How do I... Add my existing Gmail account to Windows Mail?

From Gmail's Settings page, you must enable IMAP

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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 settings
The 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, and click the Save Changes button.

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.

By Greg Shultz

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.