How do I get POP email in Windows 8?

Richard Howell replaced an old computer with a Windows 8 laptop. His mail provider only supports the POP email protocol, which Windows 8's email program doesn't support. What's he to do?

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The Internet uses two common email protocols, the older Post Office Protocol (POP) and the newer Internet Messaging Access Protocol (IMAP). POP simply downloads the new mail to your local mail client software, and--unless you've told it otherwise--deletes it from the server. IMAP syncs your mail client with the server, changing each of them to match the other.

IMAP is clearly the superior technology. If you try to access your email via POP from multiple computers and devices, you're going to have a mess. With IMAP, you'll have no problem. Your inbox, outbox, and all your other mailboxes will be identical everywhere you check them.

That's probably why Windows 8's bundled mail program doesn't support POP. The new Windows is designed for a mobile world, where most people use multiple devices to check their mail.

So what can you do about it if you're stuck with POP? My first recommendation is to eschew Windows 8, but it may be a little late for you to take that advice.

But just because you're stuck with Windows 8 doesn't mean you have to use their mail client. You can install another one. Just about any other mail client currently available supports POP.

I tried Microsoft's own Windows Mail--part of the Windows Essentials collection of free tools--with a POP-only account. It worked fine. (I used Windows Mail because it's free and I'm familar with it; not because it's the only one you should consider.)

Essentials requires .NET Framework 3.5. Windows 8 comes with version 4.5, which isn't altogether backward compatible. But there's an easy fix. Do this before you install Windows Essentials:

In Windows 8's' Modern/Metro interface, type control and click Control Panel.

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This will switch you to the traditional desktop interface, and into Control Panel. Type features and click Turn Windows features on or off.

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In the resulting dialog box, check .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0) 

 

Then go ahead and install Mail and any other Essentials applications you want.

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