What Does “Mailbox Unavailable” Mean and How Do I Fix It?

What does “smtp; 550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable mean?” I can no longer send emails to my friend at *****@live.com … the mail comes back with this message.

Unless you’ve mistyped the email address, “mailbox unavailable” is likely not your problem, and not something you can fix. It means that your friend’s mailbox isn’t available, for unspecified reasons, and your message could not be delivered.

From there, all we can do is make some educated guesses as to why.

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Why Does Email Bounce?

Sometimes, my email bounces. Every so often, I’ll send a message, and a short time later, I’ll receive a reply saying that the email failed to go through. Why does it happen? And how do I fix it?

Well, I’m afraid there are many reasons why mail can bounce. In fact, there are so many ways email can fail, sometimes I’m amazed it works at all. But it definitely works most of the time, and one of the ways that it works is that very bounce message that you get.

You see, there’s gold in that bounce message. It’s not only telling you that your message didn’t go through, but if you look a little closer, you’ll see it’s trying to tell you why.

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Why Was My Email Bounced for Sending Too Much Spam?

I have just received the message that my response to an e-mail from a friend could not get delivered because there is too much SPAM coming from that IP; the IP given is {removed} but that is NOT MY IP. (Mine is totally different, according to what I saw on the link you posted sometime ago). What is going on? How can I be “punished” for something I did not do? I have NEVER sent SPAM to anyone.

You are exactly right: you are being punished for the actions of others.

To understand who those “others” are, we need to look at how email makes it off of your computer to its destination.

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Why Aren’t My Friends Getting My Email?


Hi, Leo. I have two friends in Europe who do not receive my emails nor can I get theirs. Neither one of us has the other marked as spam so what’s going on?

To be honest, it’s almost impossible to say. I will throw out a few ideas based on how the email system might be working, but I really don’t know of a direct or specific way to fix this.

I do however have one workaround for you to at least try.

Read moreWhy Aren’t My Friends Getting My Email?

Why Am I Getting Bounced Notices to Messages I Didn’t Send?

I keep getting the “cannot deliver email” message from someone that I didn’t send anything to or don’t even have in my contacts list. Why is that and what do I do?

Unfortunately, the second part of your question is actually the easier part.

What do you do? Nothing. You can’t do much about that.

But why is it happening? Well, that’s an interesting scenario.

Read moreWhy Am I Getting Bounced Notices to Messages I Didn’t Send?