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How to view Outlook Web Access message headers

Troubleshooting e-mail problems usually requires the ability to read message headers. Unfortunately, Outlook Web Access doesn't provide this functionality by default. Luckily, there is a freeware extension available that solves this issue.

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Troubleshooting e-mail problems usually requires being able to read message headers -- to determine the route taken by a piece of e-mail to your own servers, for example. By default, Outlook Web Access (OWA) doesn't support the ability to view a message's source.

Fortunately, programmer Siegfried Weber has created an extension for Exchange Server 2003 OWA called, appropriately enough, View Message Source that allows you to perform this function.

To install it, you need to unpack the archive, and then replace the file util_View.js in the Exchange Server directory \Program Files\Exchsrvr\exchweb\6.5.6944.0\controls with the custom util_View.js provided in the archive.

You also need to reset the Web server (which will disconnect all currently logged in OWA users). You probably should do this after hours to minimize any problems. Make sure you back up the original util_View.js file, too, so you can easily uninstall if necessary.

When installed, a new View Source option should appear in the right-click context menu for a given message (although only in Internet Explorer 5.0 and above).

Outlook Web Access doesn't really have a plug-in architecture worth speaking of, so the only way to add or remove features is by directly modifying files in the OWA folder, as View Message Source allows you to do.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter.


This tip is for Exchange 2003 RTM. The controls directory for Exchange SP2 is located in another folder named 6.5.7638.1.
—Rutger D.

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Related information from

  • Learning Center: Toolbox for Exchange administrators
  • FAQ: Outlook Web Access
  • Reference Center: Outlook Web Access tips and resources

  • Dig Deeper on Outlook management