Windows Mobile 6.1 devices may find it difficult to send emails using POP or IMAP thanks to an additional feature provided in the operating system that many mobile network providers ignore - here's how to resolve the problem.
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What's the Problem?
The error occurs on email accounts setup on a Windows Mobile device utilising either the POP or IMAP protocols. Exchange "push" email is not affected.
It surrounds the provision in Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 of an alternate SMTP server to be specified in the event of the default option being unavailable. The idea is that the network provider instructs the phone when it is first connected to the network what the alternate SMTP server name is, therefore supposedly offering seamless mobile email.
Of course some providers in Europer and North America have ignored this provision - which leads to terrible problems in sending emails when the credentials and other settings are all correct. To make matters worse, emails can usually be received without any problem.
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Identifying the Error
This frustrating problem can be identified by the error message:
Check that you have network coverage and that your account information is correct
Upon checking this information, the user will usually find that all of their input settings are correct. The incorrect setting has been introduced in the background by Windows Mobile 6.1 attempting to introduce a valid SMTP server, but instead introducing a blank value which effectively disables SMTP on that email account.
It is at this stage that the Windows Mobile 6.1 Outlook application is looking for an alternate SMTP server due to it being unable to reach the default one.
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Downloading and Installing Hotfix KB958639
Thankfully, this is a known issue and one that Microsoft produced a Hotfix for in December 2008. Prior to this, the only resolution was to delete and reconfigure the email account.
So to resolve the issue, download Hotfix KB958639 from Microsoft. Either an MSI version or a CAB version can be downloaded:
Download the MSI to your Windows PC and while connected via ActiveSync to your Windows Mobile 6.1 device, run the MSI to install the Hotfix KB958639 to your device, and follow the onscreen instructions.Your Windows Mobile handset will reboot, and the issue will be resolved.
If however you’re on the move, opt instead to download the CAB file direct to your Windows Mobile device. Once downloaded, select the file to execute the installation. Again, the device will restart on its own, and the issue should now be settled.
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Something to Bear in Mind
One thing to add to this however is something that Microsoft have so far overlooked.
The fix doesn’t resolve the issue for POP and IMAP accounts added after the fix has already been run. As such when or if new accounts are added to your Windows Mobile 6.1 device – or you effect a return to factory settings – the Hotfix KB958639 will need to be re-applied.