IMAP problems in Outlook after Microsoft updates

It’s happened again … Microsoft releases updates for Outlook which break the important IMAP feature that many people rely upon.

After installing some of the November 2014 updates, some Outlook users find their IMAP or Exchange Server connections stop synchronizing.

And Microsoft’s response has been typical – almost complete silence.  You won’t find a Knowledge Base article detailing the problem, despite having been reported many, many times.  The buggy patches are still being pushed out to unsuspecting customers but a fix was posted a whole month later.

If you dig deep down on KB2837618 you’ll find downloads that apparently fix the problem (under the ‘Known Issues’ heading.  We’d be interested to hear from readers who’ve tried this.

Microsoft officially supports IMAP in Outlook but it’s always been a low priority.  IMAP is a rival to their own ActiveSync service which they would much prefer you use, because Microsoft makes money out of licensing that technology to other companies.  While IMAP was the main victim of this

There are various fixes published on the web which were written before Microsoft quietly released the patch for the original patch.  Here’s a summary of things to try if the above patch doesn’t help.  We’ve not been able to test these (because we can’t replicate the bug on any of our test machines).

Disable ‘Show only Subscribed Folders’

Go to the IMAP Folders dialog and UNcheck the option ‘When displaying hierarchy in Outlook, how only subscribed folders.’

Go to the Send/Receive tab and click ‘Send/Receive all Folders’ to force an IMAP synchronization.

Change Root Folder Path

Go to the Account Settings for the IMAP account  File | Info | Account Settings under the E-mail tab select the IMAP account then the Change button.  On the next screen look for the ‘More Settings’ button on bottom right.

Under the Advanced tab look for the ‘Root folder path’ and change it to read INBOX (all caps).

Go to the Send/Receive tab and click ‘Send/Receive all Folders’ to force an IMAP synchronization.

Disable AutoArchive

Right-click on the Inbox folder for the IMAP account, choose properties then the AutoArchive tab.  Make sure AutoArchive is turned OFF. has long recommended against using AutoArchive anyway … this is just another good reason.

Remove the buggy patches

As a last resort, remove the faulty patches.

Go to Control Panel | Programs and Features | View Installed Updates look for updates with reference numbers:




Click on each and then the Uninstall button.  Restart Outlook.

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