We have a client who, like most of our clients, uses our hosting for both website and email and like many of our clients he uses IMAP rather than POP3 to access his emails. IMAP means that the emails are synchronised with the PC but actually stay on the server, this means that you can easily access them from a different machine if yours isn’t available.
This all works perfectly in most cases and with most email clients but one laptop (the boss’s laptop of course) didn’t work as normal. The problem machine runs Windows Vista and uses Microsoft Mail as the email client.
Sent Items are stored in Local Folders
Incoming emails are stored in the IMAP folders as normal but outgoing emails are stored locally, the Sent Items folder isn’t on the IMAP server but instead is on the local hard disk. It limits the usefulness of IMAP if your sent emails aren’t stored centrally too.
The problem only seems to occur with Windows Mail, in this case on Windows Vista but I assume that it could also affect anyone using Windows Mail on Windows 7. Other email clients like Mozilla Thunderbird don’t have the same problem.
Telling Windows Mail to store Sent Items on the IMAP Server
The following solution works on our mail servers, we have a reseller account with Hostgator so a lot of other servers will have a similar setup.
- In Windows Mail Click on the Tools menu
- Then click on Accounts
- Select your IMAP account from the list of accounts
- Click Properties
- Then click the IMAP tab, you will get a window like the picture to the right.
- Type Inbox in the Root Folder Path box.
- Make sure that Store special folders on IMAP server is selected
- You should also change the 4 path names to match those actually used by your server, so Sent Items should be changed to Sent, Deleted Items to Trash…
If you don’t do this everything will still work ok but you will end up with some sent items (from Windows Mail) in the Sent Items folder and others (from other email clients or from Webmail) in the Sent folder.
- Save your changes, Windows Mail will need to rebuild your folder list but from now on any emails you send should be stored on the IMAP server rather than in Local Folders. It is a good idea to move the contents of your Local Sent Items folder to the new IMAP Sent folder