How-To Geek

Setting up Gmail IMAP Support for Windows Vista Mail

We’ve already showed you how to use Gmail’s IMAP support in Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird and even KMail, but what about the built-in mail client in Windows Vista… how could we leave that one out?

It turns out that it’s quite a usable application, not entirely full-featured or extendable, but it handles the job with a lot better performance than the others we’ve looked at so far… not to mention being rather slick looking.

If you haven’t already enabled IMAP in Gmail, open up the settings page and choose Forwarding and POP/IMAP, and then select to Enable IMAP.

Open Windows Mail and choose Tools \ Accounts from the menu and then click on the Add button.


You’ll obviously want to select E-mail account and move to the next screen…


Enter your name.


Enter your email address, using your Gmail email address here. You’ll note that mine is not because I’m using Gmail hosted for your domain.


Finally, more than one option on the wizard page… choose IMAP from the drop-down, and then enter in the following values:

  • Incoming Server:
  • Outgoing Server:
  • Check “Outgoing server requires authentication”

Note: If you are outside of the US you may need to use and instead of and


On the next screen enter in your Gmail email address and your password.


Very important: Check the box for “Do not download my e-mail and folders at this time”.


Click the Finish button to get back to the Internet Accounts dialog, and then select your new account and choose the Properties button.


On the Advanced tab, you’ll want to first check both options for “This server requires a secure connection(SSL)”, and then verify that the ports are set to the following:

  • Outgoing mail (SMTP): 587
  • Incoming mail (IMAP): 993


Now choose the IMAP tab and remove the checkbox for “Store special folders on IMAP server”.


Informative Note: If you do not remove the checkbox here you will end up with duplicated sent items, and your deleted / junk mail will just end up being archived in a label. Your choice. If you don’t use labels in Gmail you could enter [Gmail] as the root folder path, and then adjust the values in the special folders section to match the Gmail folder names. It’s also worth noting that you cannot use [Gmail]\Spam here because Windows Mail will not accept the “\” or “/” characters in folder names.

Important Setting

Now you can close out of the account settings dialogs, but before you start Sending/Receiving you’ll probably want to click on the “” item in the left hand folder pane and adjust these settings so Windows mail doesn’t try and download everything:

  • Remove the checkbox from [Gmail]
  • Remove the checkbox from [Spam]
  • If you have a lot of messages, you should consider removing the checkbox from [All Mail]
  • Change all other folders to “Headers only”. (You could leave the Inbox set to All if you’d like)


Now that you’ve made these changes, you can go ahead and hit the Send/Receive button, and hopefully everything should work perfectly now:


Creating New Folders / Labels

Gmail Labels are represented as folders on the Windows Mail side. You can easily create a new folder by right-clicking on the entry and choosing New Folder.


You can even create subfolders, which will show up in Gmail named “TestLabel/Subfolder!” for this example:


Dragging a message to the folder will assign the label in Gmail.

Deleting a Message from Gmail

If you want to delete a message from Gmail you can’t just hit the delete button, because while it will delete the message from view, it simply archives it on the Gmail side.


To delete the message drag it to the [Gmail] \ Trash folder.

Marking a Message as Spam in Gmail

Because we can’t synchronize the spam folders, if you want to mark a message as spam in Gmail you’ll have to drag that message over to the [Gmail] \ Spam folder. Otherwise it’ll just end up being pushed into your All Mail archive.


Using the Conversation View

One of the nicer features in Gmail is the conversation view, and you can somewhat emulate that in Windows Mail by going to View \ Current View \ Group Messages by Conversation.


The threaded view is pretty nice, the only problem is that you won’t see your replies in the list, the way it works in Gmail.


Starring a Message in Gmail

To star a message on the Gmail side, just click to “Flag” the message in Windows Mail.


Obviously it works the other way too.

Are We Done?

We sure are. Everything should be working quite well… unlike most of the other clients Windows Mail seems to work quite well for me in terms of performance. It’s not as integrated as Thunderbird can be, but very usable.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/30/07

Comments (79)

  1. supermansghost

    The note about the special folders was especially helpful, thanks!

