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We are using Outlook Express to access mail through a POP3 server. The problem is that every now and then, Outlook Express starts downloading all old emails, which amounts to tens of thousands of emails. This happens on every single computer (three) at the office.

Is this caused by our OE configuration? Or by our hosting?

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2  
The problem is that you use Outlook Express. (I'm serious.) –  grawity Jul 30 '09 at 9:29
1  
No, not necessary OE: could be server related –  splattne Jul 30 '09 at 11:48
    
I have been getting this happen, and just recently over 9,000 came in. I checked the settings in OE and the box to leave on server is not checked. What i have discovered though is that all the messages are addressed to our original email address which we stopped using and started a fresh account because the other one was getting flooded with spam which was getting out of control.our server told us that they couldnt delete the original account.?/ Why,-i dont know so i am going to contact them again as last time i reported it to them they said they could not see anything that indicated that the –  user69663 Feb 6 '11 at 2:14

7 Answers 7

up vote -1 down vote accepted

OE is retaining your messages for some reason. Check the option to remove messages (or to remove messages after X days). I'm on Vista w/ WinMail so I don't recall where that setting is, exactly.

I also recommend IMAP over POP, simply b/c it's easier to use multiple computers to check your mail, and you see the same messages regardless which computer you use.

Hope that helps!

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A quick fix that you can do is go onto your mailserver (or whatever source is sending you the 5000 emails to download) and create a new folder (i.e. old inbox). Then move all of the messages to that folder. That will fix the problem because there will be nothing to download. This fixed my problem.

Whats happening is you have a corrupted email, this happens only with POP. If you use IMAP it will never happen, but with imap you cannot store copies on the server...

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When starting with a new mail profile (which gets created when you configure your new computer), Outlook is unaware of what has been downloaded already by another mail profile. That is why Outlook starts to download all the messages again.

Update: Outlook 2010 stores the download history in the pst-file itself and should not re-download the mails when you configured Outlook to download your mails to your existing pst-file instead of a new one.

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Outlook/Outlook Express is known to be buggy when emails on POP3 accounts are not deleted after downloading them. Check the settings and see if they messages should be left on the server or deleted.

If Outlook is configured to delete message after downloading them there is a server side problem and you should contact the mail server admin to find out what's happening.

If emails are intentionally being left on the server you will experience multiple downloads of the same messages when Outlook loses track of where it's at. Microsoft have known about this problem since Outlook Express was first released but don't appear too interested in fixing it. Your options are:

* Configure Outlook to delete the messages after downloading them
* Stop using POP3
* Use a different email client
share|improve this answer

Outlook/Outlook Express is known to be buggy when emails on POP3 accounts are not deleted after downloading them. Check the settings and see if they messages should be left on the server or deleted.

If Outlook is configured to delete message after downloading them there is a server side problem and you should contact the mail server admin to find out what's happening.

If emails are intentionally being left on the server you will experience multiple downloads of the same messages when Outlook loses track of where it's at. Microsoft have known about this problem since Outlook Express was first released but don't appear too interested in fixing it. Your options are:

  • Configure Outlook to delete the messages after downloading them
  • Stop using POP3
  • Use a different email client
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There are a couple of events that can cause this in my experience:

  • If OE fails to download one in a series of waiting messages. Which may be prompted by a couple of known bugs, depending on your POP3 server implementation - NUL characters in messages and missing end of headers-line. Then on the next connection attempt it will re-download everything in the POP3 store all over again.

  • The UIDLs of existing messages changed on the server. Either they were recreated or changed in format. Can be caused by a change in POP3 server implementations. But if you're continuing to see this behaviour over a long period of time then I don't suppose that is the case.

You say that it results in tens-of-thousands of messages being downloaded. Which indicates that you are using "leave on server" and should follow Mike's advice about IMAP!

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Only reason this could be is if your POP3 server is retaining (or restoring) the messages.

Normally once your OE has downloaded the mail, it's deleted from the server. You can configure it to leave it on the server, in which case it keeps track of the UIDL of the last downloaded message so that it knows which ones it already has, and only downloads new ones. If you have it configured this way and the UIDL is being lost, that would cause it to download all messages again.

So, the first question is do you have OE configured to leave a copy of the email on the server? If you do, and it's by intention (perhaps because you want any or all three workstations to get all emails) you might want to consider using an IMAP server instead.

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UIDL great explanation! +1 –  Marco Demaio Jul 21 '11 at 17:48

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