Outlook or Thunderbird problem

Although I am personally a fan of web-based e-Mail systems, I totally understand that if you have several e-Mail accounts [lots of good reasons] then you want all of your e-Mail in one place or one APP.

Outlook and Thunderbird [two examples] are popular programs or APPs which do this very well.

Until, of course, they don’t !

Before the arrival of web-based e-Mail or frankly good systems such as gMail or Outlook [MS] Live most people used to download their e-Mail onto their PC and send/receive. This is sometimes called syncing and for most people [most of the time] this should take seconds and will be un-noticeable to the average user.

But what happens when it all goes a bit [Pete Tong**] ? And why ?

First of all: the big mis-understanding [unless you are Geek Squad] is that you are somehow downloading [and therefore removing] e-Mails from your ISP or e-Mail host. You’re NOT. You are just taking a copy onto your local PC/Laptop/Device. The e-Mail still exists on the ISP’s server or think of it as your real e-Mail Server. Your Outlook or Thunderbird / APP is just a program which has a copy or mirror.

Is this a good thing ?

Yes it is: because if something happens or were to happen with your PC/Laptop then all of your e-Mail will be magically restored onto your new computer/device. So now that we understand this why or how can it all go wrong ?

If you use the web-based system then it won’t because the settings [sic.] are on the real server [the ISP] and any minor changes the ISP may deem to make will be entirely transparent to you as a user. The same is true for many web-based systems [e.g web-browsers such as Chrome]. They are forever at the controls [Withnail and I fans]; mind you I haven’t seen Branson down at the Labour Exchange recently ?

So you wake up one morning and suddenly your local e-Mail system has gone South ? But the web-based one seems fine. This is because your ISP has quite wisely made a change or two to their systems which poor old Outlook or Thunderbird doesn’t know about. This could be a major change such as moving from POP3 to iMAP.

So how do I fix this ?

  1. Check that your ISP does have your e-Mails – log onto your webMail account with your ISP
  2. In your local e-Mail APP [Outlook/TB] delete [yes] the account which is not working. You will lose all the e-Mails from this LOCAL account. AAAGGGHH!!!
  3. Remember your ISP still has them [Phew !]
  4. Create a new e-Mail account in your APP with the just deleted account details [e-Mail address and password is all you need]
  5. Your account and ALL of the e-Mails will be restored with the correct and new settings
  6. Why doesn’t he retire ?

It really does work, but always check [1] first.




** or Keith Vaz as I understand is the new slang



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