  2. spellham

    Great info. I’ve been meaning to setup IMAP for sometime – just haven’t found time. Thanks for the resource, worked great.

  3. JV

    Dear How-to Geek,

    thanks for your article on how to set up IMAP on gmail. I have a very old yahoo account which I started long before gmail came along. Throughout many years I have accumulated a lot of information in my yahoo account. But I am feed up with all the advertisement of yahoo and started to wonder if there was a way for me to read my yahoo e-mail using thunderbird. Is that possible?

    Thanks again!


  4. Wayne London

    Here is a link for running free Yahoo mail with Windows Live Mail (versions 1365 and 1606).

    Here is a link for running Gmail with WLM (same versions).

    Of course there are no ads with WLM, and you get notification (icon and sound) in the lower taskbar/ notification area, plus no more sign-in and no toolbars or iGoogle or Yahoo homepages to annoy you.

    It’s nothing but plusses!

  5. Carlos Lopes

    Dear How-to Geek,

    Man you are great
    All your tips are outstanding
    Thanks for sharing them for 52 year olds non-geeks like me

    All the best

  6. sherry

    Thank you! This is the only set of instructions that worked.

  7. Missy

    Thank you so much for this step-by-step guide. I’ve just got Windows Vista and had heard lots of rumours that Gmail just wouldn’t work with it. You’re a lifesaver!

    Missy x

  8. finnil

    Thanks for your help !
    I’m now up and running.
    I was struggling until I came across your site.
    The instructions available in Gmail weren’t any help.

    I’m now off to browse round the rest of your site to see what else you can help with :)

  9. Ganapathy

    Thanks. That was very useful

  10. Munim

    Very informative post.. Thanks! I have just started using IMAP, and even though its much better than POP, I find all the GMail labels and sync settings very confusing. Your post helped a lot!

  11. Chris Black

    Thanks a million. I had almost given up.

  12. Darren Maas

    Thanks for the info. I thought that I would post what I found to be some other good settings, at least ones that will make Windows Mail work just like it should (i.e. you can send mail without duplicates, and delete items using the delete key)…

    -As the Geek mentioned, go to to your mail account settings and set the “Root folder path” to “[Gmail]”, then check “Store special folders on IMAP server”, and name the folders according to the Gmail folder names (“Deleted Items path” = “Trash”, “Junk path” = “Spam”).

    -Under the “Tools” menu in Windows Mail, go to “Options”, and then the “Send” tab, and uncheck the “Save copy of sent messages in the ‘Sent Items’ folder” option

    -Under the “Tools” menu in Windows Mail, go to “Options”, and then the “Advanced” tab, and make sure that “Use the ‘Deleted Items’ folder with IMAP accounts” option is checked.

    If you follow these three additional steps, ***you will not be able to use labels through Windows Mail*** (even though you will still be able to view labeled messages in the “All Mail” folder). But you will be able to send items without causing duplicates in the “Sent Items” folder, and you will be able to delete items normally, and they will be moved into “Trash” on Gmail

    side note – It seems to still keep an “Inbox” label on it (on Gmail) even though it’s actually in the trash. It doesn’t seem to affect anything, the message is not actually in the inbox, and when you empty the trash through Gmail, it still gets removed.

  13. Kary

    Thanks for guide how to transfer gmail into windows mail for vista. Could do it myself

  14. Rob Allen

    The “special folders” problems between Windows Mail (likely Outlook Express as well) and Gmail have been resolved here:

    Pay special attention to their instructions beginning at “Go to the IMAP tab�, which comes right after entering the IMAP and SMTP server ports.

    What do these instructions resolve? Read on.

    When I set [Gmail] as my root folder, Windows Mail tries to create regular folders (labels) inside this root, which Gmail doesn’t like and are difficult or impossible to actually use. When set up this way, the special folders work, but regular folders don’t.

    Next, I tried leaving the root folder blank and using the full path for each special folder. However, you cannot insert something like “[Gmail]/Spam” as a special folders store, because Windows Mail won’t accept the forward slash as valid.

