How To: Fix Outgoing Email for IMAP Accounts in Windows 8 / RT Mail

Windows 8 / RT Metro Mail App

The Metro-style Mail app in Windows 8 / RT works well enough for Exchange accounts and email hosted on Outlook.com, Gmail, and the like.  But the app has no support at all for POP3 accounts and a broken implementation of IMAP.  POP is arguably an old, outdated tech (despite many ISPs still using it exclusively), but IMAP is still the primary email protocol for non-Exchange servers, so it’s a problem.

Read on after the break for a workaround for one of the app’s bugs.

In one of the situations users have encountered with IMAP accounts in Win 8 Mail, incoming email will show up, but any emails sent from the app never actually send, remaining stuck in outbox.  To make matters worse, you can never delete the emails from the outbox, so they’re permanently stuck there.

This typically happens for accounts for which the SMTP server URL differs from the URL listed in the SSL certificate.  If you were to set up such an account in Microsoft Outlook, you’d get this message:

 

 

In Outlook and other email clients, you can skip past such an error, and everything will work fine.  Even Windows Phone 7.x’s Mail app has no issue with such accounts (then again, that app can handle POP3 too!).  The Windows 8 / RT Mail app, however, seems to get stuck for some reason.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. If you have any emails stuck in the outbox that you don’t want sent, uninstall and reinstall the Mail app  [Edit: apparently disabling all network connections lets you delete the stuck emails too- thanks Stephan!]
  2. Open the command prompt
  3. Ping the SMTP server URL you’ve entered for your account: 
  4. The ping command will show the IP address of the SMTP server URL– do a reverse IP lookup on the address by typing “ping -a [IP address]”
  5. Look at the URL listed after “Pinging”
  6. Enter that URL into the Mail app as the SMTP server address

You should be home free at this point.

Of course, this doesn’t fix the Mail app’s other issues (e.g. for IMAP special folders (sent/drafts/trash), the app seems to pick a random set of folders from the server as options, usually the wrong ones), but hopefully Microsoft will address those at some point.

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