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Gmail IMAP Folder setup

Posted on 2009-04-03
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I've setup Windows Mail with a Gmail account using IMAP.  My question concerns what the difference is between the folders under the [Gmail] heading to the other folders listed.  Under [Gmail] are the folders: All Mail, Drafts, Sent Mail, Spam, Starred, and Trash.  I would very much appreciate help comparing and contrasting these [Gmail] folders to the other ones: Inbox, Drafts, Sent Items, Junk E-mail, Deleted Items and the custom folders I created that correspond to Gmail labels. I've attached a screen-shot.  Thanks!
Gmail-IMAP-Folders.doc
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Question by:Eclectic4242
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by:tigermatt
tigermatt earned 250 total points
ID: 24071085
Hey,

In an attempt to replicate the behaviour you can achieve through Gmail's web interface, Gmail's IMAP interface is a little different to that of a conventional mailbox.

Each of your labels appear as 'Folders' in the IMAP tree; you can drag any message into one (or more) of these 'folders', and it will apply that label to the message. The special Gmail folders, such as 'All Mail' (for archived messages) and 'Starred' are listed under [Gmail] as they are not folders per se. Instead, you can drag a message into 'All Mail', but it will still appear in any of your Label folders too.

The 'Drafts', 'Sent Items', 'Junk E-mail' and 'Deleted Items' folders you see in the main tree (below the "Gmail" header) have been added by Windows Mail and are not Gmail specific. If you want email to appear in the GMail web interface too, you'll need to use the folder structure beneath the [Gmail] header alongside your custom label folders.

There's some very useful information on how to mimic the GMail web interface and perform similar actions, but using an IMAP client, at: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=77657.

-Matt
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Eclectic4242 earned 0 total points
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Thanks, this was very helpful.  I guess if one were to focus solely on the Windows Mail Interface, you could pretty much ignore the folders beneath [Gmail], and even Hide them.  My next mission will be to speed up the process of synchronization.

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by:tigermatt
tigermatt earned 250 total points
ID: 24086107
You can't really ignore them; the Spam folder is below [Gmail]. If you ignore that folder completely, you may miss an email wrongly classified as Spam. Of course, you may not want to review your Spam, in which case, this doesn't apply :-)

If you want to switch between the Gmail interface and Windows Mail, then you'll need to use the folders beneath [Gmail] somewhat; for example, to achieve the 'Archive' concept you'd need to drag messages into the 'All Mail' folder. Similarly, the 'Starred' folder may come in handy.

Other than those exceptions, the other folders beneath [Gmail] probably can be avoided, and you can certainly ignore that folder tree most of the time if you will simply be accessing your mailbox from Windows Mail.

With regards to synchronization, I'd suggest you ask a new question. While the IMAP interface provided by Gmail is the same across all email clients (so I can advise on it), I'm not familiar with Windows Mail's IMAP implementation myself; is it not like Outlook, in that it only downloads the new message headers each time? You seem to imply it re-syncs the whole mailbox at startup.

-Matt
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by:Eclectic4242
ID: 24088304
Thanks again!
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