We help IT Professionals succeed at work.
Troubleshooting Question

Outlook using IMAP Problems

116 Views
Last Modified: 2020-11-19
Since I switched to IMAP since August I been having issues with Outlook not receiving emails. let me state the order of issues:
1.Outlook stops receiving emails all of the sudden. Right now it is 2158 hrs EST and the last email I received was ~1400 hrs today 110520.

2.There is a grayed out Outlook icon in the task bar with an x on it that says " OUTLOOK IS CLOSING " when I hover over it with the mouse.

3.When I close Outlook and go to the task manager-user's tab-expand that-then look for Microsoft Outlook-Right click on it-End task. Then Restart Outlook and everything starts working back as before.
Can someone tell me why am I having these issues with IMAP? What is the solution?

Thank you,

Basem Khawaja










Comment
Watch Question

Mal OsborneAlpha Geek
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
My guess is that a port is being blocked, or IMAP is no longer enabled on the mail server you are using.

IMAP uses port 143. IMAPS (the more secure version) uses 993.

Check that your ISP or corporate firewall is allowing these ports, and that IMAP is enabled on your mail server.


Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
"Check that your ISP or corporate firewall is allowing these ports, and that IMAP is enabled on your mail server."

I do not have a corporate firewall. I moved recently and I use Verizon Fios but I had the same issue also when I had AT&T as well.

How do I check if  IMAP is enabled on your mail server ?
David FavorFractional CTO
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
If you're running latest Outlook, it's highly unlikely this is an Outlook problem. If it were, many people would be reporting the same issue.

Upgrade Outlook, if any updates are available.

Likely this relates to the IMAP server where you're connecting.

If you own the IMAP server, then refer to your IMAP logs for reason for failure.

If you don't own the server, then you'll open a trouble ticket with the IMAP server owner, as log file debugging is required to understand problem.

If this is an intermittent problem (works for a while, then occurs), it's unlikely this is a firewall issue. Almost surely a flakey/glitchy IMAP server.
David FavorFractional CTO
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Aside: If you're not running your own IMAP server, setting up an IMAP server only takes a few hours, then runs unattended afterward.

Just lease a $5/month KimSufi server + Ubuntu Focal (as OS) + install the dovecot-imap package.

Only take you a few minutes to setup an https://LetsEncrypt.org cert, point your DNS at the machine, have a working IMAP server.

Running your own server provides access to all logs, all the time, so anytime a problem occurs, you can find + fix the problem quickly.
Mohammed BasheerInfrastructure Administrator
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
If you have webmail to access your mail server, verify it's accessible and you setup the IMAP ports and server information correctly.

Temporarily stop your antivirus and see that helps.

Outlook upgrading or updating is another troubleshooting step, as stated above.

Do you have a reliable Internet connectivity that  stay uninterrupted till the IMAP syncing is over? Try from a different internet connection.
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
David,

"If you don't own the server, then you'll open a trouble ticket with the IMAP server owner, as log file debugging is required to understand problem".

How do I open a trouble ticket? No I do not own a server. My email can be accessed from the mail.yahoo.com website. Outlook is already upgraded. I have Microsoft 365 annual subscription that I pay for so that I always have the latest updates.

Mohammed BasheerInfrastructure Administrator
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
For the 'Outlook is closing' issue, The reason could be some addons interfering.
Try running Outlook in Safe mode. Run the 'Outlook.exe /safe'.
Check the outlook is closing normally.

Disable any addons such as Skype, Teamviewer, Antivirus etc. from File> Options>Add-ins>Comm Add-ins>Go. and restart outlook.

Hope that helps.
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Hi Basem.

Any chance you could post a video capturing exactly when this is happening? Include the entire process from start to finish if that's possible.

Thanks,

Andrew
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Andrew,

I would love to but the problem is it would be working when I left it last say few hours or over night then when I come back I get the greyed out icon of Outlook is closing in the task bar just as I had posted my screen captures.

