Outlook 2013 IMAP - Server folders not syncing RRS feed

  • Question

  • hello.

    On my PC, outlook 2013 is running IMAP with my company email account. I also run IMAP off my phone. Here's the problem:

    Phone IMAP to server = syncs normally

    outlook to server = does not sync normally

    What happens is that deleted items from my outlook inbox don't sync up to the server, so my webmail and out phone have a ton of deleted emails in them. 

    However, all email is syncing down from server to outlook correctly.

    I checked all of the options, expunge immedeiately, etc, but i can't seem to get outook's inbox to match the server.

    Saturday, August 10, 2013 6:38 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Follow the steps below to check the result:

    1. Open Outlook 2013, click a folder in your IMAP e-mail account.

    2. Go to Folder tab in toolbar, click Purge.

    3. Click Purge Options.

    4. On the Advanced tab, select the Purge items when switching folders while online check box. 

    5. Then click Purge followed by ‘Purge Marked items in [e-mail address]’.

    However, when purging your deleted items in Outlook, the default behavior of the IMAP account is to archive it to the “All Mail” folder. This behavior can be changed.

    Follow the steps below, Gmail for example:

    1.In Gmail on the web, open your Settings dialog and select Forwarding and POP/IMAP or use this direct link.

    2.In the IMAP Access section, select the following options:

            When I mark a message in IMAP as deleted:

                 Auto-Expunge off – Wait for the client to update the server.

          ◾When a message is marked as deleted and expunged from the last visible IMAP folder:

                 Move the message to the Trash

    3.At the bottom press the button Save Changes.

    Hope this helps.

    Best Regards

    Monday, August 12, 2013 7:25 AM
  • I tried the Purge in Outlook, but received the following error:

    Task 'Purging subscribed folders on' reported error (0x80004001) : 'Outlook cannot download folder (null) from the IMAP e-mail server for account Error: Outlook cannot download folder (null) from the IMAP e-mail server for account Error: . If you continue to receive this message, contact your server administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).'

    Friday, August 16, 2013 2:57 PM
  • I am having the exact same problem and I am getting totally mad over it.

    IF you have any answer, please inform me.

    Sunday, September 1, 2013 12:32 AM
  • I am having the exact same problem and I am getting totally mad over it.

    IF you have any answer, please inform me.

    Are you also using Outlook 2013?
    Is the Deleted Items/Trash folder of your Google account perhaps marked with "This Computer Only" or located outside of your IMAP mailbox? (for instance: the deleted items are moved to the Deleted Items folder of a pst-file).

    Robert Sparnaaij [MVP-Outlook]
    Outlook guides and more:
    Outlook Quick Tips:

    Monday, September 2, 2013 10:16 AM
  • I'm having exactly the same problem as Ultrabaron and kjb3212.  I'm using Outlook 2013 on Windows 7 connected to a Cyrus IMAP server.  Fortunately, I have the luxury of modifying the server behavior in any way that I want.  Unfortunately, Outlook 2013 just does not work.

    At first, I had the server configured to the "altnamespace".  Basically, a folder is accessed using the mailbox folder name like "Archive".  That did not work.  I had the same problem where I would delete a message in Outlook and it would not sync to the server.  I created a folder in Outlook 2013 named "ABC".  It did not get created on the server.  I used Wireshark to watch the TCP traffic from my PC to the server.  Outlook NEVER send a command to the server to create the mailbox.

    So, thinking that perhaps Outlook now has a problem with the "altnamespace" (which no other client ever had an issue with), I switched the namespace back to use the default namespace.  Basically, every folder is prefixed by "INBOX".  That did fix the problem of folder creation, but I am still having problems with messages getting deleted from the server.  They're gone in Outlook, but not on my other devices.  And, running that purge command above, I get the same error message as reported by kjb3212.

    This is truly frustrating.  I've had the mail server config in place for years, so I don't think it's the mail server at fault.

    Oh, I did have to add support for RFC 6154 on the mail server so Outlook would recognize the proper "Sent Items" folder and other special folders.  For those who are encountering that, the config lines in /etc/imap.conf are something like this:

    xlist-drafts: Drafts
    xlist-archive: Archive
    xlist-sent: Sent Items
    xlist-trash: Deleted Items
    xlist-junk: Junk E-mail
    xlist-spam: Junk E-mail

    Note that "Junk E-mail" is listed twice.  The RFC says "\Junk" is the value to apply to the junk folder, but apparently Outlook is using the Google Mail version (which is the predecessor to the RFC), so "spam" has to be used.  I just inserted both and clients should pick up on the right value.. I think.

    In any case, the sync problem is real.  It just sits here like a dead duck.  I've never seen such a horrible Office update in my life.  And sadly, this has been in the field for a while and we should not be playing beta testers at this point.  I seriously have better things to do.

    So, if anyone has a clue as to what's wrong, I'd love to hear it.

