Users report this problem: A box titled "Microsoft Office Outlook" comes up with an error message that there is a problem that the IMAP server. The error message says
Your IMAP server wants to alert you to the following: 124 (1032) That mail is not currently available.
The number 124 refers to message # 124; the (1032) is an error code.
The error message received from other IMAP servers may say
Can't read Message 9876" from IMAP Server
Where 9876 is the message number.
The error message is telling you that message number (or its attachment) is corrupted on the IMAP server.
The fix is simple: delete the message.
The problem: figuring out which message is the correct one. Numbering is based on arrival date - #124 is the 124th message you received. But, the messages are not renumbered when you delete messages so you can't count messages so its not as easy to identify the messages as it could be.
In many cases, you can find the last message downloaded and the problem message is the next one. Log into the account online and delete the problem message. (The corrupt messages need to be deleted from the account online.)
You can try viewing each message in Outlook - the bad message should error when you try to view it. Or move all of the messages to a local folder in outlook and delete all from the server, then move them back to the IMAP inbox in outlook and resync with the server.
Note: You won't get this error when you browse mail online using the AOL client or webmail as these only download the message when you click on it, while Outlook attempts to download all messages in the mailbox when it syncs with the server.
Method 1: Move all messages that are downloaded
- Create a new folder. This can be in inside the IMAP root folder or in your local data file. (Right click on the root level folder and choose New folder.. it needs to be a Mail folder type.)
- Move all messages from your IMAP Inbox (or the folder that is generating the error) to this new folder. If you have a lot of messages, it may be faster to move 100 messages or so at a time. Select a message, hold Shift and select another message down the list to select the messages in groups. Drag to the new folder or use the Move to folder command to move them.
IN the IMAP account online:
- Log into your account using webmail.
- Go to your Inbox (or the folder that generated the error). There should only be a few messages in the folder. These are the "bad" messages you need to delete.
- Go to the trash folder or recently deleted folder in webmail and make sure you permanently delete the corrupted messages. This is very important - do not skip this step.
Back in Outlook;
- Move the messages back into the original folder (if desired).
- Once the messages are moved, you can delete the temp folder you created in Outlook.
Method 2: Search for 0 size messages
This method was suggested by Oscar.
- Open Advanced Find dialog. The keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+F or you can click in the search box and a new menu “Search” will open – you will see the button for Search Tools and then Advanced Find.
- In Advanced Find, click browse, and check all the folders (and subfolders) in the email account (You might be able to click the Search Subfolders dialog box, but it didn’t seem to work for me so I checked all the boxes). Hit OK
- On the More Choices tab, click the box that says Only items with one or more attachments. Do NOT click or add anything else.
- Click Find Now (on the right).
- When all the emails have been displayed, sort by SIZE. You are only interested in the emails that show up with a size of 0 (zero). These emails will likely have attachments that add up to over 20MB. Delete them, and then delete them again from the trash bin.
- Close outlook and reopen it. Run Send/Receive All Folders and it should run without the error message.
I had the following:
Pop up Error "Your IMAP server wants to alert you to the following: Email is too large, limit size to less than 30 MB."
I followed the steps but instead of looking for the Zero byte files, I looked for any large files and deleted those twice and the error has disappeared! Truly fantastic!
not the problem cant even retrieve any mail keeps saying change password or delete account
I tried looking for size 0 mail, I have nothing. I tried deleting my 1's and they pop back up.
1KB messages probably aren't corrupt, just small plain text messages. If you purge the folder contents (Folder menu, Purge button), do they stay deleted?
I have the same IMAP server message except instead of a file and/or number is says COPY failed. What do I delete in this case?
See if there are any clues in the Sync issues folder. If all else fails, you can delete the imap data file and outlook will rebuild it without the errors - if you use outlook 2013 or 2016 you need to export the contents of 'this computer only' folders that exist (calendar, contacts etc, not sync issues)
A slight variation of Method 2 seems to have worked -- for Windows 8 and Outlook 2013. No e-mails of zero size showed up, but some surprising e-mails did show up with many MB of attachments that I was not really aware of, and from a long time ago. I double-checked to assure that I no longer had any use of them -- some back to 2013. Then I deleted them to Trash and re-deleted them from Trash. and the dumb messages look to have stopped.
Ms. Diane, I changed my password on my Google mail and now my Outlook does not synch with my Google email. I keep getting Your IMAP server wants to alert you to the following:
"Please log in via your web browser"
Are you using two factor authentication? If so, you need to use an app password in outlook.
Did you log in using a web browser to see if there were any messages in the banner the list of mail?
I kept getting this message and figured it might be total size of folder since I did not have any large attachment messages. I split the folder in half and the messages went away.
Folder size shouldn't make a different - I'm not aware of any imap server that limits the folder size and modern versions of Outlook support an unlimited number of messages. (Old versions limited the folders to no more than approx. 16,000 items)
More likely is that there was a corrupt message and moving them fixed the corruption or deleted the message.
I renamed a system folder now I keep getting the pop up saying: IMAP server wants to alert you the following: cannot rename system folders. How do I clear this so it stops?
You'll need ot create a new data file to get rid of the error. Right click on the root level folder in the folder list (probably is your email address) and choose Open File Location. This opens Windows Explorer with the IMAP data file selected. Close Outlook and delete the file. Restart Outlook and it'll create a new data file.
Thank you so much for having this fix available for me to read. It was a very annoying "alert"....and my mind is trained to read every "alert" sound, as it is the same as inbound email.