How to refresh my Outlook inbox mail?


Here’s a question we got from a client whose Outlook client wasn’t showing new incoming emails automatically:

“For some reason, it doesn’t automatically refresh with new incoming mails even though I want it to do so. It only refreshes when I press the F5 key. Why is that? And how can I make sure that my inbox will update itself as soon as new emails come in without having to hit the F5 key? Thank you! ”

Why does it happen?

If your Microsoft Outlook client isn’t updating your inbox with every new mail that comes into it unless you don’t have any of those emails checked from an email folder and there’s a setting or program running on your computer preventing Outlook from refreshing itself automatically. If none of these apply, then it’s possible that there might be an issue with the connection to your mail server. While Outlook works fine most of the time, you can reconnect your mailbox to solve this problem.

If you’re on Microsoft Exchange then..

1. First, open Microsoft Outlook then click on the File tab followed by Account Settings.

2. Click on Connections in the menu and select “Add…” under “More Connection Settings” option.

3. Choose “Microsoft Exchange Server via HTTP” for options available when connecting to Exchange server or choose POP3 if you are using a different type of email account like Yahoo Mail or Gmail. Enter your user name and password in their respective fields and select Next > Finish button at the bottom of the page.

Your inbox will now be refreshed.

If you’re on POP3 or IMAP then..

1. First, open Microsoft Outlook then click on the File tab followed by Account Settings.

2. Click on “Connections” in the menu and select “View or change existing…” under “Account Settings” option.

3. Choose your email account from the available options and hit Next > Finish button at the bottom of the page.

4. Close all opened browser tabs after this step as it can cause connection problems if they are left open continuously.

Your inbox will now be refreshed.

Server Type: POP3 or IMAP

1. User Name: enter email address before clicking next then enter password for that same email address when prompted to do so

2. Server address: enter POP or IMAP path for your email provider.

3. Security Type: leave as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) if prompted to do so, otherwise select None.

4. Username: enter your email address before clicking next then enter password for that same email address when prompted to do so.


5. User name is the full account email, not just the username. It would be like “Email@providername” e.g

6. Server address is typically in this form ‘mail server name/Your Name’ e.g

7. Enter username and password.

8. Click next.

9. Now Refresh Outlook inbox mail.

It might take a little while to refresh your outlook inbox mail but see if that helps improve the speed of your Outlook inbox mail loading time!

Also, try these steps to get the best out of your Outlook experience:

  • In Outlook 2003, choose “Tools” from the menu bar and select “Account Settings” from the drop down menu. In Outlook 2007 or later, click on the Office icon in the upper left corner of your screen and choose “Account Settings”.
  • In either case, you should now see a window that lists all of your email accounts. Choose an account that is connected to a slow sending or receiving server then click on “change” at the bottom right hand side of this window. You will be asked if you want to change your account settings for all folders or just for this session. Make sure you choose the option titled: Change for All Folders
  • On the next screen which opens up, click on the tab titled: Receiving. Click on “More Options” and then select the option titled: Server Timeouts
  • Under the heading of “Server Timeouts for this account”, check off a value that is greater than your usual wait time for receiving email from a slow server. Click on “OK” at the bottom right-hand corner of this window to save these new settings
  • In some cases you may need to adjust other, related timeout values as well especially if your server is consistently slow in delivering email. In Outlook 2003 or earlier, click on the Tools menu at the top of your screen and choose Options from this menu. In Outlook 2007 or later, click on the Office icon in the upper left-hand corner of your screen and choose “Options” from the drop down menu that appears.
  • Once in your Outlook Options, click on the Mail category at the top left side of this page that opens up for you. Now click on the Send/Receive button, which is available when there are no entries in this section. A new window will open with a number of options in it, check off “Always perform an AutoArchive” if it isn’t already selected by default under the heading “Sending/Receiving Messages” near the middle of this page. Click “OK” to save these settings and return to your regular email inbox screen.
  • Going back into your Account Settings page again, click on the “Clean Up” tab at the top of this page. This will open a new screen where it displays your archive folders and how many messages are in each folder. Under the “Purge Old Mail” section, check off “Archive old mail automatically” to make sure you don’t run out of space while increasing your Outlook inbox mail storage.
  • Finally, go ahead and put a number into the text box that reads “Number of days” under the “To keep in folders…” heading below this option. Type in 30 to delete all email older than 30-days from inside your inbox or just type in 7 if you only want to remove old email after 7-days. This will make sure you stay organized and don’t miss any important emails.

By following these steps, you can refresh your Outlook inbox mail storage and keep it free of old messages that aren’t relevant to your daily life anymore. If you have any other questions about how to do this, kindly get one of our technicians to setup emails and configure this for you.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...