How To Set Up & Troubleshoot The Mail App In Windows 8

Tina Sieber 27-06-2013

troubleshoot windows 8 mailWindows 8 features a pretty slick Mail app. If you thought it only supported Microsoft accounts, such as Hotmail, Windows Live, or Outlook, you were wrong. The Windows 8 Mail app lets you add any email account that supports IMAP.


As it always is in life, the theory is beautiful, but in practice we run into all sorts of petty issues. That was me when I tried to set up the Windows 8 Mail app. This article is based on my experiences. It will help you set up the Mail app in two super simple steps, which should be very easy, unless you run into issues like me. And so I added troubleshooting tips to help you avoid some common pitfalls.

Set Up Windows 8 Mail App

When you log into Windows 8 with a local account and open Mail for the first time, you will be asked to log in with your Microsoft account.

troubleshoot windows 8 mail

If you are logged into Windows 8 with your Microsoft account already, you should see the respective email account, given your Microsoft account is based on a Hotmail, Outlook, or Windows Live email address. Otherwise, you will see three blank columns and a note to Add your email accounts. Since I used my Gmail address to create a Microsoft account, that is what I saw.

Add Email Accounts to Windows 8 Mail App


That is perfectly normal! Go ahead and click an account you wish to add. If Mail comes up completely blank, click [Windows] + [I] to bring up the app’s Settings, go to Accounts, select Add an account, and choose an option from the list. Enter your email address and password and try your luck.

The trouble starts, when you don’t actually succeed in adding any accounts.

Problem: Cannot Add Any Email Account

Do you see one of these error messages:

  • Unable to connect. Ensure that the information you’ve entered is correct.
  • That email address or password didn’t work. Double-check them and try again.

First, make sure your login details are correct. Windows won’t let you see your password as you enter it, but you can click and hold the eye symbol on the far right of the password field to briefly review your password.


windows 8 mail app troubleshoot

Second, while your password might be correct, it won’t work if you enabled two-factor authentication, e.g. Gmail’s two step verification. In that case you need specific password to log in. Log into your email account via its web interface or use a mobile app you might have to obtain this a temporary application-specific password.

Third, check your Internet connection! When I first tried to add an account, the Adding your account wheel would spin forever before one of those errors popped up. I tried every trick in the book, and out of pure desperation I even refreshed Windows 8. To no avail. When I finally connected to the Internet using a LAN cable, it suddenly worked.

Don’t laugh! I was actually connected to the Internet via WiFi the whole time. I can only suspect that Windows was downloading updates in the background and hence connecting to the email account eventually timed out. Later, adding accounts via WiFi worked perfectly fine.


Summary Of Possible Solutions:

  • Double-check your login details are correct.
  • Are you using two step verification? Get an application-specific password!
  • Connect to Internet via LAN cable.

Problem: Cannot Add A Gmail Account

So you tried all of the above and you’re still stuck. If you’re trying to add a Gmail account, your mistake might be that you’re trying to Include your Google contacts and calendars.

troubleshoot windows 8 mail

Unfortunately, Google no longer supports new Exchange ActiveSync connections. The only way to sync your Google calendar How To Sync Multiple Google Calendars To Windows 8 A decent calendar service is indispensable. No matter what alternative I tried using - Windows Live, iCloud - I've always turned back to Google Calendar. It's easy to use, and widely supported. Even most (desktop... Read More and contacts to Windows 8 is through workarounds described in the previous link. To add your Google email account to the Mail app, you must un-check the respective option.



  • Un-check box next to option Include your Google contacts and calendars.

Problem: Cannot Add Other Account

Like most email clients, the Mail app tries to auto-fill most of the information required to add an email account. If you have an exotic account, however, for example from your work or university, Mail might fail. The error message will read like this:

  • We sill can’t find settings for [your email address]. Providing this additional info may help. If you don’t know this information, search online or check with your provider.

For once, Mail has some helpful advice. The solution is in the error message above.


Many small pitfalls are to be avoided when setting up applications that depend on so many different parameters. Automatically completing server details, synchronizing data via the Cloud, logging in with additional security features, and meanwhile collaborating competitors change their settings and stop supporting features. The only thing that remains reliable is a Google search combined with trial & error as a means of troubleshooting. And maybe you’re better off trying an alternative Windows 8 email app Email Goes Modern: Three Windows 8 Email Apps With your shiny new Windows 8 device or upgrade booted up, tiles gleaming at you and winking with useful information, you might take a few moments having a look around before you get the chance... Read More .

Related topics: Email Tips, Windows 8.

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  1. Colin
    March 14, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Windows mail is a pain! Microsoft are far worse!! The mail app insists that I have to use a password and I don't want to.

  2. Ms Poole
    May 28, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    My outlook mail problem is that I can receive and send but no one seems to receive the mail at their end. Its not in drafts or still in outbox, and a copy is in sent leading to the illusion that all is well. Advice, tips please.