    So, I could either set it up so that special folders *or* regular folders worked correctly, but not both. After finding the link above, the problem is finally fixed to my satisfaction. It turns out that Windows Mail will indeed use “[Gmail]/whatever” as a folder path, but only if its inserted manually into the account settings text file. Though this may sound intimidating to many users, the instructions at the link above do a good job of telling you exactly how to do it. Remember, you should only have to do this once, so it’s not that bad.

    – I don’t use “Deleted Itemsâ€? in Windows Mail with Gmail IMAP. If you go into “Tools>Options>Advancedâ€? in Windows Mail, you can uncheck the “Use the ‘Deleted Items’ folder with IMAP accountsâ€?. Assuming that you’ve also set your Windows Mail Gmail account to use “special foldersâ€?, this setting will help to avoid unintentionally deleting mail from Gmail. You can manually move messages to the “Trashâ€? folder if you really want them deleted, but pushing “Deleteâ€? on messages in your Inbox (or elsewhere) will instead work like the “archiveâ€? function in Gmail: the message will be removed from that folder (label will be removed on Gmail), but the message won’t be moved to the “Trashâ€?. Anything labeled “Trashâ€? or “Spamâ€? in Gmail will be deleted after so many days, even if the message has other labels as well (ie. message also exists in non-trash folders in Windows Mail).

    Good luck!

  15. Lucy Di Guglielmo

    Thanks so much,
    going to save this and try it when I get home.
    I have vista at home, and it is a lot differenct from windows xp
    thanks again
    Lucy Di Guglielmo

  16. wrp

    I have [Gmail] and GMail folders, which confuses and gives errors when mail trys to sync.

  17. L.

    I followed your instructions step by step to the letter for setting up IMAP gmail with vista windows mail. When I tried to download the folders from Gmail I get the error message “connection to the server has failed your IMAP command could not be sent to the server “. What do I do now?

  18. Ahmed

    I was just looking for it

    Incoming ports were wrong

    But i correct them now

    it workssssssssssss

  19. Mike

    i still get an error that tells me my imap command can’t be sent over server

  20. Jason

    Hi, thanks for putting this guide together. I’ve used a few of your guides, and they are universallly excellent.

    I found the “official” guide at and it has a different port set to you. Also, it has a different smtp address, but yours is correct. I’ve sent a message to google, as I’m sure many others have.

    Keep up the good work!!!


  21. TechieBird

    Thanks for the excellent article – I kept getting the error “Your IMAP command could not be sent to the server due to non-network errors” even though I had exactly the same settings. It seems like the order you do things in is very important because when I followed your step-by-step it worked first time!

  22. John

    After following the instructions for setting up a mail client to have gmail work with windows mail from pop and imap which both were tried, I get the following window that pops up when i try to send or receive mail:

    Windoes Security – Logon to – please verify that both the uses name and password are correct for your mail server. And when I enter my address and password I get the same window again and again.

    Why does this not happen on my XP machine? How can it work with vista? I am running ultimate with no problems.

  23. Alvin

    Greetings Geek, man you are the bomb. I spent a great portion of this day trying to get my gmail to work with windows mail. Much success due to your instructions. You are the best.

  24. Steave

    ** Everyone getting the synchronization error message please read **

    Follow the directions very carefully in this guide. In particular:
    1. Single-click on your gail root folder in the left-hand pane
    2. Uncheck the root “Gmail” box in the right-hand pane.


    Note to the author: Google’s suggestion on this problem was to complain to Microsoft.

    Thank you SO MUCH for this fix!

  25. Gmail rookie


    My buddy was telling me about this site and Thank God he did. You geeks are quite amazing!

  26. Kimberlee

    thank you so much! i have been trying to configure that for over a week!