Thank you,

Basem Khawaja
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Mohammed,

Outlook closes on it's own without a previous indication to when it will do that. Here are the add-ins that I have checked in . tell me if anyone of them could be causing the issue.

Thank you,

Basem Khawaja



Mohammed BasheerInfrastructure Administrator
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
Those add-ins looks fine.
What happened running Outlook in safe mode?

what are the average sizes of emails you received these days? are there huge attachments. This will cause sync delays. Internet connection instability make things worse.
David FavorFractional CTO
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Tip: Whenever I work a problem like this, my sequence is this.

1) Test IMAP server using openssl to manually generate a session.

2) In #1, run the IMAP list command to list out new files in a folder.

3) If #2 is correct, problem is with client (Outlook) accessing server.

4) If #2 is incorrect, there's a server problem.

Said differently, do enough testing you have a known starting point.

Right now, it's unclear if you have a IMAP (server) problem or Outlook (client) problem.

Generating a manual session will tell you in < 60 seconds whether problem is server or client, so you have a starting point.

Starting Point Guessing == Waste of time.

Starting Point Known == Fast problem resolution.
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
David,

Thank you for your suggested solution but it is too technical for me to do. Do you have a simpler way of explaining things to me?

Thank you,

Basem Khawaja
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Mohammed,

The emails are not huge. I do not get large attachments that often.
Jazz KaurTechnical Support Specialist
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
Even though you have the subscription, I would double check regarding Office updates, this guide at may help if you have not checked before:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/install-office-updates-2ab296f3-7f03-43a2-8e50-46de917611c5

Should be a last resort, but you could potentially try rebuilding your.ost file. Sometimes the ost file can become corrupted where you stop receiving mail.
Example:

https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/29193573/I-think-my-ost-file-is-corrupted.html
 
Jazz KaurTechnical Support Specialist
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
Did you also test temporarily switching your antivirus off (MalwareBytes) as Mohammed suggested? 
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Jazz,

No I did not turn off the AV or MWB. I am afraid the PC might get infected. Turn off the protection for how long anyway?
Jazz KaurTechnical Support Specialist
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
You have Windows 10 which comes with Windows Defender. So technically it would be protected as long as that’s not disabled at the time, unsure what state Windows Defender is like on your computer if you launch it from the start menu search and it states disabled then you have to set MWB to Never register in the Action Center which can be changed to register again once the test is complete.

You could disable real-time protection in MWB and also turn off MWB to never register if Windows Defender is disabled (see second linked KB article).

You said it tends to happen overnight so try for at least one day perhaps, but keep Windows Defender enabled.You can then just switch everything back again for MWB to run in real-time again or as your primary.

KB Process Articles:


Here are example cases of MWB potentially causing Outlook email problems:
  1. https://forums.malwarebytes.com/topic/186607-thunderbird-imap-was-blocked-by-mwb/
  2. https://forums.malwarebytes.com/topic/196951-exploit-protection-crashing-ms-dc office-applications/
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Jazz,

Let me work on what you suggested and see what happens. Thank you so much.
Jazz KaurTechnical Support Specialist
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
Yes, try that with MalwareBytes. I suspect a program that is always running on your computer could be impacting Outlook, but unfortunately with what you’re experiencing you have to do a process of elimination. I also just noticed and see the Carbonite icon present on your computer.  Its possible there is some conflict existing there too. Carbonite has been known to cause some performance issues for Outlook too, especially with logging in and passwords.

You can also try pausing Carbonite for one day or so and test as well. Then resume it when finished testing following this KB article:

https://support.carbonite.com/articles/Personal-Pro-Windows-Pausing-Carbonite

By the way, if you continue to use Carbonite and it’s not the cause — I recently came across this impacting a user where Carbonite had unknowingly created a login task messing with Outlook. So far I’ve only seen the issue repeated on version 2004 of Windows 10. Some have had to just disable the task made by Carbonite or I know some users have completely removed Carbonite and transitioned to another back up solution. Still you may want to reference this EE post linked at the bottom in the future if you run into anything like that:

https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/29199554/Outlook-will-not-save-credentials-Windows-Security-Alert-popup.html
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Jazz,

Thank you once again. Let me apply what you suggested. I will get back to you.

