apply to the Classic Windows Live Hotmail). Well, these are just a few frustrating things but I continue to use hotmail because of the one thing that no one else gives – FREE SMS alerts on Mobile phone. I even forward my own domain email to hotmail for this feature!

  20. I switched to the full version from classic. I open the message and right click and choose view source but then nothing shows the header. What now?

  21. Scams – Let’s fight the good fight. Okay everybody. Here’s how you do it.
    In your first menu listing your email, right click the message you are interested. Click “Properties”. Choose “Details”. Voila. Copy the whole shebang, and forward it to your favorite abuse gathering email provider, and get them to “deal with it”. It’s time to put these guys in jail.

  22. I apologize – my instructions are for when you have switched to Windows Live from Outlook Express (you are using Windows Live as your Email client). Right click on the unopened email, properties, details.

  23. @Shailen Sobhee,

    The topic here is Hotmail, not Gmail. Many people already forward the Hotmail to Gmail and check the full header.

  24. Hello Every One;

    I have finally found the way to get full header of the Hotmail Live email. Just Open Inbox then right click any email (without opening it) and then click “View Message Source” This will open Full header in another window. That’s it. Try this one and enjoy……

  25. Thanks a lot Mohammad, I’ve been searching the whole net for this!
    Changing from the Classic version to the Full version wasnt possible anymore, because both versions have merged!
    Good luck to everyone

  26. Okay so I find the HEADER “BUT” now I need to send it to ebay how do I do that?? Please help

    You should be able to select it with the mouse, copy it, and then paste it into a new email message.

    – Leo
  27. Hi, it works inasmuch as I can see the headers, but it doesn’t seem to be the complete headers. I report spam through my SpamCop account and since I’ve stopped having my Hotmail drop into my Outlook, I can no longer do this because I can’t get hold of the full headers to report it. If I copy the header as shown and paste it into the SpamCop report window, I get a message saying:
    No source IP address found, cannot proceed.
    Probably not full headers
    no header

    which is a real bummer as spam reporting is important. Hopefuly Hotmail will fix it so the complete headers are available, or if anyone knows how to view the source IP address (vital in spam reporting), then please share it! Cheers.

  28. for full headers go to inbox, right click on the message you want to see (without going into it) and press “view message source”

  29. To view Headers in Windows Live Mail/Hotmail—
    Right click the message in Inbox list, click “properties” then “Details”. Complete source details revealed. Easy!

  30. I just tried finding the header. This seems to be the complete header. First: right click, then hit “View Source” and after it opens right click one more time and hit “View Source” again and I believe from comparing you have the full header. Wasn’t easy but, I found it! I have someone verifying this for me I will be more than to confirm his results. For he investigates web fraud for me and needs the headers to verify certain e-mails.

  31. I am in Windows Live Hotmail.

    Right clicking on a message and selecting “View Source” results in opening a new tab in my browser with a blank page. Happens in both IE 8 and FF 3.6

  32. I can’t get “full version mode”. Right hand click gives me only options for sending etc. The email is a Nigerian 419 I would like to send to the ISP to get the crook cut off.

  33. I must be on the wrong planet. I have no “actions” in the upper right of my screen. Everything on my screen is listed above!

  34. I have the same issue. With outlook it will try to download the header which will not work.
    When using Safari I can see the header but in unreadable text. Which isn’t very helpfull at all as you can understand. Any new thoughts on how to get this text visible in readable text ??

  35. the message and just below the time stamp of the message you will see “actions” So this is listed within the field of the message itself on the right side.

  36. Prior to the last update I could view the source without opening the email. Now I have to open it to get the Actions dropdown list. Big move in the wrong direction in my view!

  37. When I click on action > view message source, then all I get is a bunch or garbage characters. Is there way of view this correctly. Ive tried a few browsers.

    I’d have to see the “garbage”. Many emails are encoded in such a way that the source may well look like garbage to most.


  38. I’m trying to get the message source to pop up but on the new hotmail it comes out garbled. Have a bit of a tedious ebayer I need to prove is scamming us so headers and footers are essential. Bah!

