#395 new

I hate Microsoft Exchange but I have to use it

Reported by johan | May 14th, 2013 @ 02:22 PM

I recently started working at the Max Planck for Human Development in Berlin. Unfortunately, like most places, they use microsoft exchange. Last time we spoke I worked at Lund university, also exchange ridden, but at that site I could simply forward my emails to my gmail and be done with it.
At the MPIB this does not work, I can forward the mail but if I reply to any of the formal mailing lists I get bumped unless I am on the same network.
Ive struggled with this for a while and the closest thing Ive found to get this running (via a colleague with similar issues, in his case he uses thunderbird) is DavMail http://davmail.sourceforge.net. With DavMail it works but I get the attached error message very often. If I try to send again it usually sends without error.
Occasionally I get a bunch of saved drafts that wont get sent and Im not sure if they actually reach their destinations.

I know that there is no support for microsoft exchange in MailMate but I would really hate loosing the email software that Ive grown fond of over the years. If you have any suggestions of what I could try to get around this annoying MPI system I am most grateful.

Best regards,


Comments and changes to this ticket

  • benny

    benny May 14th, 2013 @ 03:02 PM

    You should first ask your IT department whether or not they have enabled IMAP for the Exchange server. If it isn't then ask them to do so. MailMate should work with that (although Exchange is quite buggy).

    Oh, wait. Which SMTP server are you using? You do not need to use the one for Exchange or Davmail. You can use any SMTP server. Including one running on your own machine (postfix).

  • johan

    johan May 14th, 2013 @ 08:08 PM

    I asked them, and they tried desperately. They do have an IMAP server and it works for receiving all the time. I can only send when Im on the network.
    I tried using gmails SMTP but then my mails are kicked back to me, as long as Im not on the network at work that is.. Its very very annoying.
    At this point I might just continue using MailMate and avoid sending messages to the mailing lists I have at work. My everyday workflow is much more important than being able to respond to every single email.

    And I had zero issues with MailMate in Lund, also on exchange.

    Thanks for your help Benny! Your great as usual.

  • benny

    benny May 14th, 2013 @ 09:18 PM

    If IMAP works for receiving then you should use that.

    The problem is then sending. Note that when using Gmail's SMTP then you need to take special care when using a different From address (than used for the Gmail account). Read more here.

    You write you “get bumped unless I am on the same network”. Is the problem also the From address in this case?

    I looked at the error message again: Could the error pattern be that it fails when you have recently sent a message and then try to send a second message (after a certain number of minutes)?

  • johan

    johan May 16th, 2013 @ 11:45 AM

    Its always when Im sending. And the error pattern with DavMail seems to be
    fairly consistent. It happens almost every time.

    Can I set mailmate so that I always respond with my gmail adress and via the gmail smtp server? Even if someone mails my mpib (exchange) adress?

    That would save me some hassle.

    Since DavMail does work, but behaves oddly, there must be some way to get it running properly. Ill dig deeper.

    Thanks again for your help Benny,


  • benny

    benny May 16th, 2013 @ 12:03 PM

    If I understand you correctly then you can simply change the SMTP settings of the Davmail account in MailMate (double click it under SOURCES in the mailbox outline). And also change the email address of the account if you want the “From” header to be your Gmail address.

  • benny

    benny October 10th, 2013 @ 10:14 AM

    • State changed from “new” to “resolved”

    I'm going to assume this issue was resolved.

    Since this ticket was created I've noticed that it appears to be possible to setup a Dovecot IMAP server as a proxy for MS Exchange. I would love to have feedback from (probably advanced) users trying that out. Dovecot is probably the best IMAP server available. Having that as a proxy would be the perfect solution for any MS Exchange user.

    Seems to work for this university. Some documentation can be found here.

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