I'm trying to rescue a ton of old mail from Outlook Express. I want to connect OE to my Gmail account via IMAP so I can upload the mail to Gmail.

Question is: when I connect my Gmail via IMAP, will OE try to download all ten gazillion gigs of mail from my Gmail account? (And if so, can I prevent that?)

I just want to upload mail, not download anything.

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    You can't just "upload" email to Google Mail without syncing your client with the current state of the server. – Ramhound Jun 26 '14 at 16:02
  • I think what the OP is asking is can they add an IMAP account (his GMail) but only have it sync, say, a day's worth of email - much like when you add an account to an iPhone... you can limit the "initial" amount of emails to synchronise... THEN you can drag & drop emails from your old "PST" to a folder on your GMail IMAP – Kinnectus Jun 26 '14 at 16:05
  • @BigChris - Perhaps. But questions about how to configure your Google Mail account in order to do this isn't on topic here at Superuser. – Ramhound Jun 26 '14 at 17:13
  • The OP hasn't asked how to configure GMail... They've merely asked if simply adding the GMail account (to do a move from PST to GMail) will needlessly download his entire GMail mailbox when all they want to do is move some emails from PST to a live mailbox. Does either OE or Live Mail support downloading only, say, a day's worth of emails so the OP can "add" (upload) some additional messages via IMAP rather than forwarding the messages... – Kinnectus Jun 26 '14 at 20:15
  • If the setting required "is" in GMail then, yes, the question becomes a "how to configure GMail"... But, surely, it's mainly the client that decides how many to synchronise with... Because it's the user who wishes to determine how much to download - going back to when you add an account to an iPhone, for example. – Kinnectus Jun 26 '14 at 20:19

IMAP does not download your mail in a batch. Pop does, but IMAP doesn't work like that, so the answer is no.

What IMAP will do is download the email header of all your emails, and when you click an email, it will then download that email.

On top of that, you can select to synchronize based on age, such as: Only the recent 30 days.

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If you're still using (the ancient) Outlook Express, you are using unsupported software to read your mail. OE came out with Internet Explorer 4 to Internet Explorer 6, and was later upgraded to Windows Mail. Google generally supports the use of the last two versions (of browsers, email clients, etc), so if you lose information or your email gets messed up, you're all on your own, be warned!

That being said, in your Google webmail settings, you can set how many messages will be downloaded per folder. So if you don't care about really old emails, your email client doesn't have to download them. That gives you the disadvantage that you can't search for them through your email client though... Google does not decide whether to download the whole message or just the headers. That's the work of your email client.

Most IMAP clients will only download the headers of the message (to, from, date, subject, ...) without any contents or attachments, by default. As soon as you open a message, the contents and attachment will be picked up. You can set the behaviour in the settings of your email client, if for example you want to download all contents automatically so that all content will be searchable in your email client.

Since Outlook Express hasn't been supported for YEARS now, I will not dig up info that is outdated. Instead I recommend you use an up-to-date email client like Thunderbird, Outlook (2013/2010), Windows Mail, or any other recent email client you prefer.

You should open a new request if you can't find the settings in a specific (supported) client to manage your IMAP downloads.

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