  3. Gilbert
    April 27, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    my outlook opens from the start screen but it is blank

  4. Ed Addis
    April 26, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I'm trying to add a second yahoo email account to the W8.1 mail app. I'm supposed to be able to choose Settings/Accounts from Charms bar, but the Accounts item is not present. Any ideas?

  5. kate
    March 5, 2015 at 11:00 am

    my mail app just automatically closes before loading the mails. Im not able to view the mails at all.
    how do i rectify it?

    • Tina
      March 5, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Have you seen and tired this, yet:
      Windows 8 Mail app crashes

      My recommendation would have been to restart the computer and if the issue persists, re-install the application. But apparently, there's a troubleshooter you can run before trying to re-install. Good luck!

  6. Cindy
    January 17, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    OK, I have it all set and I can send & receive emails but is there away to customize the view within the app? Can I turn reading pane of?

  7. Vicki J.
    January 6, 2015 at 12:42 am

    I added my Hotmail account fine and had it working well. Then a day or two later, when it downloads emails from one of my Yahoo groups--it started showing the all as from "Dee Adair . . . " instead of each individual person who sent them. I have no idea why it picked that persons name to assign to all the emails but it is very annoying. Originally it wasn't doing that with the emails downloaded from that Yahoo group. And I haven't a clue as to why it started doing it or how to fix it. Do you? All my other emails that download to the Windows 8 mail app are working fine, it's just the ones from that one group that are screwed up.

  8. Scott
    December 10, 2013 at 2:36 am

    This article only addresses issues with adding accounts. My issue is the app won't properly sync with my MSN email account. It only syncs about 12 emails, all of which were sent in September and October of this year. It can't see ANY of the other emails, ranging from stuff sent today to emails from way back in 2006. I have tried all the in-app settings, and currently have it set to sync all, but it will still ONLY show those 12 emails, all of which can actually no longer be seen from the web.

  9. Apikanya
    November 7, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I have a .edu account through the university. how can i add that account to the email app on windows 8. i don't want to set up the hotmail account. thanks!

    • Tina S
      November 7, 2013 at 10:50 am

      Does your university provide POP or IMAP access to that .edu email? Can you get the respective information and manually enter it into the Mail app?

  10. Maz
    October 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I uninstalled my Mail app by mistake from my desktop. How can I install it again? I can't find it among my apps.

  11. Shuddhashil Pal
    September 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    My mail app on windows 8 stopped working? It doesn’t show the mail when opened. Can you help me?

    • Carol Brown
      October 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      I cannot open the mail tile in windows 8 either. So far I have had to use system restore twice. There are no apparently no virus problems. I am at a loss!

  12. guido
    September 23, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Can someone explain the point of going to the hassle of setting up a mail app when webmail - e.g. via gmail site - works perfectly? What am I missing?

    • Guy
      October 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      The Win8 Mail app will periodically check your webmail account and provide noitication when there's new email. So, you don't have to remember open a web browser and specifically check whether or not you have new mail.

      Notification can appear on the Mail live tile, pop-up window, and the lock screen along with an alert tone. Details on how to set it up are at:

  13. Rosalie
    September 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Tina S - I had some problems setting up the mail APP and then had success when I decided to open an account. Everything was working, although slow. All of a sudden my mail stopped going out. The message I'm getting is "reconnect to the internet and then sync to get the rest of this message". the computer is connected to the internet, so unsure of why I'm getting this message. Only two of the 6 messages in my outbox have this message the others have no 'problem' message. HELP!

    • Tina S
      September 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm


      I'm afraid I cannot reproduce this issue and don't know what it may be caused by.

  14. Maureen
    September 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    My mail app on windows 8 stopped working? It doesn't show the mail when opened. Can you help me?

    • Tina S
      September 6, 2013 at 5:26 pm


      This article focused on troubleshooting the setup procedure of the Windows 8 Mail app. I haven’t experienced the issue you describe, so I’m afraid I can’t help you.

  15. Christine S
    July 18, 2013 at 2:28 am

    adding the accounts for me was the easy part, but now i do not get the full outlook mail that even a word?, that i need sometimes like checking junk for important stuff and being able to move it to inbox. i have to go to chrome, google outlook, and sign in that way. kind of a pain but it works.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 18, 2013 at 8:16 am

      I'm not sure what you mean because I never used Outlook. It sounds like you miss across-the-board folders, such as one trash or junk folder for all accounts, rather than individual trash and junk folders for each account separately. Is that right?

      • Christine S
        July 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm

        yes, and more frustrating is not being able to move junk to inbox from mail on start page of windows 8. gmail is not really a big deal i always check it in my black box on chrome, and my tablet and phone are very compatible with gmail. it is just my outlook which i really like that i have to work a little harder for by actually googling it and entering that way. thanks ever so much for your insightful help,

  16. raj kumar
    June 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    its very nice article .helpful post