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Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

ancestor
Grafter
Posts: 33
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Registered: 16-09-2010

Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

I have approx 11000 messages on my email accounts at the moment (2400 inbox,8700 deleted,500sent) but I would like to change the account from POP3 to IMAP and also to keep my existing email addresses, and not lose any of the existing messages.

I have browsed several earlier postings on here and most seem to get very technical. Can it be straightforward, and if not what alternatives do you suggest?

12 REPLIES
Superuser
Superuser
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

Do you really need to *keep* the deleted messages? Getting rid of those would reduce your post count by around 75%,

Where are your emails stored at the moment? POP3 messages are normally kept in local storage (ie on your computer) whereas IMAP stores them on the server. Are your messages in local storage?

David
ancestor
Grafter
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Registered: 16-09-2010

Re: Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

Hi spraxyt, thanks for your interest. I guess that there are probably lots of people like me who have been too lazy to do proper housekeeping. on their email accounts for too long. I find myself now in a situation where I will have to upgrade from W7 to W10 sooner rather than later and I am not sure that I will have enough time available to clear out all the rubbish I have stored before then. That is why I am looking for a quick simple fix if such a thing is available. In the meantime I will try to make the biggest possible reduction in deleted and inbox messages asap.

All my messages are in local storage

Superuser
Superuser
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Re: Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

My concern was not so much the messages in Inbox but those in Deleted which I assumed weren't wanted.

Because messages accessed using IMAP are stored on the server, conversion from POP3 local storage to IMAP server storage inevitably means copying them back to the server. How easy this is depends on the capabilities of your local email client. Using Thunderbird it's relatively easy; but for other email clients I don't know if that remains the case. Which client do you use?

For Thunderbird the conversion process was outlined in this post from 2013 quoted below

spraxyt wrote:
This should be feasible, but needs care because for a while you'll have two email accounts in Thunderbird (POP3 and IMAP) and the POP3 one needs to be disabled first to stop it collecting emails. The Switch POP IMAP Account article describes the processes that need to be followed.
However when setting up the IMAP account, the process illustrated in that article will not work because manual setup is necessary. I suggest following the Thunderbird set up guides at the bottom of the Plusnet Email Setup help pages.
When you copy existing messages to the new inbox (as described in the article) the messages should upload to the server. Make sure everything is working properly before you delete the POP3 account in Thunderbird.
Note that there is a limit of 1GB per account for emails kept on the server (warning messages start at 600MB).

The post which followed that mentioned above ...

watton wrote:
I have now successfully changed both of my old free-online email accounts from POP3 to IMAP. I am using using Thunderbird running on Windows 7 pro 64bit.
For the guidance of others wanting to do this:
Before starting I set the POP3 server setting to leave messages in the server for 10 days - to make sure no messages were downloaded and deleted while the change was in progress.
I created a new IMAP account in Thunderbird, setting it to download and synchronise all messages/folders with the server. I sent a couple of test messages from and to a hotmail account to make sure it was working.
I then set the POP3 account not to check for mail and, to prevent it connecting, overwrote the server details with 'noserver' (it won't let you leave them blank).
Then in Thunderbird I copied my message folders and their contents, one at a time, from the POP3 account to the inbox of the IMAP account. It's a simple drag & drop exercise This took quite a long time as they have to upload to the IMAP server. (I also took the opportunity to review and delete a lot of old messages.)
I have left the old POP3 account on Thunderbird to use as a message archive on my local hard disk.
I then set up an IMAP account on my laptop using the same details and it synchronised with the free-online IMAP server and downloaded all the folders and messages.
I can now use either my desktop or my laptop to send or receive messages and I see exactly the same on both.
The only problem that I had was with the port settings for the IMAP account. Thunderbird refused to connect with the ports 110 and 25 advised by PlusNet. Instead it probed the server and insisted on using ports 143 and 587.  I don't really understand about ports. Are these settings OK?
John

... records an example of doing the conversion. (Note reference the last paragraph: ports 143 for IMAP and 587 for SMTP are correct; 110 is for POP3.)

Do those posts/quotes give sufficient guidance on what you need to do?

David
ancestor
Grafter
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Registered: 16-09-2010

Re: Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

I am never quite sure what is meant by 'email client' but I am using Windows Live Mail which I think must be my email client.

I am afraid it will take me some time to work through the notes you have provided so that I understand them and can ask questions before start if necessary. Please bare with me and i will get back asap.

Superuser
Superuser
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Re: Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

Yes, the email client is the email program you use to handle emails on your computer - in your case Windows Live Mail.

The reply to the question posted here could be useful.

That reply makes it seem relatively simple. If only ... Roll eyes

Personally I'd play safe and set up a new mailbox to be accessed with IMAP. Then try exporting (a small number to start with) from the POP3 mailbox and importing them to the IMAP one to see if it worked. Webmail (https://webmail.plus.net) can be used to check the content of the new mailbox is correct.

