Windows Live Mail IMAP failures

Discussion in 'PC Technical Talk' started by Graham J, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. Graham J

    Graham J Guest

    Small business has several Windows 7 PCs, all running Windows Live Mail,
    all configured to use IMAP for a connection to a server at Bluehost.

    Users frequently see messages about failures to connect to the IMAP
    server. Messages can appear on any PC. As a result each PC has a
    different set of received emails; a message might appear on one PC but
    not appear on another for an hour or two.

    Internet connection is via Zen, in a rural location, and achieves about
    3 Mbits/sec download rate. Web browser (either IE9 or IE10) shows web
    pages without problem, although the Bluehost webmail login page is
    sometimes very slow or times out.

    All the users need to see the same emails, so IMAP appears to be the
    protocol of choice. The mail server stores many Mbytes of emails.

    Is the total number of emails a problem with IMAP? Bluehost say there
    is no storage limit?

    Is there a limit to the number of PCs that can access the same IMAP account?


    -- Graham J
    Graham J, Apr 25, 2013
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  2. Graham J

    Martin Smith Guest

    Well, this raises a number of interesting questions:

    total number of emails in an imap account, I suspect this is probably
    very high,
    I have had clients who have said "I must have access to all my 10,000
    emails all the time".

    A limit to the number of connections to the same imap account
    simultaneously, I would have thought that would be one, depending on the
    particular imap server in use, since the server will create a lock file
    when the user connects to it. This is the most likely cause of the
    problem, but as in all things, not necessarily.

    My personal inclination in a situation like this, where the clients
    email requirements are, shall we say, somewhat esoteric, would be to
    have the server in house:
    A linux or FreeBSD box with postfix and dovecot, I think that with the
    clever use of postfix and alias files you could probably get a copy of
    each mail in 7 different accounts. If you have not used postfix before,
    there is a mountain of info, plus a very god mailing list, see for details.
    Then you could throw in squirrelmail on top and they will have a nice
    interface to look at it with.

    It also looks like the connection to Bluehost is a bit iffy, all the
    more reason to get everything local, so fetchmail > postfix > dovecot >
    squirrelmail (or any other mail client).

    You could install and set this up in a day, no problem...

    That is my 2p worth, hope you might find it slightly useful, get back to
    me for further discussion if you wish.
    Martin Smith, Apr 27, 2013
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  3. Graham J

    Graham J Guest

    Thanks for your comments.

    The mail server has several mail folders: an "Inbox" and others for
    filing messages that have been dealt with. The usual error message is a
    "failure to complete" when downloading from one of the folders (not the

    The detail reads: "The server did not respond to this IMAP command
    before the connection was termimated"
    Windows Live Mail error ID: 0x800CCC0F

    I haven't found a timeout setting in Windows Live Mail, which is not to
    say that there isn't one ...

    Google suggests a variety of reasons, none of which match the
    intermittent nature of the errors seen. However, interaction between
    the mail client and the antivirus is a possibility. One machine uses
    free AVG, the others use Bullguard.

    I am fully prepared to believe that Windows Live Mail is the cause of
    the problem. But given the unreliability of webmail on the Bluehost
    server that may also be at least part of the problem.

    The user has no space and no money. So I'm trying to persuade them to
    change their working practises to use POP3 mail collection, and have one
    person with one computer responsible for dealing with all emails.

    I doubt that I will have any success ...
    Graham J, Apr 27, 2013
  4. Graham J

    Martin Smith Guest

    that sounds like a good idea
    but as we know good ideas are rarely popular :)
    Martin Smith, Apr 27, 2013
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