Download headers and messages for POP3 e-mail accounts

When working with your POP3 (POP3: A common protocol that is used to retrieve e-mail messages from an Internet e-mail server.) e-mail account (e-mail account: The server name, user name, password, and e-mail address used by Outlook to connect to an e-mail service. You create the e-mail account in Outlook by using information provided by your administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).), you can choose to download either message headers (message header: Summary information that you download to your computer to determine whether to download, copy, or delete the entire message from the server. The header includes these fields: Subject, From, Received, Importance, Attachment, and Size.) or complete messages, including attachments. Once a message is downloaded from your e-mail server, the default setting is to delete the message from the e-mail server to free up space in your e-mail account with your Internet service provider (ISP) (ISP: A business that provides access to the Internet for such things as electronic mail, chat rooms, or use of the World Wide Web. Some ISPs are multinational, offering access in many locations, while others are limited to a specific region.).

Downloading only the headers first from your POP3 mail server can be useful if you receive large e-mail messages. Based on the information in the headers, you can selectively download only the items that you want. For example, when traveling with a laptop computer, you may be using a slower connection and do not want to download large messages or attachments. Therefore, downloading just the headers is useful.

This article assumes that you have already added your POP3 e-mail account to Microsoft Outlook. Find links to more information about adding e-mail accounts in the See Also section.

What do you want to do?


Download headers

E-mail message headers do not contain the body of messages. You can choose to download only the headers of all your messages and then choose some messages to download immediately. By downloading the headers and only the messages that you want, you can reduce your connection time. After you download the headers, you can choose which messages, if any, that you want to download or delete from the e-mail server.

  • Download headers manually    
    • On the Tools menu, point to Send/Receive, point to the account, and then click Download Inbox Headers.
  • Download headers automatically    
  1. On the Tools menu, point to Send/Receive, point to Send/Receive Settings, and then click Define Send/Receive Groups.
  2. Under Group Name, select a group that contains your POP3 account.

 Note   If you have not created custom Send/Receive groups, select the All Accounts group.

  1. Click Edit.
  2. Under Folder Options, select Download headers only.

 Note   If you have more than one account in a Send/Receive group, and you want to download items completely for some accounts and only the headers for some others, create another Send/Receive group. In one of the Send/Receive groups, include all the accounts for which you want to download only the headers. In the other, include the accounts for which you want to download all the items completely.

When you download a header, Header indicator appears beside the message listing.

Message header

Top of Page Top of Page

Mark messages to download or delete

After you download the headers, you can do one of the following with each header:

  • Mark the message to be downloaded and removed from the e-mail server.
  • Mark the message to be copied (and leave a copy on the server).
  • Delete the message from the server without downloading it.

When you download your messages, they are removed from the e-mail server by default. When you copy your messages, a copy of the message is downloaded to your computer, and the message also remains on the server allowing you to download the message from another computer. When you delete your messages in Outlook, they are removed both from your computer and from the server.

  • Mark the headers for messages to download and delete on the mail server    
    • In the Inbox, right-click the header, and then on the shortcut menu, click Mark to Download Message(s).

An icon appears after you mark a header to download a message. The icon indicates that the next time a send/receive occurs, the message will be downloaded and removed from the mail server.

  • Mark the headers for messages to be copied from the server    
    • In the Inbox, right-click the header, and then click Mark to Download Message Copy on the shortcut menu.

Download message copy

After you mark a header to download a copy of the message, the Marked to download message copy icon appears.

The icon denotes that the next time a send/receive occurs, a copy of the e-mail message will be downloaded to your computer.

Message to be downloaded

  • Mark the headers for messages to be deleted on the mail server    
    • In the Inbox, click the item to delete, and then press DELETE. A red X appears and the first line of the header displays in strikethrough text.

 Note   You can select multiple items for deletion by holding down CTRL while clicking the messages, and then clicking DELETE.

 Note   If you move a header to another folder (for example, move it manually or by using a rule), and then mark the header, the header will not be processed when you click Process Marked Headers. Only headers in the Inbox are processed.

Top of Page Top of Page

Download messages

Do one of the following:

  • Get new messages manually    
    • On the Tools menu, point to Send/Receive, point to the account, and then click Inbox.
  • Get new messages automatically    
  1. On the Tools menu, point to Send/Receive, point to Send/Receive Settings, and then click Define Send/Receive Groups.
  2. Under Group Name, select a group that contains your POP3 e-mail account, and then under Setting for group name, select the Schedule an automatic send/receive every n minutes check box, and then enter a number between 1 and 1440.

 Note   If you have not created custom Send/Receive groups, select the All Accounts group.

Your POP3 e-mail server will be checked and new messages downloaded according to the schedule that you choose.

By default, when you add a POP3 e-mail account, Outlook downloads complete items, including attachments, and then deletes the item from the server. If you change this setting to retrieve only the headers, you can switch back to complete items.

  1. On the Tools menu, point to Send/Receive, point to Send/Receive Settings, and then click Define Send/Receive Groups.
  2. Under Group Name, select a group that contains your POP3 e-mail account.

 Note   If you have not created any custom Send/Receive groups, select the All Accounts group.

  1. Click Edit.
  2. Under Folder Options, select Download complete item including attachments.

Top of Page Top of Page

Delete messages on the e-mail server

By default, after a message is downloaded from a POP3 e-mail server, it is deleted from the server. However, if you are only downloading message headers, or if you have turned on the Leave a copy of messages on the server option, the message remains on the mail server.

For more information about the Leave a copy of messages on the server option, see the links in the See Also section.

You do not have to download the message to delete it from the server. You can mark headers of messages to be deleted from the e-mail server. This is useful when you recognize that an e-mail message can be deleted based on your review of the message header alone. The Mark messages to download or delete section in this article explains how to mark headers for deletion.

After a header is marked for deletion, do the following:

  1. Delete messages from your computer and from the server    
    • In the Inbox, click the item to delete, and then press DELETE. A red X appears and the first line of the header display appears in strikethrough text.

 Note   You can select multiple items for deletion by holding down CTRL while clicking the messages, and then clicking DELETE.

  1. On the Tools menu, point to Send/Receive, point to the account, and then click Process Marked Headers.

When you delete message headers, the header is deleted on your computer, and the complete message is deleted from the mail server. Therefore, any other computer or profile that you use will not be able to retrieve them from the e-mail server.

 Note   If you move a header to another folder either move it manually or by using a rule), and then mark the header, the header will not be processed when you click Process Marked Headers. Only headers in the Inbox are processed.

Top of Page Top of Page

 
 
Applies to:
Outlook 2007