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Better IMAP in Outlook 2010

One of the things we have improved in Outlook 2010 is IMAP accounts. IMAP is a protocol that is used by many e-mail services, including Gmail and AOL. If your e-mail service supports IMAP, you can use Outlook to access your e-mail.

Here are some of the IMAP improvements in Outlook 2010:

Automatic configuration

If you have an e-mail account that supports IMAP, your account can be automatically configured in Outlook 2010. All you need to set up your account in Outlook 2010 is your e-mail address and password. Outlook uses the Sent Items and Deleted Items folders on the e-mail server automatically so that you can view items in those folders from other computers and devices.

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Better deleting

In prior versions of Outlook, a deleted IMAP message appeared in the message list with a strikethrough to indicate that the message was marked for delete. To delete the message from the mail server required a purge command. In Outlook 2010, when you delete a message it moves to the Deleted Items folder — the same behavior as with other account types.

(For you IMAP experts out there — if your server supports UIDPLUS, the message is immediately purged from the source folder using UID EXPUNGE. Without UIDPLUS support, the message is marked for delete, hidden from view, and then purged automatically the next time you exit Outlook or switch folders.)

Full messages

Instead of initially downloading only message headers, in Outlook 2010, full messages are downloaded by default. This enables you to work with all of your mail items, even when a connection to the mail server isn’t available. For performance reasons, headers are downloaded immediately, and full messages are downloaded every 30 minutes.

Better performance

We have heard loud and clear that you want a quicker, snappier IMAP experience in Outlook. We improved IMAP performance in Outlook 2010 in several ways.  For example, if you click a message header, Outlook remains responsive while the full message is downloaded.  We have also optimized scenarios like marking messages as read.

We are proud of our IMAP improvements in Outlook 2010, and we want to hear what you think. If you have been using the Outlook 2010 Beta with IMAP, how has your experience been?

Andy Brauninger
Outlook Program Manager

More info on Outlook IMAP:

Demystifying email protocols: Crabby’s Daily Tip