Email question: switching from POP to IMAP.

So, i just found out that my university has joined the 21st century and is offering IMAP connection for our email accounts.

For the past five years, i’ve had a POP account and all of my emails from that time period are now on my computer. But i like the idea of moving to IMAP, becuase i often need to check my email when i’m away from my computer, and it would be nice to have access to older messages when i’m on the road.

I know how to set up an IMAP account; my question, though, is about making a switch from POP to IMAP. Is changing over from one to the other simply a matter of changing the incoming server settings on my current account from the POP server to the IMAP server? And are there any implications for the way my messages will display in my email client if the last five years’ worth of messages were downloaded using POP. but all future messages are synchronised IMAP messages?

Does anyone have any experience with this? Should i create a new account in the email client for the new IMAP configuration?

I’m using Thunderbird, although i imagine that the answer would probably apply to most email clients.

I hate IMAP, because with large mailboxes it seems to fall apart. At least, MIT’s implementation does. Last year it got to the point where it would take at least ten minutes for me to check my mail, and actually reading the contents of new messages involved a similar delay. I did have tens of thousands of messages in the account, but still…

It may have been a problem with my mail client, not IMAP itself, but it was annoying enough for me to not bother troubleshooting anymore.

And that was on a fast network connection - via dialup over my cell phone, it took so long I never had the patience to wait it finished.

I also didn’t like needing a network connection to access my old mail.

What I did to solve the “check email on the road” problem is configure my POP client to leave messages on the server for two weeks. That way, I can still log in via the web interface to access any message I’ve recently received.

I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind voluntarily opting for IMAP.

You’re trusting some other machine run by someone else to keep all your email (old and new) safe.

Your email isn’t local, which means it’s going to be slow and tedious work to search once you’ve got 20-30,000 emails to search through. Assuming that the administrator of this machine LETS you hold onto 20-30,000 emails. It ain’t your hard drive. What do you do when they say “You’re taking up too damn much space, get this crap off our email server” - ?? OK, so you copy the backlog to your hard disk. Well, since some of it’s there now anyhow, why not put it all there?


Explain to me this “away from my computer” thingie. I don’t get it. Unless you’re going hiking in the Pecos Wilderness or shooting the rapids on the Colorado River, why would you ever be away from your computer? Do you not have a laptop? What? You don’t? Oh… well damn, get a laptop! How can you stand not having your computer available to you whenever you want it?

What the fuck is this about?

Either you’re being sarcastic, which is stupid, because there are perfectly legitimate reasons for wanting to have access to one’s email when one’s computer isn’t available.

Or you’re not being sarcastic, which is equally stupid, because right now i can’t afford to go out and drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on a laptop so i can have my computer with me all the time. I have good reasons for having only a desktop.

If you can’t answer the question without being a jerk, maybe you shouldn’t bother.

I wasn’t expecting to be taken dead seriously. I suppose you could say I was poking fun at my own perspective & assumptions, realizing mid-way into my post that not everybody finds it necessary to always have their computer with them the way I do. Obviously a big part of my dismissal of IMAP comes from the convenient fact that I always have all my POP mail readily on hand. Guess I should’ve put some kind of smiley in there to indicate I realized my attitude towards IMAP was coming from a rather narrow viewing perspective, etc.

No offense intended.

Essentially, you probably won’t see much difference between an IMAP implementation and a POP one. The main advantage to IMAP is that your messages are available from any computer. The main difference is that you need to remember to purge messages after deleting them, but most POP clients these days have a two-step deletion process, anyway.

I have IMAP at work and POP at home. Right now I need to access about 40 messages on my home computer. Can’t get at them: they’re on my computer. If I had been using IMAP, no problem.

Your trusting a computer professional who makes daily backups (at least – many systems make hourly backups) of all the e-mail on the system to keep your e-mail safe. How often do you back up your own e-mail, AHunter? IMAP is much safer.

No problem. Sorry i over-reacted.

Anyway, for the most part i’ve been happy enough with my POP email, and there’s only been a couple of times when not having immediate access to all my old messages has been a problem. Maybe i’d just be better off leaving things as they are.

I love IMAP. I have easy access to my e-mail at home, at work or on the road. I don’t keep all my mail in a single mail folder (what sort of crackhead would do that?), so downloading new messages doesn’t take forever. I run my own mail server, so the “it’s not your hard drive” issue doesn’t apply to me, either. My mail server is backed up regularly and automatically, whereas my various desktop and laptop machines aren’t. So IMAP makes sense for me.