I want to download emails from Gmail using POP3 with Outlook Express but it only downloads the first 350 and leaves the rest. There are over 2000 still there. How can I reset Outlook in a way to have it download all the emails and not just a bunch?

The emails downloaded are not recent. I've tried disabling and re-enabling POP options in the settings in Gmail itself but this doesn't fix the issue.

Failing that I would use IMAP.

I would try to then copy it locally on my machine to the standard POP Inbox folder in Outlook Express so that Express Archiver (a separate program) can then archive each email as a file with meaningful file names (e.g. subject, sender).

I want to download my emails because I archive and back it up with project work material it relates to, so it is all in one place.

  • Is it possible that Outlook Express thinks it has already downloaded these messages, or that it won't download messages that are older than...?! – MrWhite Dec 7 '10 at 13:38
  • I don't think this has to do with the email client but with the POP server. I get the same issue with Thunderbird. It downloads in "packs" between 400-500 emails at a time. I just keep hitting "Get New Messages" to fetch another "pack". – Geremia Aug 11 '16 at 20:46

Have you checked the settings in Gmail. Click Settings at the top >> Forwarding and POP/IMAP. Try enabling POP for all mail.

You might need to delete what you already downloaded.

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  • tried that, as said in my original question. but thanks anyway. – therobyouknow Dec 8 '10 at 12:34

Uncheck the "Keep emails on server" from your Outlook settings. Gmail already controls this for you and that's what caused the problem for me.

After I uncheked this flag from my Outlook settings it began downloading in bunches of 350 emails.


Silly question but did you try working by "packs" of 200-300 emails ? Mark the 200 (or so) most recent as unread and all others as read then try the POP3 again.

If that works, then mark another section of mails as unread and repeat the cycle.

  • I tried to mark as unread but it did not make any difference sorry, I don't think that the unread flag affects how gmail decides to offer email for download. In other words unread-flag and already-downloaded-flag (which is what I want to reset) are not the same. Not a silly question, but I'm still unlucky for a solution at the moment. Thanks anyway. – therobyouknow Dec 7 '10 at 11:08
  • I'm reading from google search results that google's POP implementation for gmail appears to be broken, if this is correct, then this might explain why I've been able to POP download all my emails before this latest attempt, early this year. IMAP seems to be encouraged. – therobyouknow Dec 7 '10 at 11:29

I am wondering whether gmail temporarily disabling your account's POP3. Wait for several hours and see whether Outlook Express can continue downloading emails.

  • I'll give it a try. – therobyouknow Dec 8 '10 at 12:34
  • I've gone the IMAP route instead see answer above. But thanks anyway. – therobyouknow Dec 31 '10 at 12:09


The solution I have is to use gmail in IMAP mode and then in Outlook Express transfer the emails appearing in IMAP folders into the Outlook Express local Inbox.

Once the emails are in the local Inbox they can be backed up using Express Archiver.

I like gmail to not have the backedup emails so the following steps include how to remove from gmail after you have the local backup up copy already downloaded. For me it helps to know what I have backed up and what I haven't.


  1. Set up IMAP for the gmail account
  2. Use gmail's labelling to organise email
  3. In gmail, choose a label that has the email for downloading for local backup, e.g. 'newsletters'
  4. Select all emails with this label e.g. 'newsletters' and add an additional label to these 'tobearchived'
  5. In outlook express (OE) set up gmail as an imap account
  6. In OE refresh the IMAP list, if necessary (via right-click pop up menu on IMAP top folder) to show the all gmail IMAP boxes, one for each gmail label
  7. In OE find the 'newsletters' IMAP mailbox
  8. Select all of the emails and drag into the local OE Inbox (not the IMAP one). The emails will be moved out of the IMAP mail box into the local Inbox
  9. Archive the emails from the OE local inbox: either drag them out of this inbox into a Windows folder or close OE and use Express Archiver.
  10. After Archiving/backing up emails, delete the original copies on the local OE Inbox.
  11. The emails downloaded via OE will still be present in gmail but with their IMAP tag removed 'newsletters' in the example because OE emptied the box when they were moved locally. However, the tobearchived label is still present so you can use this to delete off these emails from gmail that are now backed up locally, so that you dont have 2 different sets of copies.

Of course, gmail is a pretty good webmail client and as they say why would you want to delete anything, and just keep all email there. For me I like to associate emails with archives of projects that I do: audio, video, software so it's all in one place. So I still like to trust myself in managing my data rather than online storage, for now.

  • 1
    If you're doing archiving, I'd look at fetchmail instead of a GUI client. Since you're on Windows, probably fetchmail on Cygwin is more helpful. – Rich Homolka Feb 19 '12 at 22:01
  • +1 For the suggestion though @Rich Homolka. It's worth considering for Linux/Unix platform. I have MacOS and Ubuntu so could try it out on that as some point. Not a fan of Cygwin - I've messy to setup: various environmental variables to consider, not a clean install. MobaXTerm is a variant and much preferred as it is cleaner, and standalone out the the box, would it work with that? Perhaps the fetchmail tool could be made truly cross-platform and not require a supporting environment? Mnay languages such as Python, Perl, Java have cross platform APIs into system resources. – therobyouknow Feb 21 '12 at 8:46
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    fetchmail is a very stable tool and has been around forever, pre-web if I remember. I seem to have seen it in MacPorts. – Rich Homolka Feb 21 '12 at 16:12
  • +1 Thanks @Rich Homolka for the tip about it being available for MacPorts - I am aware of MacPorts so that's useful to know. I'm not disputing the stability of fetchmail (or indeed its longevity), rather, my comments are on the portability of the tool - the ability for it to run, without (or minimal) modification or dependencies, on multiple platforms. Stability and portability are 2 distinct qualities (forgive me if I'm stating the obvious! :) ). Thanks for your input. – therobyouknow Feb 22 '12 at 11:59

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