Thank you.

Basem Khawaja
Jazz KaurTechnical Support Specialist
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
Basem,

Sounds good. I’m probably going to be unavailable for quite a bit after tomorrow or so my apologies in advance if you do not hear from me right away — otherwise the other Experts watching this post can certainly assist further if you get stuck on any of the steps. 
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
I still need help and I am very frustrated with this problem! Can someone help me please? I was getting emails till 852 pm 11/12/20 then about midnight or so I realized that Outlook had stopped receiving emails suddenly as always when the problem starts. So I looked at the taskbar and I saw the outlook is closing icon as expected and then I went to users tab in task manager and ended the outlook 32-bit task by right clicking on it and then restarted Outlook and then I started receiving emails all over again and the next email that was received was at 943 pm 11/12/20. I did notice that the UAC Virtualization was DISABLED and when it is working is still DISABLED. I am not sure if this has anything to do with the issue. I did verify the server settings and the incoming port was 993 and out going is 465 though checking online it mentions 465 or 587. I don't if changing to 587 would have any thing to do with the problem. PLEASE help me fix this issue at it happens randomly. No pre set warning or anything.

Thank you,
Basem Khawaja
Jazz KaurTechnical Support Specialist
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
Can you confirm whether you tried pausing/disabling Carbonite and turning MalwareBytes off for 24 hours (a day)?

Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Basem,

I'm preparing some instructions for you to try and will create some screenshots. Check back again soon for another comment.

Regards, Andrew

Jazz KaurTechnical Support Specialist
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
I would wait first and see what Andrew suggests as well.

I had some free time, but my ultimate recommendation if all else fails though since this has been ongoing since August across Verizon and AT&T is to rebuild your mail profile for Outlook. Starting fresh. If you‘re using IMAP I believe it should be an .ost file, but check as you said all your email is available in the web version of Yahoo so I believe you’ll be fine generating a new .ost file but look at the process and ask if you any concerns about going that route.

Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Jazz,

I am going to be honest with you. I don't want to risk having my PC exposed to hackers or get infected therefor I did not turn off the MWB, Webroots or Carbonite. Even if I did as I had mentioned earlier it happens randomly with no pre set warning . It could be a day and it could be 3 days when the problem happens.
I will take a look at the article you sent me.

Thank you,

Basem Khawaja
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Andrew,

Thank you for your reply. I will wait to hear back from you.

Basem Khawaja
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
This problem has been solved!
(Unlock this solution with a 7-day Free Trial)
UNLOCK SOLUTION
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
This problem has been solved!
(Unlock this solution with a 7-day Free Trial)
UNLOCK SOLUTION
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
This problem has been solved!
(Unlock this solution with a 7-day Free Trial)
UNLOCK SOLUTION
IT Professional | Freelance Journalist
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
This problem has been solved!
(Unlock this solution with a 7-day Free Trial)
UNLOCK SOLUTION
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Andrew,

Thank you so much for the plethora of useful articles that you had sent me. I can not say thank you enough for all your help. Just one thing when I am doing the Modify I kept on getting a message that says "" OFFICE IS BUSY "". Wait and try again and I did I keep getting that message. So I will try in 30 minutes and see if it goes away. Therefor I can not pursue steps 2 and beyond until I am done with the initial step. I will let you know as soon as I am done with it. One last thing, you had mentioned at the end of the first step""Now open Outlook and see if IMAP is working correctly again"". The thing is it is working now as I am typing this. It has a mind of it's own when it stops working. I would not  know until I wait for a few days and see if the problem comes back or not. Unfortunately that's the only way I would know it has been fixed. Lastly, when I delete the existing account IMAP will I lose any of my existing emails. Please let me know?

