Exchange Server keeps a record of every email message coming to or going from its mailboxes. It keeps the transaction records in a separate log file which lets you monitor the message flow and get complete details about the mail flow in your Exchange Server. There is a dedicated tool named ‘Delivery Reports’ under the Exchange Admin Center which you can enable to get the delivery status of each message which either came to or went from Exchange mailboxes. The report does not mention the content of the message, but the Subject of the message is displayed in the report. The send/receive actions within a period 14 days can be tracked using this tool.
Delivery Reports helps Exchange administrators in the forensic analysis of email communication. It helps them get the details of past emails and study them when there is a legal dispute or complaint.
You can perform these actions from Exchange admin center
For message tracking, you need Organization Management, Records Management, and Recipient Management permissions. Here are the different processes to track messages:
Create a delivery report
- Login to Exchange Admin Center using the Administrator credentials. Then go to Mail Flow >> Delivery Reports.
- Input the below information:
Mailbox to Search: Browse and select the mailbox from the address book for which you want to track the message.
Then choose any of the following:
- Search for messages sent to:
Enable this option to track such messages which were sent to the mailboxes you have selected at ‘Mailbox to Search.’ Click the ‘Select users’ option and choose the uses from the address book and click the Add button. You can select multiple users here and finally click the OK button to go to back the Delivery Reports page.
- Search for messages received from:
Enable this option to find the message sent by any user to the mailbox which selected in the ‘Mailbox to search’ option. Here, select the users and click the OK button to go back to the Delivery Reports page. Also, if you choose this option, then you need to mention the sender.
- Search for these words in the subject line:
You can input the Subject line as a search parameter, otherwise leave it blank.
Finally, click Search.
Check the delivery report
- Go to Search Results and select any message, then click ‘Details.’
- The delivery report will depict the status for the delivery information of the message. It shows the following fields:
Subject: The Subject of the message.
From: Name, email address, or Alias of the sender.
To: Name, email address, or Alias of the receiver for the message.
Sent: Time and Date of the message when it was broadcast.
If the message was sent to more than one recipient, then a different section ‘Summary to date’ section appears. It shows the total number of recipients who received the message and provided the delivery report to each recipient.
- Summary to date: Shows total number of recipients and the status of each message like Pending, Delivered, or Unsuccessful.
- Search box: When the number of recipients is more than 30, then you can use the search box to enter the email address of the recipient and get the status of the message.
- To: The email address of the recipient.
- Status: Status of each message for every recipient.
Get detailed information
Get the detailed delivery information for each message you select in ‘Summary to date’ section.
- Delivery Report for: Email address of the recipient.
- Submitted: Date and time of the message when the message was submitted.
You may see multiple delivery status –
- Delivered: delivered successfully.
- Deferred: Message gets delayed.
- Pending: Message is pending because the moderator should either approve the message, or the message should fulfill an organization-wide rule or policy.
- Moderator: Moderator approved or disproved the message
- Groups Expanded: it shows that the message was sent to a group.
- Failed: it shows the reason for the failure of the delivery and date, and time.
After getting the complete message report, you can click the Close option and revisit the report.
NOTE: Delivery report only tracks the messages from the Microsoft Outlook and Outlook on the Web. It does not track messages from IMAP/POP3 applications like Windows Live Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird.
The delivery report has a limited application because it depicts the message report for the last 14 days only, and you cannot save the report also. To get more in-depth information about email traffic of your Exchange Server environment, you can use Kernel Exchange Reporter which checks every single aspect of Exchange communication and brings several reports using which you plan and optimize the Exchange environment. When you have an idea about the volume of messages sent or received by the mailboxes in the organization, you can plan your future Exchange infrastructure accordingly.