What is IMAP? And How Can it Help Me Manage My Email?

IMAP stands for “Internet Message Access Protocol”. It’s a fancy name for a protocol used by email programs like Outlook, Thunderbird, and others to access your email.

IMAP is an alternative to POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3), works in some fundamentally different ways, and makes a few fundamentally different assumptions.

I’ll examine IMAP, how it compares to POP3, and when you might want to consider using it.

Read moreWhat is IMAP? And How Can it Help Me Manage My Email?

Will Backing Up My Computer Back Up My Email?

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I’m currently preparing to back up my computer for the first time and I’m unsure of the answer to the following question. If I do either a system image or a regular backup of my Windows 7 computer, will my Outlook emails also be included in the backup or do I have to first back up the emails to a PST file; do the backup and then import the emails back if I ever need to restore the system? In checking the Microsoft site and two other searches, the only answers I find are “…..will backup all files, programs, etc….” and no mention about emails. I hate to assume that the emails will be backed up only to find that they aren’t after spending the time to do it.

This is an awesome question and the answer’s actually somewhat frustrating.

Your email may or may not be backed up! It really depends on exactly where your email lives. Once we know that, then we can make some more helpful statements.

Read moreWill Backing Up My Computer Back Up My Email?

How Do I Copy Email from Outlook to Gmail?

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I would like to copy all folders in Outlook 2003 to my Gmail account as I’m going to change from XP to Windows 7 soon. I’ve not been able to do this so far although I’ve successfully copied Contacts. In view of the expiration date of XP being soon, this could be a very useful article for a lot of people. Could you please give step-by-step-instructions for how to do this?

There are a couple of possible confusions in this question. Copying existing email to Gmail can be a very useful thing. I’ve done it myself. But I want to make sure you know exactly what it means.

Read moreHow Do I Copy Email from Outlook to Gmail?

How do I deal with one email account on two machines?

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I run a desktop and a laptop. They both have the same email address as my husband and I share this. When the PC is switched on, the emails come into that one, but when the laptop is on, they come into that one if the PC is switched off. Is there any easy way to transfer emails from the laptop to the PC without having to set up a new email address or sending each individual email to myself?

I get variations of this question a lot.

There are a lot of misunderstandings of exactly what email is, where it lives, and what it means to have an email address. Clearing up some of that should help you understand what’s happening here, and also help you decide how you want to handle it.

Read moreHow do I deal with one email account on two machines?

Can I access the mail on my desktop from a networked machine?

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Hi, Leo. Is it possible somehow to access the contents in the email folders in my desktop computer from my network laptop, which is setup with the same email account? The desktop is out of action for the moment but I’d like to check some emails. The operating systems are Windows XP and I’m running Outlook Express.

The default answer is no, particularly for what are likely the default settings in the scenario that you’ve outlined. But there are ways that if things are set up differently, the scenario can in fact be made to work, kind of.

Read moreCan I access the mail on my desktop from a networked machine?

What Are Outlook.com’s IMAP, POP3, and SMTP Settings?

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How do I use Hotmail or Outlook.com with my desktop email program? It wants something about POP3 and SMTP. What should I put in?

With the proliferation of devices running their own email programs, settings for POP3, SMTP, and now more frequently IMAP are a popular request for the various email services.

For a long time, Microsoft didn’t provide the ability to connect to a desktop email program, but they added it to Hotmail a few years ago. With the transition to Outlook.com as Hotmail’s replacement, that functionality remains.

Read moreWhat Are Outlook.com’s IMAP, POP3, and SMTP Settings?