How-to: Synchronise Windows 8 Mail app

Windows 8 Mail app settingsTwo things in my defence, here; one, I spent a couple of days working through these settings, convinced I had done something dumb. Two, I hadn’t, but for some reason, my Hotmail decided in those two days that it wasn’t going to synchronise with my Windows 8 machine.

Fortunately reader Jason Ward (@jasongw) restrained his sarcasm and gave us a very coherent summary of how to get Mail to show you more recent emails or refresh the inbox.

“These are very simple, very basic tasks which are revealed in the same manner as extended options are revealed in every single Modern UI application yet published, and in the new Start Screen itself.

Windows 8 Mail settings right-click optionsTo get mail to show you a greater timeframe-worth, invoke the Charms. (either go to the lower or upper right corner of the screen and drag up or down respectively. Alternatively you can press Win+C) and then select Settings. Once in settings, select Accounts and then the name of the account whose settings you’d like to change. The bar on the right will reveal what you need. There’s a drop-down labelled Download email from, which defaults to a period of the most recent two weeks. You can change this, however, to anything from the last 3 days to Any time, which syncs all the mail in your account. Personally I prefer the two week option, but to each his own.

In this settings menu, you can also set your signature for each and every account, independently set the range to sync for each account, choose how often to sync, whether Windows shows an alert when any given account receives an email, whether to sync contacts, calendars or email (except in the case of your primary Windows Live ID, if you use Hotmail, or Windows Live Domains – this account will always sync contacts and calendars) and whether or not to automatically download external images.

Second, getting the mail application to sync is a simple matter. While in the mail app, simply right-click in a blank space anywhere in the application. A bar will slide up from the bottom, and the Sync command rests neatly at the bottom left, near the Pin command. Incidentally, with the Pin tool you can pin any folder or message in the mail app to your start screen for easy monitoring. If you connect to 5 email accounts, you can pin a separate tile for each if you like, though the default tile shows an aggregate of new messages from all.

For future reference, getting to the settings of every single Modern UI application works the same way.

I recommend trying two things in every app:

  1. Look at the settings, accessible via the Charms bar
  2. Right click an empty space and see what items might be revealed.

Happy exploring! 🙂

Jason explained it so well and pre-empted my follow up post. Was it me, Hotmail or my ISP that caused the breakdown in sync? Who knows.

Once you discover the mechanics of the new Metro – doh! sorry, Modern-UI – operation, it is indeed consistent enough to operate all the Modern-UI apps the same way. AJS

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