Thank you so much Andrew,

Basem Khawaja
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Hi Basem,

You're welcome. With regards to your additional questions.

Just one thing when I am doing the Modify I kept on getting a message that says "" OFFICE IS BUSY "". Wait and try again and I did I keep getting that message.

You must make sure that ALL Microsoft Office Programs are closed before doing the repair. That includes Outlook, Word, Excel, OneNone, etc. In short, anything to do with Microsoft Office must not be running in the background or the repair won't be able to start and complete. To make sure of that, use Task Manager to find any process related to Microsoft Office and end task on them.

One last thing, you had mentioned at the end of the first step""Now open Outlook and see if IMAP is working correctly again"". The thing is it is working now as I am typing this. It has a mind of its own when it stops working. I would not know until I wait for a few days and see if the problem comes back or not. Unfortunately, that's the only way I would know it has been fixed.

If it's working and then not working and then working again as if it has a mind of its own, then that points to an interruption between Outlook and your ISP's IMAP server. Either their server is having a temporary hiccup/problem, or the connection between your machine and the IMAP server is being interrupted for some reason. The 'only' person that can help you determine that will be your ISP support unfortunately as I would need access to your machine in real-time when it's happening to do some advanced network testing. I'd suggest contacting AT&T support by phone at the time it's playing up and see what they suggest.

Lastly, when I delete the existing account IMAP will I lose any of my existing emails. Please let me know?

No, you will not lose any of your existing emails. The copies of the emails on your machine are stored in an OST (Off Line Storage File) on your machine and they are simply a copy of what is on the IMAP server. Once the IMAP account is re-created in Outlook, it will re-populate with all of the messages from the IMAP server again and you will have another copy of all of your emails in the new OST storage file that will be automatically created.

Hope that's helpful.

Regards, Andrew
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Andrew,

Thank God the first comment with the Office 365 repair was done successfully. However, once again as I stated earlier it stops receiving emails suddenly while I am sleeping or perhaps doing something else on my PC other than Outlook email. If that happens in a couple of days I will move to the next comment and hopefully see if that will fix it.
Also, I had moved and I am living at home with family. The ISP that I have in the house is through Verizon. I thought I just mention that which is not the same ISP as I used to have which was AT&T. I don't think that will make a difference but I just thought I share that with you.
Lastly, in your previous comment you had mentioned "OUTLOOK 2016". Is that information still applies to my Outlook 365? Just want to make sure. I will keep you posted.

Thank you Andrew.
Basem Khawaja
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Lastly, in your previous comment you had mentioned "OUTLOOK 2016". Is that information still applies to my Outlook 365? Just want to make sure.

Yep, sure does.

I will keep you posted.

Please do.

Cheers, Andrew
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Andrew,

Just like I expected problems had to come back. For a moment I envied my self because things were working normal for a couple of days until now. This time things are a bit different. I noticed I was not receiving email since the last 2 hours or so since I was on the computer. Instead there is a send and receive error message , will post here at the end. I closed outlook and did not see the Grey Icon on the task bar with the outlook is closing message . I went as usual to the Task Manager and the process was not there either. Microsoft Office 32-bit which ordinarily I would right click it and end task and I am back in business, but not this time. I restarted the PC and still send and receive error message still there. PLEASE advise me whether I should proceed to STEP 2 in your previous instructions or whatever else you would like me to do. Thank you Andrew,

Basem Khawaja

Send and Receive Error IMAP Outlook.jpg

Outlook Send-Receive Error Message 1138 am-111620.jpg

Outlook Error IMAP Message 1138 am 111620.jpg
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018
Hi Basem,

All three of those snapshots indicate an interruption between the IMAP server and your computer. That could be caused by your Internet connection or the IMAP account set up in Outlook itself.

So yes, you should proceed with Step 2 and recreate the IMAP account in Outlook, but you will need to know the various settings.

