How to Access POP3 Email Accounts in Windows 8

By Chris Hoffman on December 5th, 2012

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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
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