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Why does Outlook 2002 have issues when being used to retreive POP3 mail?


Outlook 2002 attempts to use simultaneous POP connections to the same mailbox to control messages, i.e. it opens multiple threads to the POP3 server resulting in related operations on the mailbox being delivered down separate theads.

You may see any or all of the following symptoms.

  • Messages that you expect to be deleted from the server after retreival are not deleted.
  • Messages that you purposefully leave on teh server are downloaded again next time a mail retreival occurs. As a result you see duplicate messages.
  • You are prompted to log on to the server repeatedly during message retreival and your credentials are not accepted.


RFC 1939 which became Standard 53 governes the operation of POP3 servers. This Standard clearly states that once a client has authenticated successfully, the server then acquires an exclusive lock on that mailbox, thus preventing any other access to it. This is to prevent messages from
being modified or removed before the session enters the UPDATE state.

With the POP3 protocol the status of a mailbox is only ever updated when the client accessing that mailbox issues a QUIT command.

You can configure your mail client to use GMS IMAP4 if you wish to have your server act as a message store instead of intermittently connecting to pull down mail to your local machine. IMAP also supports mulitple mailbox access.

Microsoft has acknowledged that this is a problem with Outlook 2002 and a fix for the issue has been included in Service Pack 2 for Outlook 2002. For further information please see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base Article

See Also:

Keywords:ms microsoft outlook 2002 sp2 pop multiple connections

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