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How to deal with error number 0x800ccc79

For members with @commentary.com email accounts

Raymond Cheng

Most of us work through emails these days so struggling in a technology nightmare with your email account can be very frustrating. My intention of writing this memo is to let our members know how you can help yourself to diagnose the problem or even get rid of the issue for good, hopefully, by using Gmail.

Outlook Error 0x800ccc79
Figure 1. Outlook error 0x800ccc79. Source: layoffman.com/blog/

What is SMTP relay blocking?

Suppose that you are using some ISP to send email. Now, for some unknown reasons you are getting this error number 0x800ccc79 together with an error message saying that your email cannot be sent due to "SMTP relay blocking" (see Figure 1 above). So what is SMTP relay blocking? SMTP blocking is a way for ISPs to minimize spam and email abuse by blocking those who are not allowed to send email through their mail servers. There can be a dozen of reasons why you are suddenly not allowed to send email but one very common possibility is that you are not connected to the Internet via a connection recognized as "safe" by your ISP. In this case your ISP's outbound mail server will require authentication (i.e. you will have to authenticate yourself by providing a username/password). This is also when you get an error that says: Server Error 530 authentication required &ndash error, Error Number: 0x800ccc79. All you have to do is go to "Tools", under "Accounts", select the account that's causing the problem and click on the "Properties" button. Move to the "Servers" tab and check the box that says, "My server requires authentication" (see Figure 2 below).

My server requires authentication
Figure 2. My server requires authentication. Source: Web Developers Notes

Could one of your recipients be blacklisted?

If the above does not solve your problem, then another very common reason is that one of the recipients in your outgoing email was rejected by the mail server. This happens when your ISP blacklists some email addresses due to various security or anti-spam reasons, for instance, the recipient email address had been used to spam or is used as a target "drop box" by spammers. In these cases, you might get error messages like: The rejected e-mail address was '<someone@some_domain.com>'. Subject: '<Test>', Account: '<Test>', Server: '<smtp.some_domain.com>', Protocol: SMTP, Server Response: '550 <someone@some_domain.com>... Relaying Denied', Port: 25, Secure (SSL): No, Server Error: 550, Error Number: 0x800ccc79

While you might be thinking that it is strange for ISPs to maintain an outgoing blacklist (instead of an incoming one), you may want to know as well that quite a number of ISPs actually blacklist email addresses like president@whitehouse.gov, bill@microsoft.com ... as they are frequently being used by spammers (and obviously, Mr. Obama and Mr. Gates won't get your email anyway because they never use these email addresses).

Please check email before you send

I have to stress, though, if you are using smtp.commentary.com as your outgoing mail server, you should know that we deploy a special mechanism, called "check-before-send", for the purpose of user authentication. In short, every time when you check and download your email from the pop3.commentary.com server, our system make will a note of your IP address. Your IP address will then be passed over to the outgoing mailserver, smtp.commentary.com, which will open its ports to you so that you can send email right away without worrying anything about SMTP authentication. Note that once the ports (for sending email) are opened, they will remain so for the next 6 hours.

Other less frequent possibilities

Well, even if you are pretty sure that the email addresses of your recipients should not be on any blacklists, error 0x800ccc79 can still occur when some system files become corrupted, misconfigured, accidentally deleted or even damaged. In fact, this is also an issue on personal computers that are not updated regularly. In this case, please check out the Microsoft Windows™ Updates website to see if there are any software patches or updates available for downloading or, in some extreme cases, re-install your operating system (if you happen to have a recovery disk with you) or get someone professional to do it for you for a small fee. These should normally do the trick and will solve all the problem. However, before you do anything to your computer, make sure your have a backup of your files and emails.

Getting rid of the issue for good

If you don't like the idea of SMTP authentication, I would suggest that you try using Gmail to send email (i.e. through Gmail's server and through your ISP or our outgoing mail server). Please check out my other memo on "How to configure Google Mail (Gmail) to send email."

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