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Introduction to email account types

You can get email accounts from your Internet service provider (ISP), your employer, or web services such as, Windows Live Mail, and Google Gmail. Microsoft Outlook doesn’t create or issue email accounts. It only provides access to your email accounts.

About email accounts

To send and receive email messages with Microsoft Outlook, you need to add your email account information to it. Microsoft Outlook 2010, for example, supports Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Exchange Server 2007, Exchange Server 2003, POP3, IMAP, and email accounts.

Most email accounts can be automatically configured when you provide your name, email address, and email account password. Users of Exchange Server accounts might not have to type any information because your network credentials are sufficient to set up your Exchange account. If manual configuration is required, your Internet service provider (ISP) or mail administrator can provide you with the configuration information.

Email accounts are contained in profiles. An email profile contains email accounts, data files, and settings that contain information about where your email is saved. A new profile is created automatically when you run Outlook for the first time. After that, the profile runs when you start Outlook. Most people need only one profile. However, sometimes you might find it useful to have more than one profile. For example, you might want one profile for work email messages and another profile for messages in your personal email account. Also, if other people use the same computer as you, each of their accounts and settings can be kept in separate profiles with different names.

Depending on your needs, you can add several email accounts to a single Outlook user profile. For example, you can add an Exchange account and then add an Internet email account, such as a POP3 account from your ISP, to handle your personal email.

You can make changes within Outlook to email accounts for the profile that you use. To change email accounts in another profile, or to change the properties of a profile, you must open Mail in Control Panel.

Where is Mail in Control Panel?

Mail appears in different Control Panel locations depending on the version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, Control Panel view selected, and whether a 32- or 64-bit operating system or version of Outlook 2010 is installed.

The easiest way to locate Mail is to open Control Panel in Windows, and then in the Search box at the top of window, type Mail. In Control Panel for Windows XP, type Mail in the Address box.

Note:  The Mail icon appears after Outlook starts for the first time.

Note: The Mail module in Control Panel won’t appear unless you have Outlook installed and have run Outlook at least one time.

Email account types

  • Exchange Server MAPI is used in Outlook with a mail server that is running Exchange. MAPI resembles IMAP, but it provides many more features when you use it within Outlook with an Exchange account.

  • POP    is a popular account type for Internet service providers. By using a POP email account your email messages are downloaded to your computer and then usually deleted from the mail server.

    The main disadvantage of POP accounts is the difficulty to save and view your messages on multiple computers. Also, messages that you send from one computer aren’t copied to the Sent Items folder on the other computers. There are some workarounds for these issues.

  • IMAP accounts are very flexible. They enable you to access email from your phone, computer, and other devices. Gmail,, and Office 365 email accounts are IMAP accounts.

    With an Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) account, you have access to mail folders on the mail server, and you can save and process mail without downloading it to the computer that you are working on. Thus, you can use a different computer to read your messages wherever you are. IMAP can save you time because you can view the headers of your email messages — who the message is from and the subject — and then choose to download only those messages that you are interested in reading. Your mail is saved on the mail server, which is usually safer, and is backed up by your mail administrator or ISP.

  • email account are IMAP accounts. They allow you to view and send email from multiple device.

POP, IMAP, and accounts

Many Internet service providers (ISP) issue you one or more email accounts.

The most common types of accounts are referred to by their Internet protocol name — POP3and IMAP. Your ISP can tell you which protocol that you use to access your email account, but many of them issue POP accounts.

POP accounts have only one folders on the mail server — Inbox. By default, when Outlook connects to your POP mail servers, new items are downloaded to your computer, and then deleted from the mail server.

IMAP and (formerly Hotmail) accounts can have many folders on the mail server. A copy of the messages are kept on your computer, but they also remain on the mail server. This enables you to use web mail clients or access your mail items from multiple computers.

Exchange accounts

With an Exchange account, each user has a mailbox on the computer that is running Exchange Server. When you receive a new email message, it is deposited in your mailbox. Outlook enables you to view and work with your messages by connecting to Exchange.

If you use an Exchange account, typically your email messages, calendar, contacts, and other items are delivered to and saved in your mailbox on the server. When you install Outlook on a new computer and add your Exchange account information, all items on the server are also available to you from this computer.

Exchange accounts also allow you to work offline or use Cached Exchange Mode. For this purpose, local copies of your items are kept on your computer in an offline Outlook Data File (.pst). This file is regularly synchronized with the items on the computer that is running Exchange Server when you are connected. Because your data remains on Exchange Server, you can re-create this offline Outlook Data File (.ost) on a new computer without having to back up the file.

To determine whether you are using Cached Exchange Mode, do the following:

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings.

    Account Settings in the Backstage view

  3. On the E-mail tab, click the Exchange account, and then click Change.

  4. Under Microsoft Exchange Server, if the Use Cached Exchange Mode check box is selected, Cached Exchange Mode is turned on.

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