If you have a Gmail account, you know how convenient it is to be able to access your e-mail from any computer connected to the Internet — including your home computer. You just point your browser to the Gmail server, sign in, and you're sending and receiving e-mail messages in no time.
While this is a very nice capability to have when you're out and about in the world, when you're using your home computer, you may want to be able to work from the comfort of Vista's Windows Mail rather than having to use a browser. Fortunately, Google has added IMAP capabilities to Gmail, thus making it possible for you to access your Gmail account in Windows Mail.
With IMAP capabilities built into Gmail, you have the ability to use both Windows Mail and the Web-based interface at the same time. This is because IMAP provides two-way synchronization between the Gmail server and a local e-mail client, such as Windows Mail.
For example, this means that you can send and receive e-mail messages in Windows Mail on your home computer and then later access the Web-based interface from your office computer and see the exact same messages. Likewise, you can send and receive e-mail messages from the Web-based interface on your office computer and see the exact same messages in Windows Mail on your home computer.
In this edition of the Windows Vista Report, I'll show you how to configure Windows Mail to send and receive e-mail messages from Gmail's server.
Configuring Gmail settingsThe first thing that you have to do is enable IMAP on your Gmail account. To do so, launch Internet Explorer and sign in to your Gmail account as you normally would. Once you do, click the Settings link at the very top of the Gmail main page. When you get to the Settings page, select the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab. Then, select the Enable IMAP option button, as shown in Figure A, and click the Save Changes button.
From Gmail's Settings page, you must enable IMAP.
The second thing that you should do is perform some housekeeping in your Gmail account. You should clear out the Spam and Junk E-mail folders. You'll then want to empty the Trash. Doing so now, will save you some time when you perform the initial synchronization operation.
Configuring Windows MailTo configure Windows Mail to access Gmail, you'll launch Windows Mail from the Start | All Programs menu. Once Windows Mail is up and running, pull down the Tools menu and select the Accounts command. When you see the Internet Accounts dialog box, as shown in Figure B, click the Add button to launch the Account wizard.
From the Internet Accounts dialog box, you'll click the Add button to launch the Account wizard.Once the Account wizard launches, you'll see the Select Account Type page. The E-mail account line should be selected by default, as shown in Figure C. To get started, just click the Next button.
Make sure that E-mail account is selected and then click Next.
In the next two pages, you'll be prompted to supply your Display name, the name that will appear in the From field on an outgoing e-mail message, and your Gmail e-mail address. Then, the Set Up E-mail Servers page appears.You'll first need to select IMAP from the Incoming E-mail Server Type drop down. Next, type imap.gmail.com in the Incoming Mail text box and smtp.gmail.com in the Outgoing E-mail Server text box, as shown in Figure D. To continue, select the Outgoing Server Requires Authentication check box and click the Next button.
Be sure you type in the Incoming and Outgoing E-mail Server names exactly as shown here.You'll then see the Internet Mail Logon page where you're prompted to enter your account name and password. You'll notice that the wizard will automatically provide the first part of your Gmail address in the E-mail Username text box. However, you will need to provide your full e-mail address in this text box in order for Windows Mail to properly access the Gmail server. You'll then type in your password, which will be masked, and the select the Remember Password check box, as shown in Figure E.
Make sure that you type your full Gmail address in the E-mail Username text box.When you click Next, you'll see the Congratulations page. Make sure that you select the Do Not Download My E-mail and Folder At This Time check box, as shown in Figure F. Then, click the Finish button.
To complete the wizard, select the check box and click Finish.When you return to the Internet Accounts dialog box, select your new Gmail account, if it is not already selected, and click the Properties button. When the Properties dialog box appears, you'll want to rename the Mail Account name from imap.gmail.com to something more appropriate, like Gmail, as shown in Figure G.
Rename the Mail Account with a more user friendly name.Now, select the Advanced tab. At this point, select both of the This Server Requires A Secure Connection (SSL) check boxes first, then type 465 in the Outgoing Mail (SMTP) text box and 993 in the Incoming Mail (IMAP) text box, as shown in Figure H. (Keep in mind that if you type numbers in the text boxes before you select the check boxes, the numbers may revert to the default values, which will cause connection problems.)
Select both check boxes before you type the SMTP and IMAP port numbers.Select the IMAP tab and type [Gmail] in the Root Folder Path text box, as shown in Figure I. To continue, click OK. Then, in the Internet Accounts dialog box, click Close.
Make [Gmail] the Root folder path.
You'll then immediately see a Windows Mail dialog box, which prompts you to download your folders from the Gmail server to Windows Mail. To continue, click Yes. When you do, the folders will download and you'll see the Show/Hide IMAP Folder dialog box. To complete the operation, just click OK.You'll now see your Gmail folders in Windows Mail, as shown in Figure J. To activate the initial synchronization, pull down the Tools menu and select the Synchronize All command. As soon as you do, all of your messages will be copied from the Gmail server to Windows Mail.
Your Gmail folders will now appear in Windows Mail.
Keep in mind that this may take a few minutes depending on how many messages you have in your Gmail account. However, if you've performed the housekeeping steps I described at the beginning of this article, the process will go relatively fast.
Editor's note: You can also synchronize a calendar in Outlook with a calendar on Google.
Do you use Gmail?
Do you use Gmail? Are you likely to configure Windows Mail to access Gmail? If you've already done so, what has your experience been? Please drop by the discussion area and let us know.
Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.