Switching from POP to IMAP: how to keep old POP folders accessible in Outlook?

I've been using a POP3 virgin.net email account since dial-up days, but I now want to move to IMAP in order to synch over several PCs/devices.

I understand that the old POP3 account has to be deleted/disabled, and a new IMAP account created using the same user data. I've deleted all email copies stored my account at the virgin server in preparation for a fresh IMAP account.

However, I have a 13-year archive of emails in folders (sub-folders to the Inbox) in Outlook on my main home PC that i wish to keep and have accessible. As this is c.3GB of data, i don't really want to import into the new IMAP Inbox, and have the whole lot synched to things like my mobile phone - I just want the folders visible in that particular Outlook/PC.

Despite trawling MS "help" and the forums, I can't see a way of simply disabling or renaming my old POP3 account, so that it does not interfere or become imported into the new IMAP account that will have the same account settings (username, password, etc). I understand that even removing the POP3 account in the send/receive settings will still result in IMAP downloading mail to the old Inbox and/or possibly importing that Inbox (and its sub-folders) into the new IMAP account.

Any Outlook/IMAP ninjas know what to do in this situation? I see that quite a few people have asked the same question on forums without receiving a sensible reply.
back them up to removeable media? or is there an option to deselect which folders to sync?


Book Reviewer
Backup. Then backup again.

Create a Hotmail, Gmail or similar free account.

Set it up as an IMAP account in Outlook.

Copy your emails over to new account.

It syncs to machine and online/cloud. You get to keep old emails and they are backed up online as well.

You don't have to use this account, just have it as an Archive account. If you want to keep an email dump it in there. As it is IMAP it will sync so remain active.

Hope that helps.
Thanks Guns.

I ended up making every conceivable type of PST back-up of my archive, before deleting the POP account and setting up the IMAP account.

I then had several hours of screaming nightmare as Virgin web mail (and its embedded Google engine) then proceeded to regurgitate blocks of emails I had thought long-deleted, then chop then up and redistribute them around all of the IMAP folders. As I had previously "permanently deleted" 13,000+ emails from my web server, I was less than impressed to have to sit there for a couple of hours whilst my new IMAP system laboriously copied this stuff back again....

Stage two of the nightmare continued when, after carefully deleting the 13,000 old emails and making sure my folders were correctly mapped (e.g. learning that you get two "sent" copies of each email in the Google sytem, etc..), I tried to import the saved current "inbox" and "sent" mails from my old POP account. Exasperatingly, IMAP/Google did the same thing - distributed them around inbox/sent/draft/deleted/bin/etc seemingly at random. Copying/deleting emails seemed to have a random effect - even allowing long wait periods for the server to finish synching.

As far as i can work out, deleting an email that is "stand alone" under POP causes IMAP or Google to assume that you want to delete the whole thread or "conversation".

I think i have everything working now, and have got an IMAP system across four devices. I still don't understand why the Google engine makes such a complication over folders and linked email threads/conversations, or why Google should make it so complex to integrate with Outlook (well, I guess they want to force people to be 100% Google....).


Book Reviewer
I feel your pain. Gmail is good but boy it does not play nicely.
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