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  POP is arguably an old, outdated tech (despite many ISPs still using it exclusively), but IMAP is still the primary email protocol for non-Exchange servers, so it’s a problem.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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3 Responses

  1. Stephan says:

    There's another way to get rid of those mails stuck in Windows 8 Mail App Outbox: Disable all network connections. Then it's possible to delete the mails in the outbox.

  2. David says:

    For those that still can't get this to work, I have some further information:

    I still could not get my SMTP send to work with the above instructions. I found out that my mail provider (Dreamhost) uses self signed certificates for their mail servers. This means that they are not issued by a trusted root authority such as Verisign/Entrust/etc. and are therefor not verified by these built-in trusted root authorities. They are actually issued by the mail providers own trusted root authority and can only be verified by that specific trusted root authority. Windows 8/RT was still not happy with the certificates,

    To overcome this problem, request from your mail provider their own trusted root authority certificate (often, this can be found and downloaded in the wiki or support section of their website) and install it into your Windows 8/RT Trusted Root Authority certificate store. You can do this by downloading the certificate onto your desktop, double-clicking, and selecting the Trusted Root Authorities certificate store.

    As soon as I did this, SMTP began to work, and the messages in my outbox were sent. Hope this help – good luck!

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