Imported IMAP folders are not visible or don’t show any content

When you’ve exported your IMAP mailbox or specific folders to a pst-file which you then later open in Outlook or import into an Exchange or Outlook.com mailbox, you may be shocked to see that these folders don’t contain anything. Additionally, when you configure this mailbox on a smartphone or tablet as an Exchange ActiveSync account, these folders may not show at all.

4/4/2019


Luckily, this can be fixed without any data loss but the process to do so via MFCMAPI is not for the faint of heart or when you have many folder to fix.

Therefor, this guide also contains a script which you can run to apply the fix for you. You can either fix a single folder, a folder and its subfolders or your entire mailbox at once.

Background info and workaround solution

This issue happens because the export/import process maintains the IMAP folder properties which aren’t compatible with a regular pst-archive or Exchange/Outlook.com account.

More specific (and technical), the folder class property is set to IPF.Imap instead of IPF.Note. This has various negative side-effects, visual “glitches” and functionality issues such as;

  • You still don’t have Follow Up flags such as Today, Tomorrow, This Week, etc… for these imported folders.
  • You’ll see a “Filter applied” message in the bottom left corner of the Status Bar.
  • When you switch to the View tab and press the Change View button, you’ll see views that are specific for IMAP accounts even though you are now working with a pst-file or Exchange mailbox. Right now, it is probably set to “Hide Messages Marked for Deletion”.
  • The folders are not visible when you connect to your mailbox via Exchange ActiveSync on your smartphone or tablet or the Windows 10 Mail app.

Looking at the available Views allows you to determine whether a folder is being treated as an IMAP folder.
Looking at the available Views allows you to determine whether a folder is being treated as an IMAP folder.

A quick way to see all your messages again is to set you view to “IMAP Messages”.

This will however not fix the actual issue and will not make the folders visible again on your smartphone or tablet. To actually solve it, you’ll need to use one of the methods below to change the folder class property.

Automated fix with a script

he script below will fix the incorrect folder class property for you so that it will become a regular mail folder again just like all the others.

After running the script, you’ll immediately see all your emails again, have Follow Up flag support and all other aforementioned issues will be gone. You don’t even need to restart Outlook!

The script allows you to fix a single folder, a folder and its subfolders or your entire mailbox at once. It will automatically recognize folders that don’t need any fixing and won’t make any changes to these either.

  1. Download the file; imap_exchange_import_fix.zip
  2. Open or extract the zip-file, and double click on; FixImportedIMAPFolders.vbs
  3. Click on Outlook in the Taskbar to see the “Select Folder” dialog.

    Select the folder that you would like to fix and press OK

  4. Select the folder that you would like to fix and press OK.
    • If you’d like to fix all subfolders that need fixing as well, select the parent folder.
    • If you’d like to fix all folders within your entire mailbox that need fixing, simply select the mailbox name.
  5. You’ll now get a prompt whether you want to include the subfolders as well. If you don’t see this prompt, click on the script icon in your Taskbar.Click on the WScript icon in the Taskbar…

    select your fixing preference.
    select your fixing preference.

  6. After the script is done, you’ll get a notification with how many folders have been fixed.

    Notification

The contents of all the fixed folders should now be visible again and you should no longer have any IMAP view or any of the other aforementioned issues.

If you had the folder still selected in Outlook, select a different folder and then go back to the fixed folder so that Outlook can refresh the view and you can see that it is fixed.