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How to Access POP3 Email Accounts in Windows 8

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The Mail app included with Windows 8 only supports IMAP, Exchange, Hotmail/Outlook.com, and Gmail accounts. Mail offers POP3 as an option when setting up the account – but if you select POP3, you’ll be informed that Mail doesn’t support POP.

To use the Mail app with a POP3 email account, giving you features such as live-tile email notifications and a touch-friendly interface for reading your email, there’s a trick you can use.

Use Outlook.com or Gmail

While Mail itself doesn’t support POP3 accounts, it does support Outlook.com and Gmail accounts. Both Outlook.com and Gmail have a built-in feature that fetches mail from a POP3 server and stores it in your webmail inbox. If you configure one of these services to access your POP3 account, you can add the webmail account to the Mail app.

To get started, visit Outlook.com or Gmail and create an account if you don’t already have one. Log into your account, click the gear icon at the top-right corner of either Outlook.com or Gmail, and select the Settings option.

On Outlook.com, click the Sending/receiving email from other accounts link.

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On Gmail, click the Accounts and Import tab.

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On Outlook.com, click the Add an email account link.

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On Gmail, click the Add a POP3 mail account you own link.

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Continue through either process and add your POP3 account details as if you were adding them to the Mail app itself. You’ll need to know your email address, password, the POP3 server’s address, and the port it uses. After you’re done, Outlook.com or Gmail will automatically fetch new email and place it in your webmail inbox.

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Add Your Outlook.com or Gmail Account

Go back into the Windows 8 Mail app and open the Settings charm. You can do this by pressing Windows Key+I or by swiping in from the right and tapping Settings. Select the Accounts option and tap or click Add an Account.

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Select Outlook or Google – whichever type of account you used above – and sign into the account with your username and password.

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The Mail app will now display the mail from your POP3 account, which is fetched by your Outlook or Gmail accounts. You’ll see new emails appear on the Start screen.

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Sending Mail

Unfortunately, this solution doesn’t give you any way to send email from the POP3 address. POP3 servers are generally paired with SMTP servers. In a normal desktop email program, you could add the SMTP server to send outgoing email from your email account’s address. You can send emails from your POP3 account from the Outlook.com or Gmail interface – but not from within the Mail app.

To get around this, you can read your email in the modern Mail app and use a separate interface to reply to and send emails – either a desktop email program like Outlook or the Outlook.com or Gmail websites.

You could also reply to people from within the Mail app – recipients will see mail as coming from your @outlook.com or @gmail.com email address, however. Make sure they expect emails coming from that address.


The Mail app may be slick, but the omission of POP3 may be a deal breaker for some people – IMAP and Exchange Active Sync (EAS) may be the future, but that’s little consolation to people with POP3 accounts in the present.

This isn’t an ideal solution – but it’s the best we can do with the Windows 8 Mail app. In the long-term, we’ll probably see email apps that support POP3 in the Windows Store.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 12/5/12

Comments (16)

  1. Chemical

    The mail app in Windows 8 is completely stripped down and near useless.

    Forget the searches, filters, and comforts that we’ve come to enjoy from web clients like Gmail.

  2. Dan

    No pop3? Yes that is a dealbreaker for me. If I upgrade to Win8, I may have to look for another email app.

  3. Michael

    Doesn’t Mozilla Thunderbird work on Win8? Or Eudora? Pine? Seems like there are enough email clients around that something should be acceptable!

    Ummm… by implication, you must have some evidence that there are people out there who actually LIKE the Metro Start screen. I hope both of them like your workaround! ;-)

  4. George

    Thunderbird works fine and for me is better than this clunky workaround

  5. beergas

    No go for me. Time Warner POP3 forced me back into Outlook 2013 this time.
    What the heck, it has a popup alert better than that Mail tile. Prefer old Live Mail but ok for now. Who is gonna sway around between mail setups just to send an email? Win 8 blow in many ways but fairly stable
    once customize begezers out of it.

  6. PS

    The worst thing for me is that the mail client is permanently set to auto-preview and by default always downloads images. One piece of bad spam or phishing emails and you got all kinds of problems. Sure you can turn off the images, but the last thing I want is to auto-preview a bunch of crap simply because it happens to be the first email received.

  7. Brian

    This omission is ridiculous of course, as is the lack of Windows Media Player. They seem to want to antagonize desktop users.
    However, there is a much easier solution than all this. Just download Windows Essentials and install Windows Live Mail from there. What is listed in the article is a messy kludge.
    But I will stick with Win7 forever. There is no compelling reason to use Win8 and go through these hoops.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Windows-Essentials-Movie-Maker-Photo-Gallery-Windows-8,16745.html

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-live/essentials-home

  8. NSDCars5

    Why would you need POP3 nowadays, it’s outdated, IMAP is superior in every way.

  9. James

    Another good reason not to use this disaster of an O/S. I can’t imagine what the folk at Microsoft were thinking when they released this version. While some things are improved over e.g. Win7, these improvements are far outweighed for normal desktop/laptop users by the ridiculous omissions and niggles. I’m staying with XP -still a fast, lean and versatile O/S- and Windows 7. I have better things to do than spend hours fixing the problems with 3rd-party add-ons and kludges like the one described in this article.

  10. Kenny

    Another disaster by Microsoft ,I will stick to Win Xp and Vista till they expire then go to Liux or a Mac.

  11. craisin

    I’ve discovered the easiest way to access your POP3 email when on a Windows 8 Tablet (e.g. email bound for Outlook on your PC sitting at Home running under Windows 7) is to download that terrific application “Teamviewer 8″ (which now runs on Windows 8 as well as MAC, Unix and the usual older versions of Windows and is FREE if run for non-commercial purposes).

    You can then set up the new “Log in from anywhere” mode which allows you to log into your Home PC (provided it is running of course) from NAYWHERE World-wide, look at the normal PC screen now displaying on your Windows 8 Tablet/iPhone/Windows Phone/iPad/PC, and work with your email as per normal via Outlook/Mailwasher etc. It is totally free and you do not have to worry about mail duplicated on different devices. Also you can see all your mail folders etc. BRILLIANT!!!!

  12. larry

    how do you downgrade windows 8 on new laptop to windows 7?

  13. Gene Morgan

    Just another example that proves WIN 8 is a Consumer Product and not an Enterprise Product. I know of very few Corporations that utilize an IMAP eMail system. In the area where I work, every client I’ve ever assisted has a POP eMail system. Once again, it’s MS bullying everyone into scrapping what has been working well for them and doing what MS wants…

  14. Joe6pk

    WORKS FOR ME, AND HERE’S HOW. (Not an expert, but this is what I did, and I can send and receive emails through my pop3 server (which is Cox, in Arizona).
    Got a new Lenovo G580 (basic Laptop with Windows 8, installed Micro Soft Office 2010 (which I had on my old Laptop. After it installed, went to Outlook, followed the directions and, well like I said it works.
    Hope this helps everyone, at least the the one’s with Office 2010……………

  15. Mary

    Windows 8 worse windows I have ever encountered. Been between Microsoft, HP, and my internet provider back and forth for hours and no one knows how to set up outlook express in windows 8

  16. Navazkhan

    Hi Mary,

    Outlook Express is not compatible with windows 8. So you cannot have outlook express on windows 8.

    you can use Microsoft outlook (paid one)

    download and install Windows live mail for windows 8 (Free)

    Thanks

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