Knowledgebase: Inbound Mail Flow
Requesting assistance from Support to investigate an email problem
Posted by Riaan Kok, Last modified by David Szoke on 19 January 2018 07:14 PM

Reporting an email problem to Proofpoint Essentials Support requires a few pieces of information that will assist us in narrowing down and investigating the issue, or even just for us to make useful suggestions.

NOTE: if this problem is regarding a misclassification, we strongly recommend that you consult our knowledgebase article How to tune Proofpoint Essentials spam detection performance. Unless there's a real classification bug with the Proofpoint Essentials engine - which is rare - our advice would be based on the information in that knowledgebase article because there is only this one set of tools which we all use.  We can make suggestions though, and we can investigate where something might clearly be going wrong, and if you get stuck on a problem we'd be happy to help.

There are three things which we can use to investigate or advise on an email problem:

  • Permalink: it is, amongst other things, a very convenient reference for us to use to immediately find the email you're talking about.  You can find it for any email in the Email Logs section in the Proofpoint Essentials  Interface, just click on the message row and bring up the Email Detail page.  If the email in question is not in Email Logs, it didn't pass through Proofpoint Essentials (but maybe you have a bounce problem?).
  • Full internet headers of the email contain some other useful information regarding where the email came from, how it was constructed, the history of the email's travel between mail servers, etc., and often this will contain the answer we seek.  Simply forwarding an email, either inline or as an attachment, in most cases does not include this header information; the procedure for obtaining the headers will differ from email client to email client, so please refer to the help pages for that email client.
  • Email body might contain some final clues that would help us to determine, “What is the most appropriate way to deal with the problem?”, and it would certainly help us to understand what it is you expect from Proofpoint Essentials regarding this email.  Of course, some emails are private and you'd prefer not to share the body, it might only hinder us depending on what kind of advice you are looking for.

In general, a fully-composed support query would in other words contain:

  1. A paragraph providing the Permalink along with a description of the problem
  2. What you've tried so far and how it has failed you,
  3. The problem email's full internet headers, and attached would be the body of the email in question. 

If this is about a series of emails:

  1. Please provide as many indicative Permalinks as you think appropriate
  2. One good example of the headers and body
  3. A note describing what the linking pattern is in this series of emails that is the problem. 

It all depends on the situation of course, please use fair judgment and think from the point of view of someone trying to assist with a problem: we want to be able to help you out faster and avoid a time-consuming to-and-fro of us asking for more information.

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