If all is well Manage My Mail can be used to shuffle the mailbox names and default around so that the original mailbox name becomes IMAP.

Yet more working through notes I guess. But the process isn't easy to explain. Huh

David
maranello
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Re: Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

Windows Live Mail with IMAP has given me a few headaches to be frank. Furthermore, the idea of moving messages from local storage to IMAP seems like a waste of effort. Why do you need IMAP instead of POP3? The major benefit of IMAP is that it would allow you to access your messages from more than one device, or remotely via Webmail (but that's another issue!). Another benefit is that the messages are backed up on Plusnet servers, rather than having to make your own back-ups, but there is a size limit so you could find that older messages get deleted to make space for newer ones.

Changing from POP3 to IMAP would not require you to change your email address, and upgrading to Windows 10 should not result in any loss of messages. If you could give more information about why you need to change to IMAP there could be better alternatives.

My other car isn't a Ferrari
ancestor
Grafter
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Registered: 16-09-2010

Re: Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

This is looking more and more difficult. I need to take a step back and maybe rethink. Whatever the outcome, can I say spraxyt  how much I appreciate your patience and helpful approach. I may be back on this subject at some point

Thanks again

ancestor
Grafter
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Registered: 16-09-2010

Re: Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

Thanks for your interest maranello. The reason I want to change is that I travel quite a lot and with the POP3 account I can not access my e mails from anywhere else but my home PC. If my account was IMAP I could make use of the PN webmail, but as is stands, despite the huge number of e mails I have on my POP account, there are none showing in the webmail version because POP grabs them all for itself and removes them from the PN sever. I have so far managed by using a Yahoo webmail account, but most people forget that when I am away so in effect, I lose contact.

Community Veteran
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Re: Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

have you tried setting the POP account to leave messages on the server

ancestor
Grafter
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Registered: 16-09-2010

Re: Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

Thanks oldjim.It is probably about 15 years ago that I first set up my POP3 email accounts, and to be honest when I read your message I could not recall what settings I had for message retention. So I checked, and found that the settings were to retain messages on the server for 4 days and also to retain them until they are removed from deleted items. So that was a dogs dinner, and is now set to retain messages on the server until they are removed from Deleted items.

This did not explain why my webmail had not a single message showing. I then looked at how my wife's email was set up. It is apparently actually a 'postmaster' account, such that any message sent to anyone @username.plus.com will be picked up by both my and my wife's account. That's ok as we have never had any secrets from each other anyway. But her account was set to leave no messages on the server at all. Thus it seems that her account has been grabbing all the messages  and removing them from the server, completely ignoring the settings on my account, but putting a copy of every message onto my account, so neither of us ever thought anything was amiss.

I have gone unto detail on this in the hope that if anyone else has a similar enquiry to mine, this topic will prove helpful.

Meanwhile, my thanks to oldjim, maranello and mostly spraxyt. Between you led me to solve my own problem. You will not be surprised to hear that I have already reduced my 8700 deleted items to less than 6000 and they will go in the next 2 weeks

Regards to all

Neil

 

Superuser
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Re: Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

Neil,

Though you suggest you've fixed things, I think it worth a few words to clarify some of what you've said / assumed.

1. How you access email - POP3 or IMAP does not affect email addresses.  You can have an email address bloke@username.plus.com and access with either / or both POP3 or IMAP using the same account details from anywhere

2. I do not recommend using more than one POP3 email program on the same email box, for the default behaviour of a POP3 client is to remove the emails from the email server and store them on the local machine - consequently the server will always be empty (for example when looked at with webmail) and no device will have all of the emails

3. Note that when you configure the 'account' on a particular device, you are not setting any rules or behaviour for the server, you are configuring the clinet's behaviour.  So in the situation where your wife's computer was configured to do one thing and yours something different, each will do their own thing, irrespective of the other's configuration

 

Personally I would change everything on all devices to IMAP.  Also do not forget to set the DRAFTS, SENT and TRASH folders on every device to use the IMAP server's folders.  That way (within the limitations of specific client functionality) anything sent from one device can be seen on all other devices and you can draft something in one device and finish it on a different one.

 

when I migrate people from POP3 to IMAP I change the description / display name of the POP3 'account' (just add 'POP' to the end) and tell the email program not to receive using that 'account'.  I then create a new IMAP 'account' using the same email address details, specifying IMAP.plus.net as the server etc.

If you then want to get recent (say the last two months of) emails visible across all devices you can drag and drop emails from the local (POP3) folders to the IMAP 'account' folders.

Hope this makes sense?

ancestor
Grafter
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Registered: 16-09-2010

Re: Change my PN email account from POP3 to IMAP but retain existing email address

Thanks townman for your advice.I am about to leave for a week away and have not yet complted everything that I hoped to do, but when I return I will come back to your latest message. Thanks again

Neil