  27. Gianluca

    Maybe I’m wrong, but if you put “[Gmail]”, without the ” ” in the box “Root folder path” and then set the special folders like done in this article, you get a better integration into Windows Live Mail, i.e. the folder “[Gmail]” isn’t shown, but you just see the typical folders of WLM perfectly sinchronyzed with Gmail’s folders. Furthermore, the Trash should be synchronized too, i.e. you can put the garbage into the trash folder by just clicking Canc or selecting Delete from the pop-up menu and not dragging and dropping (although drag and drop would still work).

    I think I found this hack on Gina Trapani’s Lifehacker and I think I remember it worked perfectly. I can’t remember well because it was just a try and I had, neither I have, intention to change my e-mail manager from Thunderbird to WLM. :)

  28. Mukul

    Hi… I set-up my windows mail client with exactly the same information u’v given above (and even in the same order !!)…but it doesnt seem to work at all…i’v even tried setting up pop3 with the settings provided by gmail, but they dont work too….

    setting up IMAP shows the following error –

    “Your IMAP command could not be sent to the server due to non-network errors.This could, for example indicate a lack of memory on your system.
    protocol: IMAP
    port: 993
    secure(SSL): 1
    code: 800ccc0e ”

    The thing is that though I’m using vista, I have enough memory (3GB). Also, as an added info, I am accessing internet through my institute’s LAN,through a proxy server, which obviously would have a firewall. I would be pleased if someone solves this problem, cuz this is one thing i have never been able to solve, even when I had a windows xp pc. Thnx in advance.

  29. Justin McNairy

    I like it. When I click sent/receive, it error. What if i don’t have IMAP on the properties when i click gmail? I don’t have IMAP tab on the properties. Is it require update? I can’t find the update button.

  30. Mark

    I’m going to go with Gianluca’s vouch.

    For Windows Mail in Vista, the best settings, if you want to use the Delete Key and synchronize your Sent, Trash, and Junk folders are to:

    Under the Advanced Tab in Tools, Options, check “Use Deleted Items”.
    Under the Account’s particular settings, IMAP tab:
    Root Folder Path: [Gmail]
    Uncheck “Check for new messages”
    Check “Store Special Folders on IMAP server”
    Then, name each folder according to what Gmail names it: Sent Mail, Drafts, Trash and Spam.

    This way, the delete key actually sends anything to Trash.
    Mail you send gets put in the Sent Mail folder on Gmail and synched with Windows Mail.

    However, keep in mind, the Inbox now really becomes your “All Mail” folder. If you want to archive something, you have to move it OUT of Inbox and into All Mail. But this is the traditional, legacy way that mail has always operated and, in my opinion, is easier to get your head around.

    A Delete Key should always mean DELETE.
    An Inbox should always contain all your messages unless you move them out.

  31. Melissa


    thanks for your really precise and thorough instructions! everything is in working order, admittedly on my second time round, but thats because i hadnt paid enough attention to the point regarding being outside the US (i’m in the UK) and labelling the servers as googlemail as oppposed to gmail.


  32. Tejinder

    your information is outstanding.I tried a lot to set up my account but I was unable to do so.Your info helped me a lot.

    thanks dude

  33. Omid

    is it possible to put checkboxes in windows mail so that it is easier to select multiple messages. thanks.

    p.s. great advice helped me out a lot.

  34. Tess

    Thank You so much! Exactly the help I needed. Wouldn’t have been able to do this without you guys! Cheers! :)

  35. Joe

    How do you disable the auto preview pane in the Windows Vista Gmail??? I have a friend who got a virus and it was from the auto preview opening it.

    Is it in the View, Layout, screen???

  36. Melvin

    Thanks for this guide.
    I had encountered the error about:
    Header download for the ‘[Gmail]’ folder did not complete.

    I fixed this by unchecking the boxes that you suggested as well as the ‘Store special folders on IMAP server’.

    Thanks for sharing.

  37. jd2066

    @Joe: If you mean Windows Mail in Windows Vista then you can turn off the preview pane by doing the following:
    Open the View menu.
    Click Layout.
    Uncheck Show Preview Pane.
    Click Ok.

    Though the preview pane shouldn’t be able to open a virus, an email maybe able to open a web site where you could get a virus but it shouldn’t just launch a virus itself.
    That only happened with like Outlook Express 5.0 or so. The security of the preview pane is a lot better with Windows Mail.