  39. It is very surprising that so far only Alan ( comment dated 7 August 2010 ) has highlighted the unreadable characters and symbols while viewing the message source. Even Google does not show any results for his/our problem.
    So, I am happy that I am not the only one ( besides Alan ) who seems to belong to another planet.
    Would appreciate if some experts could solve this puzzle of unreadable characters and funny symbols appearing in our message source instead of the boring but useful plain text.

  40. I would agree with cckozie that having to “Open” a message in order to see the source seems less secure. In addition, no method is now available to view the source of a message in the Junk folder; exactly where I would normally want to do so. Bah!

  41. First “action” is on the right. Second in my Hotmail that is called “reply”, but it then has the same actions as you display.

  42. My problem is that hotmail refuses to open source for view full headers. All I’m getting is message: “Unable to download GetMessageSource.aspx from by Unable to open this internet site. The requested site is either unavailable or cannot be found. Please try again later.” And yes, I’ve tried again later and days later…
    Like others I use full headers to check out mail – any advice out there?
    CWH803 if you put junk mail into inbox can you view source?

  43. Same problem as Vera! It just will not show me the source of some threanening emails my daughter has received!
    The only way you can go through the steps above is by using Firefox, but that just gives you a bunch of symbols and characters!
    Does anyone has a solution to this problem?

  44. Right the only way to view messager source is now to download windows live mail.

    You cannot view message source from your browser, whatever it may be. I do not think Leo explains this very well, indeed at all, all the screen shots he shows are taken from Windows Live Mail and not from a web browser…

    You are incorrect. The screen shots are from Windows Live Hotmail as viewed in FireFox, a web browser.


  45. It’s clearly the latest (August 2010 in the UK)updated hotmail/livemail that’s the cause of the problem. No problem getting the headers when it’s in the fully installed version of livemail, but from a browser no way! Can confirm you only get symbols through Firefox and the message quoted above through IE.
    I messaged livemail thro the feedback link but I reckon everyone who hits this problem needs to message them too!
    And “Leo” – if you can solve it we’ll all be very grateful …

    I see the message source properly using Firefox. No idea what’s going on yet.


  46. i dont even have an actions mine just says reply whats goin on?

    Pretend “Reply” is “Actions” and click on the little triangle next to it – you’ll see a popdown menu just as shown above.


  47. Same problem here. Junk characters if I use Firefox 3.6.8, “IE is unable to open” in IE8, junk characters in Chrome 5.0. All on XP SP3.

  48. I too did not see ‘actions’ link. Click on the triangle next to ‘reply’ as pointed out by Leo. Then click on ‘view message source’ for headers.

  49. Hi I have found it impossible to access the message source in the new hotmail – I think tthat this is a major problem – in google chrome it is just a load of symbols in ie8 64 bit and 32 bit I get an error message that it unable to download …. I think that the new hotmail was rushed out with htese bugs

  50. I came acroos this advice on another forum regarding viewing headers in Hotmail and this is what the poster recommended:

    Windows Live headers – a workaround.
    “Ok, so we all know how hard it’s been to get headers off an email if you have Windows Live lately. I’ve come up with a handy little workaround to let everyone see the headers. It’s so simple I don’t know why we didn’t think of it before. All you do is get Mozilla Thunderbird to open it. Here’s how you set it up.

    Open up TB, click on Tools, then Account Settings. A new window pops up.
    Bottom left hand corner, you see Account Actions. Click it and then click on Add Mail Account.
    Put in yout name, email address and the email password, then click on Continue.
    Click on Create Account.
    Now you can download emails sent to the Windows Live account.

    To find the headers, open your email, hold down the Ctrl key and (while still holding it down) press U. Up pops a window with the headers.”

    You dont have to do the above step if TB vesion is 3.1.2. Just look for the other actions the the top right hand corner of the e-mail message and click on that and then View source.

  51. when clicked on view message source, it is opening new tab, which is showing a junk characters which is not readable, please help me in this regard

  52. By the email header is possible to get to the user agent string of the sender?
    I mean, by any chance, the recipient can in some way to get to know info. about the browser, OS, Gecko from the sender?
    I need to know that.
    Please, repli this message with a simple and short answer. Thanks!




Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.