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Easy way to change SMTP server in Outlook?

Posted on 2004-10-19
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I'm a laptop user, and I use Outlook 2003 as my primary e-mail client for POP e-mail (not Exchange).  The issue is that I move daily between my home network and other random networks (I'm a freelance consultant).  Because my fascist home cable ISP (I don't have a choice... it's the only broadband option) only allows outbound SMTP mail through their own SMTP server, I *have* to use their smtp server when I'm at home.  However, when I'm away from home, I have to use a different SMTP server, since fascist ISP doesn't allow even authenticated relaying.

The "approved" way to do this is to go into Tools - Accounts, and change the SMTP server and SMTP authentication settings.  Believe me, I know how to do this.  But it's a pain in the neck.... I've counted, and it takes 12 clicks to change a single account.  The problem is that I've got several different e-mail accounts, so it's a real pain each time I switch networks.
I've looked for utilities which do this, but have only found one that works with Outlook Express.  I've tried to figure out the registry settings Outlook uses to store SMTP server information so I could write a quick script, but it doesn't appear to store this information in the registry (couldn't find it searching with regedit, and using regmon from sysinternals.com, I determined that Outlook makes no registry writes when you edit account settings).

Yes, I know that there are companies that provide SMTP relaying services on ports other than 25 that will bypass the ISP's filters, but I'm tired of little monthly fees (I already pay for web hosting and such), and I'm not sure I trust someone who's doing it for free.

Ideally, I just want to click on an icon to change SMTP settings.  So... any gurus (or better googlers than I) know a solution?  No, switching away from Outlook isn't an option... I use many Outlook features not found in other POP clients for managing my business.

Question by:robertdana
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

ID: 12352384
Hi robertdana,
> I've counted, and it takes 12 clicks to change a single account.

Interesting.. I am going to look for any solution for you but not sure why it is taking 12 clicks.
btw, where are you starting to count the clicks..

I can do in 6 steps if outlook is open
tools  -- 1
Email accounts -- 2
view or change existing email accounts   -- 3
Next ---- 4
double-click on the account name --- 5
change the outgoing server ---- 6

and then 7 and 8 clicks to come out..

Just a suggestion
LVL 21

Accepted Solution

traval earned 1000 total points
ID: 12352776
I can name that solution in 2 clicks!!!!

.....well, two clicks that you aren't already taking, so let's say "I can name that solution in 2 extra clicks"

1.  Create a different profile for each location that you are at.  Name the profile by the location (ie home, work, whatever)

2.  Include the path to the PST file you are already using in each of the profiles.  Now anything you do in one profile will be visible in the other profiles.

3.  Copy the same account information into each profile, but set the "default" account differently in each profile.  The default account is the account that email will be sent out of unless you tell Outlook differently

4.  Set outlook to prompt you for the profile to use when starting.

Now when you start Outlook (using whatever method you prefer) you will get a small popup asking what profile you want.  Choose the profile (click #1) and then click on OK (click #2) and then you are in Outlook, it is configured to send email correctly thru the desired SMPT server, it can check for incoming email from all email accounts, and any items sent/received/created/deleted etc will be seen in the other profiles when you log into them from another location.

A less complicated solution but which requires more work each time you send a message, click OPTIONS, and check the option to include the FROM field.
LVL 49

Expert Comment

ID: 12352800

You are outlook GOD.. Man , Why did I not even think about this.. damn..

Super .. Super...
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

ID: 12352843

Do you think this will work ?

let us say there is just one profile
create 2 accounts in there in which the difference between those 2 accounts is that both has different smtp server info.


when he logs in , he can go to
tools --> send/receive settings --> define send/receive groups --> double-click on All accounts
and disable send and receive items on one of the accounts....


Author Comment

ID: 12353702
Getting closer!

Re: 12 clicks: I have to turn on user authentication for the SMTP server I use when I leave the office, and turn it back off again when I come back.  That's where the extra clicks come from.

Re: traval's innovative solution.  Very clever!  But I'm not sure I understand entirely... is the purpose of using different profiles to allow me to switch between default accounts, or are the accounts created in the profiles entirely separate?  I ask because simply switching between default accounts isn't helpful... I regularly send e-mail from four different addresses.  But if I could have the same accounts in each profile, just with different SMTP settings, that would work... I'm already switching accounts for each e-mail (based on which address it is supposed to come from).

Your mention of profiles also got me doing some additional searches to try to figure out where profile configuration information is stored, and I ran into this web page:


It describes how a tool in the Outlook Resource Kit from MS can be used to create "PRF" files that can be used to create and modify profiles.  So this looks to be another solution... I could create two different PRF files that modify the appropriate settings in the appropriate accounts, and then set up a couple of scripts that would apply the appopriate one based on which location I'm at.  But I'm not sure if that gets me anything that your profile solution doesn't.

Of course, it would be really cool if I didn't have to close all my Outlook windows to change locations... I bet there's a way to do it in VB.  Anyone?

LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 12361713
No, you don't want to use the Outlook Resource Kit (ORK) for this issue, that is for deploying profiles to large numbers of users, who connect to an exchange server in a corporate environment.

There is no connection between the accounts in one profile, and an account in a different profile with all of the exact same information.  So yes, the difference can just be that the SMTP server name is different.

The reason I mentioned "default" account is because that, if you have more than one internet email account in a profile, all messages will be sent thru the default account (if possible) unless you go thru the steps you don't want to go thru to change how the message gets sent.

Easy way to set this up is to go to the mail icon on the control panel and go to profiles.  Copy the existing profile and give it the name of one of the locations you will be sending from.  Now that profile will have your PST and all of your accounts in it.  Change the SMTP for the profile so it sends correctly, and you are done with that profile.  Now if you need to configure a new location setup, copy the profile, name it for the new location, and change the SMTP setting for it as well.

Really, it takes about 2 minutes to copy the profile, change the SMTP server name, and test sending email with it.  Just give it a try and post back if you have problems.
LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 12412107
While I feel that I included a full and detailed solution that automatically has Outlook configured to use the appropriate SMTP server at various locations, if this isn't working for you it is your responsibility to post back to let us know.  So I don't understand the "b".

Author Comment

ID: 12418220
Sorry bout that... just read the grading guidelines (i'm a relative newbie here), and didn't understand the institutionalized grade inflation practiced here when I closed this.  My bad, I've asked community support to bump it up.


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