  38. Paul

    I have tried this set up 5 or 6 times and gmail will not allw me to just select forwarding without entering an email address, as a reesult i am just getting the non network errors

  39. Dan

    Ifollowed the directions above and I am getting the same error not addressed above.
    “Your IMAP Command could not be sent ot the server, due to non-network errors. This could, for example, indicate a lack of memory onyour system.
    User Name;
    Protocol: IMAP
    Port: 993
    Secure (SSL): 1
    Code: 800ccc0e”

    What steps am I doug wrong. I have Vista, a brand new computer, and this site is not working for my computer.



  40. Microsoft killer

    Dan, your not the lone ranger, I have followed this and a couple other tutorials on this subject only to get the same error message as you each time. I too have a new vista puter, and all updates installed. I am no dummy and can follow instructions. I would love a valid answer as well.

  41. Tara

    I love the organization of this “new” invention however I quoted new since it is not but til now was not accessible. With Windows Vista there are so many more options and fun things to do. I was just about to download it when the system went down on Feb 15th only to turn back on with all of these great recent developments. Keep them coming, you’re doing a great job and making the G1 even funner, easier and even more addicting…… I love it. Thanks guys.

  42. Anders

    Nice article, thanks.

  43. ahmer

    wowww! it works ! really amazing !

  44. Janelle

    Where is the setting to keep a copy of all sent mail? Currently when I send an email, the copy of the sent email is automatically deleted. (Or at least it doesn’t show up in the “Sent Items” folder, as I would have expected.) I would like assistance with this. Thanks.

  45. Chee

    Dan, MS Killer,

    I have the exact problem when I first configured. Just make sure your GMAIL has IMAP enabled. Mine is enabled long time ago and I have been using iPhone to read it for more than 6 months.

    I also checked firewall settings and verified with my administrator that no ports were blocked. The instructions in Google help showed different port numbers.

    It took about 2 hours after continuous try and it started to work. In my case I think it was the combination of port numbers AND the length of time (2hrs) that somewhat triggered GMAIL to update its settings specifically to my email account.

    FYI. I am a Google Apps user.


  46. mirza

    hi.. anybody plz help.. i m unable to configure IMAP settings in windows mail. Is this because i m using it behind a proxy.

    I also change the smtp port to 465 but it does not works.
    It shows the following error msg.
    “The connection to the server has failed. Subject ‘Fw: Welcome to Windows Mail’, Account: ‘’, Server: ‘’, Protocol: SMTP, Port: 587, Secure(SSL): Yes, Socket Error: 10060, Error Number: 0x800CCC0E”

  47. ImranE

    Thank you, works perfectly on XP with WLM.

  48. Mukul Modani

    I have the same problem as Mirza’s…I am behind a proxy server and that is supposedly the only reason i cannot access gmail thru IMAP. Any suggestions are welcome..

  49. tlow

    Gracias, it worked great! Now… How can I hide who I’m sending my email too? I hate when receive forwarded email with a list of everyone’s email on it.

  50. amber lopez

    I followed your instructions but still keep getting this error everytime i proceed to the send recieve button. Help!! everything else shows completed except these two below ive copied them for you to see. The host ‘smtp’ could not be found. Please verify that you have entered the server name correctly.
    Subject ‘Emailing: me5’, Account: ‘imap’, Server: ‘smtp’, Protocol: SMTP, Port: 25, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 11001, Error Number: 0x800CCC0D

    The host ‘imap’ could not be found. Please verify that you have entered the server name correctly.
    Account: ‘imap’, Server: ‘imap’, Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 11001, Error Number: 0x800CCC0D

  51. Asai

    I followed that all information from google about gmail setting in windows vista .Incoming is getting but outgoing is not getting why?.otgoing settings smpt, server enabled .port 587 but what is the problem.message is not going to email.i need reply urgent

  52. Johnny




  53. Johnny

    HI ASAI,

    If you are outside of the US you may need to use and instead of and


  54. Kenny

    Thanks a lot you helped me a lot.
    Keep up the good work.

