Restoring mails to the Web Mail Server

I've configured my account in Outlook, and now all my emails have been removed from my web mailbox which prevents me from downloading them on my phone and tablet as well or check my emails via a browser.

How do I restore them back onto the server?

Restore to Mail Server buttonThere are 2 common scenarios which can cause this to happen;

  1. Your POP3 account is configured to remove the messages from the mail server.
  2. Your Exchange account is set to deliver to a pst-file.

There are some other scenarios in which this could happen too but these are quite rare like the time that a bad Outlook 2016 update caused mail to be removed from the server for certain POP3 configurations.

Luckily, in practically all cases, you can still restore your emails back to the mail server so other computers and devices can download them again as well or so you can use Web Mail to check your email too.

Scenario 1: POP3 account removes messages from the mail server

POP3 Account buttonBy default, a POP3 account is configured to leave a copy on the server for 14 days. In Outlook 2007 and previous the default was to remove the messages from the server after downloading.

This removal will free up space in the on-line mailbox since POP3 is download only and the storage capacities of Outlook are usually a multitude larger than that of the on-line mailbox.

If you do not like this default behavior, then you can set your account settings to leave a copy on the server for a longer time or even indefinitely.

Scenario 1: Restore method 1

IMAP Account buttonOnce you’ve made the above change and you want to restore the messages back to the server, you’ll have to to ask your ISP if your mailbox also supports IMAP. Since IMAP is a 2-way sync protocol, by moving the messages to the Inbox in the IMAP account, the messages will be uploaded back to the server again.

Make sure you move the emails to the IMAP mailbox and not copy them as the emails will also be redownloaded again via POP3 but this time a copy will be left on the server.

Scenario 1: Restore method 2

Connected Accounts buttonIf your ISP does not support IMAP, then not all is lost. Quite a few ISPs also offer their web based mailboxes to collect messages from other accounts via POP3 (a feature often referred to as Connected Accounts).

So, if you can upload your messages back to another mail service (for instance to an or a Gmail account) then you can configure your web based account to download from these mail services again via their POP3 access.

This might sound like a long way around but it is effective nevertheless.

Scenario 1: Restore method 3

Forward buttonIf both IMAP and mail collecting from another account is not supported by your ISP, then asking them for a restore or forwarding all emails to yourself might be the only way to get them back in the on-line mailbox again.

Scenario 2: Your Exchange account is set to deliver to a pst-file

Exchange Account buttonWith Outlook 2010 and previous, when you’ve configured an Exchange account and have your default delivery location set to a pst-file, then all the emails from the Inbox of the Exchange account will be downloaded into the Inbox of your pst-file. This usually happens when you have configured Outlook with a POP3 account first and then later add an Exchange account.

In order to restore your messages back to the server, you must set your Exchange account as the default delivery location in Outlook. After this, simply move back the emails into the Inbox of the Exchange mailbox and the messages will be uploaded to the server again.

This could now possibly result in your POP3 messages being downloaded into your Exchange mailbox instead of your pst-file. Depending on you version of Outlook, there are several methods to deal with this.

Account Settings buttonTo verify/change your default delivery location for your Exchange account;

  • Outlook 2003
    Tools-> Account Settings…-> button Next-> use the drop down list at the bottom to set your default delivery location
  • Outlook 2007
    File-> Data File Management…-> select the Exchange mailbox-> button Set As Default
  • Outlook 2010
    File-> section Info-> button Accounts Settings-> Account Settings…-> tab Data Files-> select the Exchange mailbox-> button Set As Default
    Additionally, on the E-mail tab, select the Exchange account and verify that your delivery location is set to the correct mailbox.
  • Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016
    In these versions of Outlook, it is no longer possible to set the delivery location of an Exchange account to a pst-file.
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