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Received messages show incorrect date in received and date column

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New install. Windoz. Connect to existing IMAP email account. Several messages have incorrect date and time in the "Date" column. That column shows today's date and time very close to the time I first connected to the accounts. Message header shows coeect date. Why is Thunderbird misinterpreting the date in some cases?

New install. Windoz. Connect to existing IMAP email account. Several messages have incorrect date and time in the "Date" column. That column shows today's date and time very close to the time I first connected to the accounts. Message header shows coeect date. Why is Thunderbird misinterpreting the date in some cases?

Chosen solution

TB displays the time of the Date header in the Date column, whereas most other clients display the Received time for their 'Date'. The difference is only significant when the Date header is incorrect, but it should probably be better documented for the unwary user.

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  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; CPU OS 10_2_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/602.4.6 (KHTML, like Gecko) FxiOS/7.4b2970 Mobile/14D27 Safari/602.4.6

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user1121639 230 solutions 1532 answers

Note that any e-mail program can put whatever date & time it wants into the "Date:" header of the e-mails they send. Of course, we expect the sending program to put the accurate date & time the e-mail is sent, but it doesn't have to. The date & time on the sending computer could be wrong, or the timezone set wrong. Or it could be intentionally the wrong date & time, which spammers sometimes do.

If you view the source of the e-mail (press Ctrl-U, when viewing the e-mail), you can look at all the headers of the e-mail, and compare the date & time in the "Date:" header to the dates & times in the "Received:" headers. The received headers will show the date & times the various servers recorded when they handled the e-mail, and those dates & times will be correct.

Note that any e-mail program can put whatever date & time it wants into the "Date:" header of the e-mails they send. Of course, we expect the sending program to put the accurate date & time the e-mail is sent, but it doesn't ''have'' to. The date & time on the sending computer could be wrong, or the timezone set wrong. Or it could be intentionally the wrong date & time, which spammers sometimes do. If you view the source of the e-mail (press Ctrl-U, when viewing the e-mail), you can look at all the headers of the e-mail, and compare the date & time in the "Date:" header to the dates & times in the "Received:" headers. The received headers will show the date & times the various servers recorded when they handled the e-mail, and those dates & times will be correct.
sfhowes
  • Top 25 Contributor
815 solutions 3622 answers

Because the Date header is unreliable as mentioned above, you may wish to display the (proper) Received column instead:

http://blog.dmitryleskov.com/small-hacks/putting-the-received-column-in-thunderbird-to-work/

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/imap-received-date/

Because the Date header is unreliable as mentioned above, you may wish to display the (proper) Received column instead: http://blog.dmitryleskov.com/small-hacks/putting-the-received-column-in-thunderbird-to-work/ https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/imap-received-date/

Helpful Reply

Thank you for the replies. I have examined the header on messages where Thunderbird displays the correct date and messages where Thunderbird displays an incorrect date. In all cases, the header has the correct date and time information. Also worth noting is that if I connect other email clients to the same email server the dates all display correctly on these messages. There must be a bug in the way Thunderbird interprets the date on certain messages. It could be that the sending email server is not doing everything correctly but it seems odd that Airmail, Apple Mail, Outlook and every iOS and web email client correctly displays the date. Only Thunderbird is having this issue.

Thank you for the replies. I have examined the header on messages where Thunderbird displays the correct date and messages where Thunderbird displays an incorrect date. In all cases, the header has the correct date and time information. Also worth noting is that if I connect other email clients to the same email server the dates all display correctly on these messages. There must be a bug in the way Thunderbird interprets the date on certain messages. It could be that the sending email server is not doing everything correctly but it seems odd that Airmail, Apple Mail, Outlook and every iOS and web email client correctly displays the date. Only Thunderbird is having this issue.
sfhowes
  • Top 25 Contributor
815 solutions 3622 answers

Chosen Solution

TB displays the time of the Date header in the Date column, whereas most other clients display the Received time for their 'Date'. The difference is only significant when the Date header is incorrect, but it should probably be better documented for the unwary user.

TB displays the time of the Date header in the Date column, whereas most other clients display the Received time for their 'Date'. The difference is only significant when the Date header is incorrect, but it should probably be better documented for the unwary user.

Question owner

sfhowes - I checked the headers on the problem messages and the "date" attribute is missing on every one of them. So, the date header is most definitely incorrect and that probably explains whey TB is just showing the date and time the message was first loaded into the client. What still bugs me is that I added the "Received" column to the display and that also shows the bad datetime value. Not really sure what to think about that but at this point I think we cam mark this issue as resolved. Messages with missing date headers are not going to display correctly in TB and as you point out this is by design. Thanks to everyone who contributed suggestions on this one.

sfhowes - I checked the headers on the problem messages and the "date" attribute is missing on every one of them. So, the date header is most definitely incorrect and that probably explains whey TB is just showing the date and time the message was first loaded into the client. What still bugs me is that I added the "Received" column to the display and that also shows the bad datetime value. Not really sure what to think about that but at this point I think we cam mark this issue as resolved. Messages with missing date headers are not going to display correctly in TB and as you point out this is by design. Thanks to everyone who contributed suggestions on this one.
sfhowes
  • Top 25 Contributor
815 solutions 3622 answers

Helpful Reply

You can make the Received column show the proper time by following the directions given at the links in my first reply.

You can make the Received column show the proper time by following the directions given at the links in my first reply.
Joris11 0 solutions 3 answers

Many received E-mail have date stamp 1-1-1970. This problem does not occur with opera/ outlook and a VB application. I did work for a while but after an update 1-1-1970 appeared again.

Looking into the header I found out that thunderbird is using the wrong date stamp. should use this field Delivery-date: Tue, 24 Oct 2017 10:03:12 +0200 Received: from not the date printed after subject.

Many received E-mail have date stamp 1-1-1970. This problem does not occur with opera/ outlook and a VB application. I did work for a while but after an update 1-1-1970 appeared again. Looking into the header I found out that thunderbird is using the wrong date stamp. should use this field Delivery-date: Tue, 24 Oct 2017 10:03:12 +0200 Received: from not the date printed after subject.