How to fix Gmail sync problems in Outlook 2013

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Regular readers know that I'm less than fond of Microsoft Outlook, which I consider a bloated, confusing, often buggy program. But I'm sort of stuck with it, and I'll admit I was pleasantly surprised by the various improvements in Outlook 2013.

However, there appears to be a bug in the way OL 2013 syncs with Gmail, and if you've run into the same problem, it can be a huge pain.

I use Outlook to manage three Gmail accounts, all of them configured for IMAP. Translation: Anything I do in Outlook should be instantly reflected elsewhere (like on my phone or the Web), because IMAP affords real-time syncing.

So, for example, if I delete a message in Outlook, I shouldn't see that message when I check email on my iPhone.

However, and here's where the bug comes in, Outlook seemed to stop syncing properly--for one of my three Gmail accounts. That's why I'm 99% certain it's an Outlook problem and not a Gmail issue. (I also tried various mail-related activities in my Web browser and on my phone, and IMAP worked exactly as it's supposed to. Only Outlook was failing to sync.)

What's more, there's a Google Group devoted to this same issue. It seems a lot of users have run into the same curious situation: Outlook 2013 is either very slow to sync with Gmail IMAP or simply doesn't sync at all.

Various users have proposed various fixes, not the least of which is going back to Outlook 2010. That solved the problem for everyone who tried it, but it's a hassle I'm not willing to deal with.

Rather, I deleted from Outlook (by clicking File, Account and Social Network Settings, Account Settings) the Gmail account that wasn't syncing properly. Then I exited the program, rebooted, restarted Outlook, and added the account again (via the same aforementioned clicks).

The beauty of IMAP is that because it's server-based (that is, mail resides on Google's servers, not on your PC), nothing was lost during this procedure (except a few minutes of time). And I'm happy to report it seemed to do the trick, at least for me. Now all three Gmail accounts are syncing normally.

If you've run into this issue yourself, let me know if this simple fix helps. If not, that Google Group may provide some additional answers.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.comSign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter (which is included in the Power Tips newsletter) e-mailed to you each week.

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