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Journal: Outlook Express/Windows Mail Imap and Google

Journal by fast turtle

God Damn Microsoft. I thought they solved the GUI Resource Handler problems when they moved everyone over to XP but it looks like they didn't as I can easily hang the entire system when using Imap and Outlook Express (they've renamed it Windows Mail) when attempting to access the All Mail folder on my Gmail account using Imap.

Now some of the problem could simply be the Imap protocol itself due to the large number of messages Google Reports (8K+) in the folder but I don't see why in hell Outlook Express should hang the entire System. Sure hang itself out to dry as I've seen Kmail 3.5.10 hang when trying to access the same Imap folder but never a full system hang as Outlook Express caused.

It took some investigating and trying different settings but I finally did solve the system hang issue and yes it's related to the Imap protocol and how Windows handles things. The problem is that Outlook Express/Windows Mail and even Outlook all do things the same way. They attempt to cache all of the messages in the Offline Files Cache, which means they attempt to download all 8K+ messages. God Damn MS Idiots. The solution is damn simple though once you realize what in hell the problem is. Simply change the folder synchronization settings from all messages to headers only. They come down the pipe very quickly and don't take up much space in the offline cache. The reason you want this is to allow for searching/indexing of the messages under Outlook/Outlook Express/Windows Mail since when you select a specific message, it will be downloaded instead of attempting to download all of them. Problem solved for the time being.

Personally, I think MS royally screwed up (as usual) by having the default behavior set to download all messages in Outlook Express/Windows Mail. Note that this is a good thing with Outlook as most who are using it are probably in an Office Environment with a dedicated connection to the mail server, unlike those using Outlook Express/Windows Mail and yes the distinction is important to keep in mind. Of course Outlook/OE/WM all use the same sapisrv.exe/dll to grab your mail but it's the default client configuration that needs to be reworked to prevent such a problem in the future and I hope MS gets off their tail and pushes it as an update to Windows Mail.

Now having started working with the Imap setup in Windows Mail, I'm pretty happy with the usefulness of it due to the combination of Offline caching and direct access to my Gmail files. The advantage is the space savings I now have (don't have an offline copy of all 8K+ files) though I can see the disadvantage should Gmail suffer another outage though I'm not that badly addicted to email.

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