Read POP3 email messages on multiple computers

By default, when you retrieve new messages from a POP3 email account, the messages are deleted from the POP3 mail server and then saved on the computer that you are using. Because the message is no longer on the POP3 mail server, you can’t see it when you connect from another computer.

To view your messages from different computers, you can choose to download a copy of new email messages and not delete them from the POP3 mail server. Downloading a copy of your messages can be useful if you check your POP3 email account from multiple profiles or computers. For example, you can download a copy of the messages on both your work and home computers and then delete them from the POP3 mail server.

Note: Email messages that you send are saved in the Sent Items folder in Outlook only on the computer from which they are sent. You can’t access the Sent Items folder of one computer from your other computers that run Outlook. Consider including your email address in the Bcc box so that you can download the messages that you send on another computer.

Multiple computers downloading POP3 e-mail messages

1. When you connect to your POP3 mail server from your portable computer, a copy of your new email messages is downloaded to Outlook.

2. When you connect from your work computer, a copy of your new email messages is downloaded to Outlook.

3. When you connect from your home computer, a copy of your new email messages is downloaded to Outlook.

4. Because the Leave a copy of messages on the server check box isn’t selected in Outlook on your home computer, a command is sent from Outlook to the POP3 mail server instructing it to delete downloaded messages. No other copy of Outlook can download these messages from the POP3 mail server.

Download, but don’t remove your messages from the POP3 mail server

On each computer where you want to read your email messages but not save them permanently, do the following.

  1. On the File tab, click Account Settings > Account Settings

    Account Settings in the Backstage view

  2. On the E-mail tab, under Name, select the POP3 email account, and then click Change.

  3. Click More Settings.

  4. On the Advanced tab, and then under Delivery, select the Leave a copy of messages on the server check box.

    Delivery section on the Advanced tab of the Internet E-mail Settings dialog box

    You can also select whether to automatically delete messages from your email server after a specified number of days, when you delete the item on your computer, or when the Deleted Items folder is emptied. These settings might help prevent you from exceeding the maximum mailbox size set by your Internet service provider (ISP).

  5. Do one of the following:

    Get new messages manually   

    • On the Send/Receive tab, in the Send & Receive group, click Send/Receive Groups, point to the account, and then click Inbox.

    Get new messages automatically   

    1. On the Send/Receive tab, in the Send & Receive group, click Send/Receive Groups > Define Send/Receive Groups.

      Tip: Keyboard shortcut: to open the Send/Receive Groups dialog box, press CTRL+ALT+S.

    2. Under Group Name, select a group that contains your POP3 email account, and then under Setting for group name, select the Schedule an automatic send/receive every n minutes check box. Enter a number between 1 and 1440. The latter number schedules an automatic send/receive one time daily.

      Note: If you haven’t created any custom Send/Receive groups, select the All Accounts group.

      Your POP3 email server is checked and new messages are downloaded according to the schedule that you specified.

Note: Most ISPs have a size limit on your POP3 mailbox. If you don’t delete items from the server, your account will eventually exceed the amount allocated by your ISP. This could prevent additional messages from being received, and you can possibly incur additional charges. For more information, contact your ISP.

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Download, but don’t remove your messages from the POP3 mail server

On each computer where you want to read your email messages but not save them permanently, do the following.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Account Settings.

  2. Under Name, select the POP3 email account that you want to change, and then click Change.

    Note: If your profile does not contain a Microsoft Exchange account, your messages are stored on your computer in a Personal Folders file (.pst). However, if your profile contains both an Exchange account and a POP3 email account, and the default setting is to deliver all new messages to your mailbox on the server running Exchange, your downloaded POP3 messages are stored in your Exchange account. Any profile that you use on any computer that has access to your Exchange mailbox will be able to see the previously downloaded POP3 email messages.

  3. Click More Settings.

  4. Click the Advanced tab, and then under Delivery, select the Leave a copy of messages on the server check box.

    You can also select whether to automatically delete messages from your email server after a specified number of days, when you delete the item on your computer, or when the Deleted Items folder is emptied. These settings might help prevent you from exceeding the maximum mailbox size set by your Internet service provider (ISP).

  5. Do one of the following:

    Get new messages manually    

    • On the Tools menu, point to Send/Receive, point to the POP3 email account, and then click Inbox.

    Get new messages automatically    

    1. On the Tools menu, point to Send/Receive, point to Send/Receive Settings, and then click Define Send/Receive Groups.

      Tip: Keyboard shortcut:  to open the Send/Receive Groups dialog box, press CTRL+ALT+S.

    2. Under Group Name, select a group that contains your POP3 email account, and then under Setting for group name, select the Schedule an automatic send/receive every n minutes check box. Enter a number between 1 and 1440. The latter number schedules an automatic send/receive once daily.

      Note: If you have not created custom Send/Receive groups, select the All Accounts group.

      Your POP3 email server will be checked and new messages will be downloaded according to the schedule that you specified.

Note: Most ISPs have a size limit on your POP3 mailbox. If you do not delete items from the server, your account will eventually exceed the amount allotted by your ISP, preventing additional messages from being received, and you can possibly incur additional charges. For more information, contact your ISP.

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