  55. Liam

    Hi ,

    I have followed these settings for importing my gmail account into windows but it is only importing some of my mail and not all of it how can I solve this problem?


  56. jon

    Very helpfuly. Thanks!

  57. Sasha

    Awesome! This post totally made my day! I had tried syncing the two via POP server and it was disastrous! Gmail has been loading so slowly these days, and the format of the page is all jacked up (has anyone else noticed that?), so it’s a huge relief to be able to access it without all the hassle of reloading the gmail page, and re-reloading it, and re-re-reloading it…. Anyway, thanks!

  58. astralnaut

    As always Geek, you’re the best!

  59. Brenda

    Thank you so much for this article. I’ve been trying to set up my gmail account on Windows Live Mail using IMAP for a couple of days now and was unsuccessful until I read your article.

    Thanks again for the comprehensive instructions

  60. Somesh

    thanks … that was really helpful.

  61. Zack


  62. Ger

    not having much luck with IMAP. Think I’ll go back to POP3 but it doesn’t seem to download all my messages. It’s giving me a pain in the tits to be honest.

  63. Ger

    I’ve tried again but this time with IMAP. It went ok (still a bit messy at the moment with the extra folders) but I’m having a problem with “All Mail”. I’ve disabled it but it keeps downloading all my messages from Gmail (‘000’s of them) I already have all these messages in my inbox and sent message folders so how can I stop “all Mail” from continually downloading my messages.

    If I delete them they start to download again. can anyone please help?


  64. Ger

    Ok, thanks. I’ll try somewhere else for a solution.

  65. nv

    please help …………
    i am unable to see gmail sent emails in windows mails when I imap it with my gmail account.

  66. Naks

    You Are A Genius!!! Couldn’t have set it up without you

  67. uprope

    Sometimes my “sent” email ends up on the default Outlook sent folder, even though i have it set to store it in a separte “sent” folder under my gmial/imap pst. It only does it for some of the replies and not all.

    Any idea why it would haphazardly store sent mail in two different places. This is only for the gmail/imap account and no others.

  68. Nik

    Amber – looks like the port #’s are incorrect. If still not working might need to open these ports in your firewall (try with firewall off to see if it is a problem)

  69. Josh

    Is there a way to Synchronize the Live Mail (Wave 4) Trash (like you can in Thunderbird) with Gmail Trash?

  70. sandy

    Thank you so much…enabling IMAP in Gmail BEFORE configuring windows mail is a step that is missing in gmail’s instructions and it was driving me insane trying to figure out what was wrong…you guys rock!!!

  71. Mihaela

    Hello guys. I have the same problem as many others above. I am using Windows Mail on Vista to set up an sky account. I used IMAP incoming server, followed all the steps as in tutorial but I get :” Please verify that both the username and password are correct for your mail server! Please could anyone who sorted this problem post on the site. Many Thanks!

  72. shivnarayan

    chatting problem

  73. daxanadu

    For those who had the “non-network” error, try to select “Log on using clear text authentication” on the “Server” tab in your account properties configurations. For me that solved the problem.

    I’m using Windows Live Mail Desktop 2011

  74. Shirley

    Up there you have a part that talks about accounts or internet accounts.. I have vista and on my windows live page, there is no listing of those in the settings tab… where else can I find them?

  75. Mike

    Excellent tips guys. In the end imap/gmail on an email client isn’t worth the hassle as far as I’m concerned. Sorry…

  76. Michael

    Works perfectly!

    Rob Allen you are a genious!!

    Just set special folder names in the config file, solve all problems!

    Works fantastically

  77. Avirath

    Thanks It Work Thanks

  78. Cal

    Daxanadu – thanks – that did the trick!

  79. Sara

    I did exactly what it said, and I have Vista and I get this!

    An unknown error has occurred. Subject ‘test’, Account: ‘’, Server: ‘’, Protocol: SMTP, Port: 465, Secure(SSL): Yes, Error Number: 0x800CCC0B

More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!