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POP vs IMAP differences in Outlook.

Posted on 2011-03-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-11
Currently have a number of users with Outlook 2007 and pop accounts.

The recommendations I see are to use IMAP accounts. However, the users are use to using the pop accounts. What are the differences the users are seeing and what would be the suggested training? I understand that one difference is IMAP uses Purge.
Question by:techcodr
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Mal Osborne
ID: 35186681
POP3 generally sends credentials in clear text, while IMAP generally does not, this can have big security implications.

POP3 also only allows syncing of your inbox, while IMAP lets you sync subfolders  & sent titems etc.
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Premkumar Yogeswaran
ID: 35186890

General difference:

POP3 = download to client
IMAP = sync w/ client, and vice versa

Refer link below for more detail


Expert Comment

ID: 35187689

Your end users will not really notice any difference.  Yes, you can sync sub folders and select the folders that you want to subscribe to but essentially Outlook makes it look the same as POP3.  With POP3 you set up an PST file to deliver mail into.  With IMAP you use an OST (a cache) file but essentially they amount to the same thing.

Depending on what IMAP server you are using you can also create shared ("Public") folders that all end users can see - POP3 just does not do that at all.  IMAP is an improvement to the POP3 system.  As previously stated most POP3 implementations are clear text authentication where as most IMAP implementations tend to use SSL or TLS to add security ... although you could beef up POP3 should you wish to.

I don't think you will need to re-train your users.  You certainly wouldn't need them know anything about the underlying infrastructure - just general Outlook usage should be fine.

Hope this helps

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Author Comment

ID: 35195655
The question was regarding what the users will see and not about the POP vs IMAP advantages.

No, I not looking for users to know about underlying structure. Users probably do not understand clear text authentication much less worry about that.

I already had a group say they do not want IMAP account so the users are seeing something and specifically the Purge command was pointed out. That particular group had both types of emails. That group may like the public folders Pr1z pointed out if the IMAP server being used can do that.

Just the nature of the fact POP emails are downloaded will look different from the IMAP staying on the mail server

Originally, everyone had POP accounts, then the new account were IMAP. I only put myself on a IMAP account yesterday

Accepted Solution

Pr1z earned 2000 total points
ID: 35196274
Most clients can be configured to either move a deleted message to the deleted item folder and/or configured to issue a purge automatically when you change folder.

I am really surprised that they saw a difference.

Mail being stored on the server is a bonus. If I am using a mobile phone to read my mail and I lose it I can still read my messages from a PC.

Sounds like you are going to have a battle.  At the end of the day I would consider this change progress.


Author Comment

ID: 35208790
The first thing I noticed about the new IMAP account is that Outlook placed the IMAP emals in a separate folder. So the first thing an user will probably say is that they do not get email because they do not notice there are new folder in Outlook. The first question becomes how can the IMAP email be put into the same inbox folder as the POP email?

The next thing I notice that when I delete an email, Outlook draws a line through the email. Which brings me around to you statement. The next question becomes how do I configure Outlook so deleting an email does cause Outlook to delete the email on the IMAP server as well as locally so the user has the same effect as delete a POP email which is already was deleted from the POP server?

Only the very top management have a smart phone so in most cases the users would not know about the smart phone operation..


Expert Comment

ID: 35229889

Yes the mail delivery is different, I tend to delete the Shorcut to the PST inbox and replace it with a shortcut to the IMAP inbox as a matter of course when I set up a PC for IMAP use - didn't think about it sorry.

The Outlook 2010 Help file says the following (
Restore deleted messages when using an IMAP account
Show AllHide All
The first time you delete an item in an IMAP (IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol): Unlike Internet e-mail protocols such as POP3, IMAP creates folders on a server to store/organize messages for retrieval by other computers. You can read message headers only and select which messages to download.) account in Microsoft Outlook 2010, you are prompted to choose one of two ways to handle the deleted items:

Messages are marked for deletion      Messages marked for deletion are displayed in strikethrough text and are not moved from their original folder.
Deleted messages are moved to a folder that you specify     This is consistent with other account types in Outlook and with deleted items behavior in other common software. It also helps give better results when you access your e-mail account using other e-mail programs.

If you use Google Gmail as an IMAP account, messages marked for deletion are permanently deleted from their original folder but may still appear there in strikethrough text. These messages are still recoverable because a copy is kept in the Gmail Trash folder.
You may still see strikethrough messages even if you have chosen to move deleted messages to another folder. This can happen because the IMAP server might recognize only messages marked for deletion, while the message is moved to the specified folder only within Outlook.
If you don't want to see messages marked for deletion, on the View tab, in the Current View group, click Change View and then click Hide messages marked for deletion.

I am afraid I do't have a 2007 PC kicking around to check if it is the same :-(

Hope this helps


Author Comment

ID: 35232709
The Office 2010 Deleted messages are moved to a folder that you specify sounds like what I am looking for. However, that doesn’t seem available in Office 2007.

I did not move to Office 2010 because at the time the Apple Mobileme did not support Office 2010.  Mobileme is what the top management used to sync their iphones with Outlook. I also did not know what other applications were not supported. I do not know if Apple Mobileme did start supporting 2010.

We are not talking about Gmail IMAP.

It appears that I will have to instruct the users that they have to use the Purge command and the IT staff should add that button to the file menu. Currently, in Office 2007 there just doesn’t seem to be a way to have a POP delete effect for an IMAP email in the inbox. Looks like deleting an IMAP email in the inbox will have to be two steps: Delete then Purge.

In addition, the Outlook seems to set up for POP folders whether or not there is a POP account. I took Outlook 2003 that was not configured and created an IMAP account. Outlook created two in folders. There does not seem to be a way to have the POP emails and IMAP emails in the same inbox. It seems that one could move other folders except the in folder. But the initial setup seems to be a POP account and the IMAP account is added on later.

Expert Comment

ID: 35232926
Just found this a little further down the same page:

Change what happens to deleted IMAP items
To change what happens to deleted items in your IMAP folders:
1.Click the File tab.
2.Click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings.
3.On the E-mail tab, click the IMAP account that you want to change, then click Change and then click More Settings.
4.On the Deleted Items tab, do one of the following:
To have deleted items moved to another folder, select Move deleted items to the following folder on the server and then click the folder that you want the items moved to.
To mark deleted items but not move them, select Mark items for deletion but do not move them automatically.

Like I said, I don't have a 2007 Outlook client running I can see if it is the same for.  I believe the "Purge items while switching folders" option can be found via Edit ==> Purge ==> Purge Options in Outlook 2007.

The 2 PST thing is to do with an incompatibility between MS Outlook native objects and the IMAP protocol.  Unfortunately you will need 2 PST files one for mail and one for Appointments/Contacts/Tasks/Journals etc.



Author Comment

ID: 35283578
I can not find a Deleted Items tab. I assume that is for Office 2010

Under General tab,there is a check box for Purge items when switching whilte online
When you switch to another folder, the items marked for deletion in the original folder are permanently removed when switching folders offline.

That is apparently the best I can do.

Author Comment

ID: 38072572
It is time to close this question.

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