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Making Yahoo Mail Work with Outlook 2003

By Brian | June 17, 2006 | Share on Facebook

Oh my God, I can’t believe I didn’t think of this until just now…

For a very, very long time, I’ve been having trouble using Outlook 2003 as a POP3 client for my Yahoo mail account. The replication would download everything in the Inbox just fine, but when it started to download the messages in Yahoo’s Bulk folder (the place where it puts potential spam), it would randomly fail with a mail server error (either 0x800CCC90 or 0x800420CD). The failure point was never predictable – sometimes it would fail on the first message, sometimes it would get through dozens of messages and fail then. Sometimes, I would simply click “Send/Receive” again, and the same batch of e-mail that generated the error would work fine. I even found that moving the mouse around or scrolling the scroll wheel while the messages were downloading helped prevent the error (maybe it had something to do with keeping the client side from going idle? I don’t know – it sounds strange to me, but I’m very sure it helped…)

This problem was particularly annoying because when the download doesn’t finish, Yahoo doesn’t delete the mail from the server. So if I walk away from my machine with Outlook running, and it has this problem after the 50th message, I might get 9 or 10 copies of those fifty messages on my hard drive. The only way to stop it was to go to the Yahoo Mail website and manually delete the already downloaded mail.

I spoke with Yahoo when it first started happening, and they sent me here and closed the support ticket. The problem is that this is a known bug with Outlook Express, not Outlook 2003. I tried the fix anyway, but to no avail.

So tonight, it hits me: the problem is only with the Bulk mail folder. For some reason, it never has a problem with the regular Inbox. So I shut off the Spamguard feature, which makes it send all the mail to the Inbox! Now, not only does the download work, but it goes faster than before, and there’s no scrolling or clicking required on the client end.

The problem remains unsolved, but it’s no longer my problem! Hallelujah!

Topics: Tech Talk | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Making Yahoo Mail Work with Outlook 2003”

  1. Jeff Porten says at June 20th, 2006 at 9:24 pm :
    Mental note for Brian — in the future, mention these problems to me, okay? That would have been the first thing I thought of. I almost always turn off server-side spam filters when I’ve got decent client-side.

    Re your other problem: Mail.app automatically checks message IDs and if it sees a message that it’s already downloaded, it skips it. (Usually.) I’d be shocked if this weren’t an option in Outlook, and then you wouldn’t get duplicates on the client side. Downside is that I have a once-a-month routine where I have to go manually empty the messages that are left behind on the server — since they’re skipped on the 2nd and subsequent pass, they’re never deleted.

  2. Brian says at June 20th, 2006 at 11:55 pm :
    That might be, but before GMail came about, Yahoo was only offering 5MB (I think it was 5…) of space, so leaving stuff on the server was a really bad idea – one big screen shot, or a couple of digital photos from the family, and the mailbox would fill up. So I never looked into options that wound up leaving stuff on the server.

    In any case, it doesn’t matter now. Yahoo gives me more than enough space, and every time I Send/Receive now, the server gets emptied.

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