Perhaps one of the most annoying things about Outlook 2010 is the fact that some of its functions don’t work with IMAP server connections. When you add an IMAP account to Microsoft Outlook 2010, you end up with a number of problems; one of the most annoying being that the notifications don’t work. I’ll teach you how to add those notifications in a later article. Today, I want to talk about a dilemma many people face with their IMAP accounts on Outlook 2010 involving an error that says that the IMAP server has closed the connection.
Understanding The Problem
IMAP connections aren’t like POP3 connections. They’re much more complicated. An IMAP transaction usually involves a handshake, a retrieval, and a steady connection that consistently retrieves new mail. Because of this, the connection is sometimes severed, either by the server (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) or Outlook itself. There are a number of reasons why this happens.
Gmail users complain the most about IMAP issues in Outlook 2010. This happens because Google’s mail retrieval system works slightly different than what Outlook’s used to. In order to solve this problem, you would have to modify the connection timeout value present in Outlook. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Another cause: Anomalies found by Outlook often provoke the IMAP server to close the connection. In this instance, you should check for duplicate folder names, duplicate contact entries, or anything else that doesn’t add up in your email account. This is by far the most necessary step to take before assuming that the problem could be caused by something else.
Here’s one problem that can’t be solved at all: Outlook 2010 tends to open more than one IMAP session in many instances. Some servers don’t like this. In this case, you’ll just have to wait until either your email provider works around it, or Microsoft compensates for this in the next version of Outlook.
Fixing The Gmail Problem
You can’t really “fix” the problem found in Gmail if you’re using Outlook 2010. There is, though, a way to try to reduce the amount of errors that appear. I personally had this error appear on me like every hour or so. I managed to reduce the error instances to once per day with the following workaround:
- Go to “File” and “Account settings.”
- Select the email account you’d like to change the settings for and click “Change.”
- Click “More settings” near the bottom right side of the dialog window.
- Click the “Advanced” tab and move the slider under “Server Timeouts” to the far right. This makes the timeout last 10 minutes, meaning that Outlook will wait for a data stream from Google for that amount of time.
And once you click “OK,” you’ll be all set! But before you sigh a breath of relief, do know that it might not always work. For some reason, there are mysterious forces that act behind this. Google’s always tweaking its stuff, so it might just stop working at one point, and start working again after a week. Been there, done that. But at least, for now, the errors become much more tolerable, and sometimes are completely eliminated. If I find a better solution, I’ll be posting it up on the comments section below. Don’t hesitate to write some suggestions yourself!