Outlook has a duplicate and disappearing mail bug and how to fix it
We are told to always update our software to prevent hackers and bugs from ruining our computer systems. Unfortunately, after the latest Microsoft Update for Office, a serious bug has occurred for those users who are using POP3 to fetch their mail in Outlook 2016.
What is POP3 vs. IMAP?
When you open your Outlook (or any other email program) on your phone or on your computer, you have a choice to either use POP or IMAP when you are setting up your account. The difference between the two systems is what happens to your email after the device gets or fetches the new email.
With POP you pull the email and it is (usually) deleted off the mail server. This used to be the most common way to get your email as mailboxes in he past had a size limit and by using POP you removed emails from the mailbox therefore keeping it nice and clear.
Downside: with POP as soon as you fetch your email on one device, you can no longer access that mail on another. So if you have a mobile phone and your computer at the office or home is pulling your email, the mobile phone will not see any new emails. Also the downside to POP is that you have to back up your own email system as all your emails are now only on your computer.
Email has largely progressed and we have multiple devices which all need to view the same emails. Therefore IMAP is a better system as it doesn’t remove emails from the server but it synchronises the emails across all devices. If you read an email on one, it will be marked as Read on the other.
Downside: as everything is synchronized to the server, your internet speed can impact how smoothly your mail runs.
So what’s the BUG in Outlook 2016 POP ?
If you use POP, the way we get around not seeing the same email on or mobile phone AND on our computer is by leaving a copy of all new emails on the server. Therefore, when the phone checks to see if there is a new email it will find the mails and when the computer checks for new emails it too will find the same email.
The problem is that after the latest update, Outlook deletes ALL the mail on the server once it has downloaded it regardless if you told the system to leave a copy on the server.
There is none. Or at least there isn’t a permanent one but there is a work around until a new update is released.
In Outlook click File and Account Settings and you should see a screen like this:
Double-Click on your Name which will open the Setting screen for your account.
Now click on More Settings (bottom right button) and then Advance (Tab at the top)
Un-tick the option that says: “Remove from server after 14 days”
Now click on OK and now all your mail will be left on the server so you can access it from the various devices. Note: this is a temporary fix so if you have a limited size mailbox, you will need to go and delete these mails.
Problem number 2:
Some people (myself included) have discovered that the same emails are being downloaded repeatedly. Therefore the only way for not to have these multiple emails is to remove all emails from the server and NOT leave a copy of the message on the server.
It will stop the multiple downloads of the same emails but will not allow you to see the same emails from multiple devices.
Microsoft is working on a solution but until then follow the steps above and you should regain your email sanity.
*headline image from Shutterstock.com