Oregon State University

I just sent out a message and got some strange error messages. What does this mean?


If you try to send a message and there is a problem with the mail delivery, you will receive an error message back from the system describing why the mail could not be delivered. Most of these messages are straightforward.

Warning: message still undelivered after X hours Will keep trying until message is Z days old 
The mail server to which you are sending mail is either down or not accepting mail for some reason. Your mail server will try to resend the message after a certain time has elapsed, X, which is usually after four hours and keep trying for a time period, Z, which is usually five days.

User is unknown 
The person that you tried to reach does not have an account on the receiving mail server. Check that you have not made a typo in the "To:" field. If you have, you have to resend the message to the proper address.

Disk quota exceeded 
The address to which you were trying to send mail has exceeded its disk quota. This mail will not be delivered since the user has no more space to store messages.

Misleading E-Mail Error Messages:

If you send e-mail to someone who is over quota on their inbox it will be returned to you with a "disc quota exceeded" error message.

When sending to more than one person on the same system the error messages can be very confusing if any of them are over quota. You may get a message stating that "the following addresses had permanent fatal errors" followed by all the intended recipients. It looks as though the e-mail has failed to reach everyone, but in fact it has been successfully delivered to everyone except those explicitly listed as having exceeding their disc quota.

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