I know many people that have tried to switch from the POP protocol to the IMAP protocol, and they lost their e-mail or encountered various other issues as a result. The below is a confirmed successful procedure for changing from the POP e-mail protocol to IMAP.
You should be aware that the two protocols offer a different end-user experience. If you are used to POP and switch to IMAP, at first you might perceive normal IMAP behavior as problematic, but really you just have to get used to it. The main difference between the two is that, when using POP, all of your mail is downloaded and stored on your local hard drive, whereas IMAP stores everything on the server and the actions performed within your mail client are replicated on the server. IMAP is particularly useful in scenarios where you need to access mail from multiple devices, but you can leverage a POP account to allow you to do the same thing (though you will be taking up storage space on all devices used). With IMAP, the folders you create will exist across all devices you use, whereas you will have to manually create the folders across all devices with POP.
In a nutshell, POP is great for single-device use and can be used across multiple devices if you configure your clients to save messages on the server. IMAP makes e-mail across multiple devices much simpler, and you are not taking up storage space on your devices since the mail will only be saved on the server.
Before you make a big change like switching protocols from POP to IMAP, I always recommend that you backup the file that your e-mail program stores your mail in. That way, if anything goes wrong or you decide you don’t like IMAP, you can just restore your e-mail storage file and revert back to POP. Since Outlook seems to be the program that a majority of our users prefer, the following instructions are for Outlook 2010 (previous versions of Outlook will look a bit different, but will have similar steps). For instructions on how to easily make a backup copy of your PST file, click here.
After you’ve backed up your PST file (if you’ve chosen to do so), you will have to disable your POP e-mail account so that it is no longer set to send/receive. This is to prevent a conflict with the IMAP account you will soon be adding. To do this, first click File followed by Options.
In the Options menu, select Advanced on the left hand side, scroll down a bit and then click the Send/Receive button.
Select All Accounts and click Edit.
Select your POP account on the left side and deselect the box next to “Include the selected account in this group.” If you have more than one send/receive group, make sure your POP account is disabled under the other groups.
Now that your POP account is disabled from the send/receive group, you can add in the IMAP account. Select the File menu and click Add Account.
In the new window, select the radio button next to “Manually configure server settings or additional server types.”
Select Internet E-mail and click Next.
For the Account Type, select IMAP from the drop-down menu. Use imap.donet.com as your incoming mail server, and smtp.donet.com as your outgoing mail server. Then fill in your name, e-mail address, user name, and password. Finally, click on More Settings at the lower right side.
In the new window, select the Outgoing Server tab at the top and enable “My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication.”
Click on the Advanced tab, and change the outgoing server port number to 587. Then click OK. In the remaining “Add New Account” window, click Next followed by Finish.
Now, on the left Outlook menu (where your accounts and folders are listed), you should see both the POP and IMAP accounts listed. The account with the “(1)” next to it is the new IMAP account and should contain the Microsoft Outlook Test Message that was generated when you created the account.
In order to make sure you don’t lose any of your messages and can access them all under the same folder, click on the POP account (the one without the “(1)” next to it) and either select the folders and drag them to the IMAP account or select all of the messages (CTRL + A = select all) and drag them to the IMAP account. For this example, I selected all of the messages in the inbox of the POP account and dropped them in the inbox of the IMAP account.
Now that your mail has been copied from the POP account to the IMAP account, you can remove the POP account. To do this, first click on File followed by Account Settings.
Next, select the account under the E-mail tab that says “POP/SMTP” under “Type,” and click Remove. Click Yes in the pop-up removal confirmation window.
Back at the Home page of Outlook, on the left mail menu, right click on the POP account (the one you removed in the previous step that has the (1) next to it) and select Close [e-mail address].
Congratulations, you have successfully migrated from a POP e-mail account to an IMAP e-mail account.
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