Why is Outlook 2010 with a Gmail IMAP account so slow?
Question by Anders /
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I am giving Outlook 2010 (not the beta) a spin with GMail as an IMAP account. Synchronization with GMail’s IMAP folders takes forever to complete (unlike Thundebird, Apple Mail, Windows Live Mail).

Any ideas of what is causing this or how to work around it?

I have read posts which suggest only downloading headers or changing to POP, but none of these suggestions are really solutions. I need the offline eMail reading capability.

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Answers (46)
  • Louisangel

    I found a workaround this problem that works for me. Allow
    Outlook 2010 to download and synch your Gmail accounts and when you’re ready to
    read your mail, click on the Send / Receive tab and click “Work Offline.” You
    will now be able to open and delete messages instantly. Just click “Work
    Offline” again to go back online and resume synchronization.

    • Tina

      Thank you for sharing your workaround, Louisangel!

    • Alexander

      Great. I followed your advice. What I did instead of working offline is to change send and receive settings from one minute to twenty minutes. It works great.

  • Matthew

    First of all, I would ALWAYS recommend IMAP over POP3. The likes of Gmail and Hotmail and Yahoo etc, will always have a better backup system than us users. So why take the risk and download your emails locally into one file (in the case of Outlook) and pray that it never gets corrupted?

    Regarding the original question, I found another solution which may help.

    Go to OPTIONS, Then ADVANCED, Then click the button which says "SEND & RECIEVE" and highlight the account which is causing you problems. Then Click EDIT.

    On the page that opens, you'll see the following options:-

    - Download Headers for Subscribed Folders
    - Download Complete Items including Attachments for Subscribed Folders
    - Use the custom behaviour defined below.

    I chose the custom option and enabled the attachments and complete items for my inbox, but then my organised folders which stored all my "archive" and discussion emails etc, I set to "Headers" which then only downloads the subject and first few lines of the email and NOT all the attachments etc. 

    This speeds up the syncronising of these folders.

    If you still need to access these emails, simply click on them as usual and it will download the email on the fly, as required.

  • Buy Facebook Fans

    I'm having this issue as well. Only when deleting messages however.

  • Pedro Perezim

    Dude, I saw this solution in a brazilian website.

    Change "imap.gmail.com" to "imap.googlemail.com" and "smtp.gmail.com" to "smtp.googlemail.com". SSLcryptography in and TSL cryptography out. It works for me.

  • Jm

    I have all your suggestions but deletion in Outlook is still very slow. I have looked on other boards and still have not found an asnwer.

    • Tina


      thanks for the input and sorry that you haven't been able to find a fix. Please do let us know in case you manage to solve this issue after all. Thank you!

  • Bob

    Or in Gmail cancel the tags for the inbox (gmail anlyazing for important mail).
    goto labels and remove "show in IMAP" from most of labels (leave inbox, drafts, and sent intems)

    Most important: in outlook goto "send an receive" groups setup, edit the default group there and make sure it downloads only the headers for every account.

    this fix the slow folders sync! and not limited for the number of messages on IMAP

  • A.Guest

    Limit GMAIL IMAP Messages to 1000 messages.  Leave Outlook overnight to sync folders. Once completed, it is very fast with OL 2010.

  • John

    Stumbled onto this thread and notice nobody answered Anders two questions.  So I'll give it a shot.  The biggest reason OUTLOOK IMAP synchronizing is slow is because the Outlook default IMAP setup has you synchronize every folder on GMAIL to outlook.

    The work around in Outlook is to right click on your gmail account and select IMAP FOLDERS.  Click on QUERY, after list is updated click on SUBSCRIBED tab. Unsubscribe everything except INBOX, SENT MAIL and DRAFTS.

  • Jack Saltiel

    I have the same problem with a GoDaddy email account which I access with IMAP. I do not have the Outlook Hotmail Connector installed. It is painfully slow. Performance was OK until about 2 months ago when it slowed down horribly. I have cleaned up my email since then to no avail.

    • Tina


      did you try the suggestions above? If yes, this may be worth asking a new question to get some fresh suggestions for your case.

  • Test


    the last post from Guiwells is USEFUL !
    1/ link your Gmail to Outlook
    2/ set "SEND/RECEIVE All Folders" - unlink GMAIl from default sending/receiving group
    3/ create new sending/receiving group for GMAIL and select just importants folders

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