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I'm the developer for my company and we've changed our hosting company, so our email server is changing as well. So I've sent out a message that all employees should please use POP3 settings on Outlook accounts so that their emails are saved on their machines. After that, I will send them the settings of the new server.

But how does it work in Outlook really? If they change their settings and now log in using the new server's settings, are they able to function as before, seeing the same old emails they were able to see from the old server? So for example if a user has 10 emails from server1, and then changes his settings to connect to server2 and signs in with these new settings, is he still able to see the old 10 emails from server1 sitting in his inbox as before?

Or does he have to sign in to his old account to access his old emails again?

The main concern here is about not losing any emails.

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If your company can justify the cost of hiring at least one developer, then maybe you could afford a good consultant for a day who would tell you what a BAD idea it is to run your email this way. – symcbean Apr 2 '13 at 13:25
why is it a bad idea? what's a better way to run email? Our website and emails were hosted by Yahoo! but we are now switching to InMotion Hosting. Most of the company's employees used Outlook. I would have loved to do a change on Yahoo to help them mass-migrate to the new server but there's no such option on Yahoo. – user961627 Apr 2 '13 at 13:34
At your scale this is about the only migration option that makes much sense. You could bring in a consultant to help, but odds are not in their favor of creating more value than they cost. Watch for single points of failure (mainly that you only have a single copy of each person's email, and no backups) and particularly that the end users don't have an "oops" moment (double so without tested backups). – Chris S Apr 2 '13 at 13:39
Maintaining your email on the local machine means 1) no centralized backup management 2) no smart handling of 'out of office'/automatic delegation 3) innefficient use of network bandwidth 4) complications with policy management (partic. anti-malware) 5) No remote access to mailboxes....I could go on. – symcbean Apr 2 '13 at 16:17
This question is only about a temporary step on the way to migrating emails to a new server. – user961627 Apr 6 '13 at 7:27
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If they are using POP3, they will have an Inbox stored on their local machine. With POP3, mail is downloaded to the client machine (whether it is deleted on the server, or deleted locally depend on client configuration). So the mail will remain on the client's machine even if they change the server properties. New mail received on server 1 will not be downloaded though.

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that's fine I understand this, my question is - are server1's emails stored on the same account? So once they've switched to server2, will their inbox now consist BOTH of old server1 mails and new server2 mails? – user961627 Apr 2 '13 at 13:35
Yes one account will have both server1 and server2's mail, if they just change the settings of the account. If they create a new account, they would have a second account with the mail from the new server, although they could make use of shared folders to have the mail end up in the same folders (which isn't exactly the same thing). – NickW Apr 2 '13 at 13:38
thanks - that's what i was looking for. – user961627 Apr 2 '13 at 13:43

No you will not lose any e-mail if you change the server settings.

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