Hotmail/Outlook IMAP errors

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Jeff
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Hotmail/Outlook IMAP errors

Post by Jeff »

Hotmail/Outlook's IMAP servers are currently having issues. This is not a problem specific to POP Peeper. Some people started noticing the problem earlier in the week, although it seems to have gotten worse on Wed, March 29. This is not the first time that the Hotmail IMAP servers have had issues, it seems to come up 1-2 times every year. As of this incident, they still have not acknowledged a problem:
https://portal.office.com/servicestatus

Here are some suggestions that may help in the meantime:

- Enable IDLE/Push: Edit the account and find "IDLE/Push" on the bottom-right.
- DISABLE IDLE/Push: Edit the account and find "IDLE/Push" on the bottom-right. (see notes, in following reply)

- If you can reduce the number of messages in your inbox, that may be very helpful. And by "reduce" I mean empty. Move all your inbox messages into another folder using your webbrowser.

- Increasing the IMAP timeout may help reduce the errors (edit: it may help only insignificantly, changing the timeout is not recommended). POP Peeper's default for IMAP is 60 seconds. Because of the way that PP is currently miscalculating the timeout, I'm recommending a higher timeout than I would normally suggest -- say 180 or even 300. To change the timeout:
main menu: Tools / PPtweaker; 'Connection' page; "Timeout for POP3 and IMAP"

- If you have a string of consecutive errors, exiting and restarting POP Peeper may help

- You may have better luck using Webmail or POP3. Bear in mind, some people have mentioned that the other protocols have also had issues (although there seems to be significantly fewer issues), and when you change the protocol in PP, PP will have to re-download all existing messages. To change the protocol, edit the account and change the "server type" (to "POP3" or "Hotmail/Outlook"). See a subsequent post for more information about changing to POP3. My advice is to try POP3 and if it still has more issues than you can tolerate, use Hotmail/Outlook. Note that you will lose certain features when using the Hotmail/Outlook protocol (such as attachments and the capability to send email).


More technical information about this issue is here:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6789&p=34053#p34053
And that specific post may be updated with more details as they become available.
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Jeff
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Re: Hotmail/Outlook IMAP errors

Post by Jeff »

In light of the issues with Hotmail's IMAP server, the following changes have been made and will be coming in the next release of POP Peeper:

1) Fixed timeout calculation --

Description: In v4.3 (and prior), the specified timeout was the amount of time that the entire response was required. For example, with a 1-minute timeout, if no data was received until 30 seconds, and then a partial chunk of data was received at that time, the time-out should "reset" and allow another 60 seconds; in v4.3, it would still only have another 30s.

Result: this fix will not have a significant impact. In the Hotmail issue, timeouts are not as common as other errors, and even in the case of a timeout error, giving it more time often wouldn't help.


2) "Error (Send)" --

This occurs because the server unexpectedly terminated the connection, POP Peeper doesn't detect it and tries to send a command on a broken connection. In many cases, a timeout also occurs before POP Peeper tries to send the command (since the connection died while POP Peeper was waiting for a response).

v4.4 addresses this by detecting the broken connection. This results in POP Peeper returning from the check faster (not timing out) and returning a more appropriate error ("Server unexpectedly disconnected").
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Jeff
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Re: Hotmail/Outlook IMAP errors

Post by Jeff »

If you want to switch to POP3, know that Hotmail disables POP3 by default, so you'll need to enable it in your account:
1) Log into your account: https://outlook.live.com/
2) Click the gear icon (top-right) and select "Options"
3) Find and click "POP and IMAP" on the left
4) Set "Let devices and apps use POP" to "Yes"
5) Press "Save" (above)

If POP3 is disabled in your account, POP Peeper will likely report: Error (Quit)
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Jeff
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Re: Hotmail/Outlook IMAP errors

Post by Jeff »

Last Friday (April 7), I chatted with an outlook.com representative. I provided details of the outage with several sources indicating that it's a widespread problem. He did not know that there was a problem and said he would pass the information on to the engineers.

I just now (April 11) talked with another rep who acknowledged that there is a known issue with IMAP. Further, I asked why the service status doesn't report any issues, and he told me that this status only reflects their "own server" and "connecting as IMAP... is not a guarantee. Since, we are still working on that."
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Jeff
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Re: Hotmail/Outlook IMAP errors

Post by Jeff »

An alpha version of POP Peeper v4.4 is available upon request (email: support at esumsoft dot com).

Most-relevant to this topic you're reading: this version includes a change in the way that POP Peeper handles errors. Specifically, POP Peeper will retry the command twice before returning an error. This strategy is similar to what other clients (like Thunderbird) do and will generally have better results.

Please send an email if you are interested in testing this update. Bear in mind that this is an *alpha* version (and generally not ready for wide-spread testing) which has other features that affect other things besides the Outlook issue.
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Jeff
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Re: Hotmail/Outlook IMAP errors

Post by Jeff »

Updated suggestion: disable idle

It has been discovered that Outlook's IMAP servers now have a one minute inactivity timeout. This was discovered this week where previously it was known to have a 3-5 minute timeout. This short inactivity timeout makes IDLE almost useless and is not in compliance with the official IMAP RFC:
If a server has an inactivity autologout timer, the duration of that timer MUST be at least 30 minutes.
(emphasis of MUST is in the original documentation)

I'm speculating this change by Outlook may be a (poorly considered) response to the connection/timeout issues.
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Jeff
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Re: Hotmail/Outlook IMAP errors

Post by Jeff »

v4.4 BETA is now available for open testing:
http://www.esumsoft.com/pop-peeper-beta/

BETA means that it has not been tested sufficiently to be officially released. Please only install this version if you're willing to test beta software AND provide constructive feedback.

v4.4 helps address issues with Outlook's IMAP issues (see the page above for more information), but it also has several other changes. I would appreciate your feedback for any of the changes in v4.4; if your feedback relates to Outook's IMAP, please use this topic:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6789
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