    Saturday, September 7, 2013 7:31 PM
  • I'm having the same problem as everyone else.  Anyone have an update?
    Thursday, September 19, 2013 4:42 PM
  • Hi,

    Paul wrote: "I created a folder in Outlook 2013 named "ABC".  It did not get created on the server."

    This problem hit us yesterday in a big way. We replaced a user's computer and when we set up his email, discovered folders missing. They were never created on the server and therefore never backed up and are gone. Needless to say, he's distraught and so am I.

    There doesn't appear to be any rhyme nor reason to this. When testing, I can successfully create folders within Outlook and they will immediately show up on the server.  But obviously sometimes they it's not successful. Another user is missing just one folder on the server. Another is missing two sub-folders. They appear normal in Outlook, but aren't on the server. (Right-clicking the folder and viewing Properties calls them IMAP items, not Mail and Post items.)

    We've gone from Outlook 97, through 2000, 2003, 2007, and 2010 without major issues (though some tweaks were sometimes required.) Unless I can resolve this very soon, I'm going to have to move everyone back to 2010.

    Has anyone had any great successes over the past few weeks in this area?

    Friday, October 4, 2013 4:42 PM
  • Some problem here!! And no answer from MS on here???
    Wednesday, October 16, 2013 7:24 PM
  • In my own experience, it has been random, too.  Even when accessing the same server from the same machine, but using different accounts, I'd see different results.  For one account, I could create a folder, but for another account, the folder would get created locally, but not on the server.  So, whatever the reason for this strange behavior, I can say for certain that it's entirely an Outlook 2013 issue.

    Like you, I've never seen this problem with Outlook and IMAP before.  Outlook 2003 was OK.  Outlook 2007 did have some issues, but I can't remember now what the issues were.  It wasn't a mail loss issue or failure to move messages, though.  It more just some kind of annoyance.  Outlook 2010 was rock solid.  Outlook 2013 has proven to be totally unworkable and I've moved to a different email client.

    Thursday, October 17, 2013 1:54 AM
  • I have been having the same problem as well.  I gave up and am using a different mail client now as well.  Never had this problem till yesterday.  Was working fine until I turned on BitLocker.  I turned off BitLocker - re-installed and I still can't get it to download Inbox email.  It goes to my iPhone fine so I am using Thunderbird now as my email client. Using Outlook 2013 for calendar and contacts with iCloud.


    Friday, November 15, 2013 11:58 PM
  • I have exactly the same problem. I have two IMAP accounts exactly with the same characteristics: the inbox of the first account syncs perfectly, the other not.  The most ridiculous fact is that with the faulty IMAP I CAN send e-mails but I CAN'T receive emails. . I have set also a POP account for the same email address: I CAN receive the emails but I CANNOT send emails !!!!!! This is driving me mad AND I had no problem whatsoever with Outlook 2010. There must be something in the .ost file that prevents the syncing. WHAT ?????? But I expect Microsoft solving immediately this problem. I am naturally ready to provide all required infos (but my account pssword....)
    Wednesday, November 20, 2013 8:22 PM
  • Got a new laptop and was playing around and with Outlook 2013. I was looking to buy a copy of it.

    I faced the issue of delete not syncing properly in some mail accounts. After searching around and reading a few threads, and this one, I have decided not to buy 2013!!

    Definitely not crazy enough to risk missing mails, folders, or cluttered deleted mails in inbox (which i am facing now).

    • Edited by CrazyPlanet Monday, November 25, 2013 9:41 PM
    Monday, November 25, 2013 9:37 PM
  • Outlook 2013 and IMAP just isn't a good combination. It really doesn't sync very well. I had to change from Outlook 2013 to Thunderbird :(

    Friday, December 6, 2013 9:10 PM
  • This is also being discussed in another help forum.

    Here is what I find.  I can run send/receive F9 and watch the  process and it saying that it is syncing subscribed folders but it does not sync them.  Had two emails hit my phone and tablet yesterday over the push imap.  Didn't show up in Outlook.  Hit send/recieve several times and it says syncing subscribed folders but it does not.

    Now select another folder other than the inbox then select the inbox again, at bottom says syncing in box and one of the emails shows up, the later one.  Do the same thing again and the second one shows up, the earlier one.

    Makes no sense, but try highlighting the inbox then go back to it.

    This is similar to a problem some have had with sending emails, they just sit in the outbox.  Open the email, then select another folder, go back to the email and hit send, and it will get sent.

    Friday, January 3, 2014 4:36 PM
  • In my case the inbox stopped syncing. I managed to fix it by unticking the option to show only subscribed folders. Maybe there's a bug related to that in 2013?

