I’ve been using Outlook as an IMAP client for a long time (I know, I know, there are better IMAP clients out there, but I work in an Outlook/Exchange shop, so I’m not particularly inclined to use a different tool). One of the things that has driven me crazy for ages is that periodically Outlook would stop being able to access the IMAP server. Doing a “Send/Receive” would display the wonderfully helpful error:
“Task 'Checking for new mail in subscribed folders on <servername>.' reported error (0x8004DF0B) : 'Outlook is unable to download folder (null) from the IMAP e-mail server for account <account>. Error: The connection to the server is unavailable. “
Also, the “Connect to <account>” menu, though enabled, would have no effect. Only restarting Outlook would fix the problem – no fun if you’ve got 20 message windows open. I googled like crazy, but could never find a solution to the problem.
Finally one day I noticed something about the computer right before the problem occurred – it had momentarily lost and then restored it’s wireless network connection. Could this be the trigger that I’d been looking for? After a little more experimentation, I’m pretty convinced that it is.There are two common times when a network connection is momentarily unavailable on a laptop – during a wireless dropout, and while coming out of sleep mode. By avoiding doing a send/receive in Outlook at those moments, I’ve pretty much eliminated the folder (null) problem.
The moral of the story? Make sure you have a network connection before doing a Send/Receive to an IMAP server.
Hopefully this problem will be fixed in Outlook 2007.