Thursday, 23 June 2011

How to speed up Gmail IMAP in Outlook... No more hangs, not responding or timeouts!

I have now switched 4 clients over to Google Apps for Domains and they have all noticed various speed issues from time to time.

The most common is Google Mail hanging or not responding when doing various operations such as deleting or sending email.

I have tried to contact Google several times and have been getting no where, and searching the internet has come up pretty blank.

Anyway, straight to it... Examples/Pictures are based on Outlook 2010, but, you should be able to adapt to other versions.

The problem is because of both Gmail IMAP being bad, and Oulook's IMAP handling not being as good as it could be.

Firstly, Go to the "Send / Receive" Tab, and "Define Send/Receive Groups"

Next, tick all the boxes and change the send/receive timer down to one minute (or whatever you want).

Then, double click on the account, and whilst you can use any settings you like, I recommend ticking Inbox and choosing "Download complete item including attachments", then unticking all the other boxes.

Lastly and most importantly, put Outlook in to Offline mode.

And we are done!

The reason for this, as far as I can see, is that Outlook attempts to do all operations live on the server, however, Google's IMAP server constantly disconnects, and generally does not play nice with Outlook. This means that every time you try to do an operation, it has to reconnect - but it does this on the UI thread and causes everything to hang.

By forcing Outlook in to Offline Mode, it does every operation locally and instantly on your machine then because we set the account to send/receive whilst in offline mode, everything will still work as expected and because the send/receive happens in the background, nothing freezes!

The only downside is that this countdown to the minute is always running in the background, if you send an email, it will not actually go until the next cycle, so if on the phone or doing something urgent, you may want to click send/receive instead of waiting.

I have been racking my brain out on this, I really hope it helps you and please leave a comment/pass it on if it has!


  1. Nice job this helped out a lot and makes sense.

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  2. Thank you. I have been beating my head against the wall on this issue.

  3. Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks very much, this helped me a lot!!!

  5. Maybe I missed something (but I double checked all steps/settings) - when Outlook (2010) is set to 'Work Offline', nothing happens. Not even if a press Send/Receive. No updates. Any ideas?

  6. Thanks William! Everything is working quickly now. FWIW, I do not have to go into offline mode for everything to be much faster than before.

  7. This was some great advice. Thank you!

  8. I appreciate your time to post this fix. Worked perfectly! I am no longer pulling my hair out with frustration.

  9. Really motivating and very much convincing post, Want more. The way you have share this information is really very grateful,

  10. thank you for taking the time to screen dump and share it.. appreciated.

  11. Thanks! it's an improvement but still has some hiccups.

  12. The main difficulty with working offline is that it doesn't allow you to move emails across the folders (labels in Gmail). Any tips for that?

  13. The main difficulty with working offline is that it doesn't allow you to move emails across the folders (labels in Gmail). Any tips for that?

  14. The main difficulty with working offline is that it doesn't allow you to move emails across the folders (labels in Gmail). Any tips for that?

  15. It helped some but I don't receive email when offline. Outlook only sends them

  16. William, thank you My Outlook has never worked smoother - Now to figure out how to change the outlook Offline icon!

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  21. Works perfect!!! Incredible how simple steps help to solve this mad issue. Thank you!

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  23. Great! this tip worked for me with Outlook 2010. Thanks!

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