Fix problems with the Mail app in Windows. 9 tips to fix Mail

Tips to repair the Windows Mail and get it working again

If you use the Mail app in Windows 10 or 11 and are having problems with it, here are some quick fixes to get it working. It is a useful email client that works well, but sometimes plays up.

The Mail app can be used with almost any email account and many people use it to access Outlook email, Gmail, Yahoo Mail and other email services. Many email services can be accessed using a web browser and that is always an option if there is a problem with the Windows Mail app, but it is more convenient to use Mail.

There are several email apps for Windows, like Thunderbird, GroupMail, Pegasus Mail, and Spike Email, but Mail is easy and built in, so let’s look at a few common issues and how to fix them.

1 Delete your email account

  1. Open the Mail app
  2. Click the gear at the bottom of the left panel
  3. Click Manage accounts
  4. Click an email account
  5. Click Delete account from this device

There are two ways to access email, POP3 and IMAP. If POP3 is used, emails are downloaded from the mail server and stored on the computer. Do not delete your email account, reset or uninstall Mail if you use POP3 or all your emails will be deleted.

Most email accounts these days use IMAP, which copies your email to the computer. Deleting an email account in the Mail app deletes copies of your email on the computer, not the original messages, which are stored on an email server on the internet. Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo and others work this way and your mail is online. Note that the option is to Delete account from this device and not Delete your account everywhere.

Delete an email account in the Mail app for Windows
Account settings in the Windows Mail app

Delete your email account, quit the Mail app, restart Windows and then add it again. It may fix the problems you are having. All your emails will be downloaded again, which could take some time, but hopefully, the problem you were having will be fixed.

2 Check email sync settings

  1. Open the Mail app
  2. Click the gear at the bottom of the left panel
  3. Click Manage accounts
  4. Click an email account
  5. Click Change mailbox sync settings
  6. Set the two options, Download new content and Download email from

Sync settings determine how often the Mail app fetches new email from your email account and how far back in time your emails go. At one extreme, new content can be downloaded as it arrives, at the other, it is downloaded manually. On the manual setting no new emails will appear unless you click the sync button (two curved arrows) above the inbox listing. Make sure Mail is not on manual.

Email and calendar sync settings in the Mail app in Windows
Sync settings in the Windows Mail app

Emails can be synced for as little as the last three days up to all emails ever. If you don’t see old emails in your inbox past a certain date, maybe Mail is not syncing back far enough.

3 Check for Mail app updates

The Mail app has been updated many times in the past and no doubt there will be many updates in the future. If you are having problems with Mail, check for updates, they may fix it.

Open the Microsoft Store app and if there is number in the top right corner, it means there are updates. Click it and then click Update all. If there is no number, click the three dots in the top right corner to open the menu and then click Downloads and updates. Click the Get updates button.

An update for a problem may come in days or weeks. Keep checking every couple of days.

4 Reset the Mail app

  1. Press Windows+I to open the Windows Settings app
  2. Click Apps and wait a second for them all to appear
  3. Scroll down and click Mail and Calendar
  4. Click the Advanced options link
  5. Scroll down and click the Reset button

Resetting the app clears everything and this means all your emails and email accounts. Do not do this with POP3 accounts because you could end up deleting the only copy of your emails. Most accounts are IMAP, including Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook, and what’s on the computer is only a copy of what’s online, so is safe to delete.

Reset and uninstall options for the Mail app in the Windows Settings app
Terminate, reset or uninstall an app in the Windows settings app

After resetting Mail, add your email account to the app and it will sync your account, downloading all your emails. A reset sometimes clears problems

5 Uninstall and reinstall the Mail app

If you look at the Reset option above, you will have noticed an Uninstall button just below it. It is a bit extreme, but it is worth uninstalling the Mail app, restarting the PC and installing it again. Just open the Microsoft Store app and search for ‘mail’ to find and install it.

6 Set Mail app permissions

  1. Press Windows+I to open the Windows Settings app
  2. Click Apps and wait a second for them all to appear
  3. Scroll down to the App permissions section
  4. Turn on all the switches
View and set permissions in the Windows Mail app
Permissions for the Mail app in Windows Settings app

Enabling all the permissions for Mail is essential, especially the Email and Background apps switches. You can’t have an email app that does not have permission to access email for example. Background apps enables it to fetch emails when the app is not actually being used.

7 Stop sending automatic replies

A recent problem that has occurred with the Windows Mail app and one that has affected quite a few people is that replies are being sent to senders automatically. There is an Automatic replies option in Mail settings and unless you are away for some time, such as on holiday and do not want to be disturbed, it should be turned off.

Some people have found that automatic replies are still sent by Mail even when the Automatic replies option is turned off.

Set automatic replies in the Windows Mail app
Enable or disable automatic replies in the Windows Mail app

Resetting the app, uninstalling and reinstalling it, deleting and re-adding your email account has had no effect for some people. Maybe it is an app bug and an updated app is required to fix it.

One possible cause of the problem could be settings online. Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo and others are actually online email accounts and Mail just mirror’s what’s online. Go to outlook.com in a browser, click the gear icon, click View all Outlook settings. Select Email in the first column, Automatic replies in the second column and turn off automatic replies in the third panel with the switch.

Automatic replies setting in Outlook mail at the Outlook website
Automatic replies settings at the outlook.com website

Automatic replies should be off both in the Mail app and at the Outlook website in a browser. If you use Gmail, Yahoo or some other email, go there in a browser and look in the settings and options for automatic replies and make sure it is off.

8 Disappearing messages – conversation view

  1. Click the gear icon at the bottom of the Mail app
  2. Click Message list
  3. Go to the Organization section
  4. Choose either Individual messages or Grouped by conversation

If you cannot find emails you are sure you have received and should be in your inbox, they could be hidden. This happens when conversation view is enabled. When it is disabled, every email is listed in the inbox. When it is enabled, emails from the same sender with the same subject are shown as one entry and emails in the same conversation are hidden. Select an email to see the original email, your replies and their replies to your replies, and so on.

It takes a bit of getting used to, but select Individual messages if you don’t like the way conversation view hides emails.

9 Images in emails not showing

  1. Click the gear icon at the bottom of the Mail app
  2. Click Reading pane
  3. Go to the External content section
  4. Turn on both switches

Images in emails are sometimes hosted by an external service and when an email is read, they are fetched from a server on the internet. This enables the provider of the image to track you. For privacy reasons external images can be turned off, so they don’t appear in emails and don’t allow you to be tracked.

External content settings in the Windows Mail app
Hide or show external images in emails in Windows Mail app

It can be a nuisance not showing images and some emails may be unreadable. At best, it looks bad with broken image links in emails. However, it is more private. Enabling the first switch, but not the second is an option which maintains some privacy.

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About Roland Waddilove 402 Articles
Roland Waddilove is interested in technology: Computers, phones, gadgets, software and internet. Long ago he worked on computer magazines, but is now mostly a tech writer for the web.