If you had someone else set up the IMAP account for you the first time, then there's a good chance you'll run into problems if you don't know what settings should go where. I've already posted all the settings you'll need, so you 'should' be ok trying it yourself, but is there any reason you can't contact your ISP support to assist you in reconfiguring your IMAP account and walk you through the process? Most (if not all) ISP's will do that for their customers, or point them to a script that will do it for you automatically. It's up to you, but I'd recommend getting your ISP helpline to help you recreate your IMAP account in Outlook to minimise the chances of something going wrong.

That said, if you feel confident enough to try it yourself, with the instructions and settings I've already provided to you in the following comments, you should be ok.

1. First delete your existing IMAP account from your Outlook and follow the instructions I posted here:

https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/29199689/Outlook-using-IMAP-Problems.html#a43193792

https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/29199689/Outlook-using-IMAP-Problems.html#a43193795

https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/29199689/Outlook-using-IMAP-Problems.html#a43194010

Hope that's helpful.

Regards, Andrew
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Andrew,

Geek Squad had setup the IMAP back in August when I was having some issues with Outlook POP. The server ports that are listed on my account are exactly the same as the ones that you had posted. I will see if Verizon can help me with the IMAP server setup. If no luck from them then I will go head and follow step 2 that you mentioned previously.

Thank you,
Basem Khawaja
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Andrew,

I just wanted to let you know and I do not want to jinx myself that I had the problem solved. I had called Geek Squad and after 12 painful hours, a level 2 tech support called me and I was very lucky to get someone who actually knew what they were doing. The the agent said that a Secure Email Key was needed and it only needs to be put in one time. I created one and also the servers were slightly different than what was suggested everywhere I looked. The incoming: imap.mail.att.net Port# 993 Encryption: SSL/TLS and the outgoing: smtp.mail.att.net port# 587 encryption: STARTTLS. She told me that the Secure Email Key enables Outlook to get the email from AT&T directly without having to go through Yahoo as the middle man. I hope this will be the end of this nightmare. I thought you might be interested in knowing what was the fix for this problem.

Thank you my friend,

Basem Khawaja
Jazz KaurTechnical Support Specialist
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Glad to hear its resolved! That’s interesting about the Secure Mail Keybut makes sense as more and more service providers are bolstering security changes to prevent password theft and to thwart hacking attempts. From what I‘ve researched AT&T started deploying/enforcing new security changes since last October.
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018
Hi Basem,

The info about the secure mail key was actually in the document I pointed you to in this previous comment I made.

The part you missed in my post was this bit...

Software Outlook 2016

GUIDED PROCESS

Use Troubleshoot & Resolve for email settings

Use these guided steps to get help setting up or updating your email account. Select Email Setup and Repair and follow the prompts.Set up

INSTRUCTIONS & INFO

Secure mail keys, email program set up, or updates

"Get a secure mail key"

A security upgrade is coming to AT&T email. If you use Outlook for email, you’ll have to update your email settings. Learn more about the security upgrade.

"Be sure to create a secure mail key to set up or update your AT&T email in Outlook 2016."


But never mind, all's well that ends well :)

Great that it's now sorted for you and I'm happy to have helped.

Best, Andrew

Gain unlimited access to on-demand training courses with an Experts Exchange subscription.

Get Access
Why Experts Exchange?

Experts Exchange always has the answer, or at the least points me in the correct direction! It is like having another employee that is extremely experienced.

Jim Murphy
Programmer at Smart IT Solutions

When asked, what has been your best career decision?

Deciding to stick with EE.

Mohamed Asif
Technical Department Head

Being involved with EE helped me to grow personally and professionally.

Carl Webster
CTP, Sr Infrastructure Consultant
Empower Your Career
Did You Know?

We've partnered with two important charities to provide clean water and computer science education to those who need it most. READ MORE

Ask ANY Question

Connect with Certified Experts to gain insight and support on specific technology challenges including:

  • Troubleshooting
  • Research
  • Professional Opinions