    • Proposed as answer by Chetkowa Thursday, July 9, 2015 7:14 PM
    Monday, January 6, 2014 12:09 PM
  • Nice - this worked for me! I've seriously been bashing my head against the wall all day. Uninstalled Office, the whole thing! Cheers!
    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 9:49 PM
  • This may have been resolved in The fix matches the behavior I was seeing.
    Friday, January 17, 2014 8:20 AM
  • This update doesn't show in my installed windows updates so I downloaded it from the Microsoft website but I get the message "There are no products affected by this package installed on this computer" when I attempt to install.  On Monday I installed a new purchased copy of Office 2013 Professional Plus (which includes Outlook) and all emails and folders synced ok but the next day not all did and new emails haven't arrived since yet Windows Live Mail (no longer the default email client) continues to deal with all mail accurately.  The trash folder seems to be syncing and I'm getting plenty of error messages stating the folders that haven't synced.  If I have Outlook 2013 why does the update say it isn't applicable?
    Wednesday, January 22, 2014 8:49 PM
  • I notice the same issue with outlook 2013 not updating imap folders. I reverted back to 2010 and the problem was resolved, I suspect an issue with 2013 imap folders. 
    Saturday, February 1, 2014 3:57 PM
  • I had this happen to me and was able to resolve it by clearing offline items.  When I did that, everything locally in outlook disappeared.  I then changed to another folder and back to the folder that wasn't syncing and then the folder started to sync up again.

    Another point to note: I only started having this issue when I connected to the exchange server from my phone as well.

    Thursday, April 10, 2014 1:54 PM
  • ever figure it out?  I have several new machines just deployed all with the same problem running Imap.  works fine if you set up as POP.  I don't get it.  my issues are exactly as yours.
    Tuesday, June 24, 2014 2:20 PM
  • Nope.  Turning off show only subscripbed folders did not work.

    Thursday, June 26, 2014 3:23 PM
  • I am still having the same issues.  Tried everything above.  If you exit Outlook and open again after a few seconds you get one round of emails.  After that I can send, but it will not receive again unless I exit and open again.  Getting this with multiple users on multiple domains.  It does not do it right sway though.  I rebuilt one user's profile the other day and she was fine for several days.  Now she is starting to see it show up again.  Windows 7 Professional in Windows Server 2012 Essentials domain.  Office 2013 volume license edition.  Everything is 64-bit.
    Thursday, June 26, 2014 3:27 PM
  • Thanks to you, I was *finally* able to solve the issue of not receiving email.  I had spent 3 days in complete frustration, almost giving up.  Who knew that this stupid little check box would do the trick???  Hate Microsoft, love you!
    Thursday, August 14, 2014 5:48 PM
  • What "little check box?"

    I have tried everything in this thread, and nothing works. Everything used to be fine (mostly, if funky at times), but outlook no longer retrieves IMAP email messages since last night, when I archived last-year's emails. What the ...

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015 6:06 AM
  • Hmmm ... post-archiving, I finally got things working. Right-click on the archived inbox, select "Clean Up Folder." Shortly thereafter, everything was working again.

    Ok, so I got it working again. However, it took me hours to solve the problem, which I am upset about. It seems to me that MS should take care of these details during the archiving process, as part of the normal process for archiving IMAP accounts. How about putting someone who really understands both outlook and IMAP on the Outlook team?

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015 7:07 AM
  • This solution did not work and I followed it to the letter.
    Friday, June 26, 2015 5:17 PM
  • Hi Paul,

    This is the exact same behaviour we're seeing.  Outlook ends up with lots of mail stored locally which it claims is on the server but simply is not.  It seems to often be triggered by moving around mail in large quantities.  There are absolutely no errors visible.

    If you remove the .ost file associated with the account and restart Outlook it will happily sync properly again for a while - until the next time!  The problem then of course is that any mail Outlook claimed to have locally which is not on the server is lost, so I've taken to exporting all mail to a .pst file first before doing this, which means you can later fish out anything you realise is missing.

    In doing this I've found that once you open the exported .pst file in Outlook again suddenly there are hundreds of sync error messages visible which were simply not being shown at all in the Sync Issues folder!

    We're using this at work and I'm trying to support it and all I can advise people at the moment is to revert to Outlook 2010 or switch to Thunderbird.  And the scary thing is only those who are using webmail frequently or have shared role accounts are even noticing they're affected by this issue.  There could be many others with Outlook 2013 in this state and they'll only know when their computer breaks or is upgraded and they lose email.

    We don't have any support contract with Microsoft and I've no idea if we've any chance of getting them to look at this issue seriously without one.

    Thursday, July 9, 2015 8:23 AM
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you in a most platonic and nerdy way. I almost was to rip out the whole damn win 8.1 when I saw your answer.

    Thursday, July 9, 2015 7:13 PM
  • Hi,  

    I have a similar problem, it only seems to happen when the account is set to use cache mode, if I switch off cache mode it works fine..

    Has anyone found any other solutions to this as I really need to use cache mode!


    Monday, August 24, 2015 3:42 PM
  • This worked for me as well when I was having problems with errors when moved folders would show in two places and couldn't be deleted and "update folders" didn't help.  Thanks!!!

    Wednesday, October 28, 2015 5:25 PM
  • this worked for me, must be a bug in outlook 2013
    Friday, May 11, 2018 5:01 AM