Intermittent POP timeout.

Ken Buchanan 11 Reputation points


I've had a problem for months where sometimes my POP3 refresh in Outlook times out, even though internet connectivity on MS Edge has no problem. I can even run a Norton backup to the cloud but POP times out. The only way to get round it is to disable the WiFi adapter and enable it a few seconds later. It is now so common that I have put together a VB Script to automate it. The problem is intermittent and always after a period of not using my PC but equally I can leave it overnight and it might be OK in the morning.

I was using Outlook 2003 (don't judge me!!) but upgraded to Office 2021 in the hope that it would get round the issue but it is no better. The error on Outlook 2021 is "Your server does not support the connection encryption type you have specified" but I think that is misleading. After bouncing the Wifi it is fine until the next time.

I'm running Windows 11 Home. I can't be certain but I reckon this started when I upgraded from Windows 10 to 11.

Any ideas gratefully received.



A family of Microsoft email and calendar products.
2,624 questions
Windows 11
Windows 11
A Microsoft operating system designed for productivity, creativity, and ease of use.
7,578 questions
{count} votes

4 answers

Sort by: Most helpful
  1. Will 400 Reputation points

    I don't know what email services (work or home, Gmail, M365 or Outlook etc.) you're using or if its all of your email or your Outlook is screaming for one of multiple accounts so I'll make some assumptions that you use one or more:


    • Microsoft deprecated POP3 because its considered legacy authentication as it doesn't support MFA (multi-factor authentication). MSFT disabled it for all tenants in late to early Dec 2022/Jan 2023. If this is it, its bombing because you're not supposed to get in.



    Is there a specific reason why we need POP? IMAP is frankly a better protocol to use of the two given that we all check email from multiple devices these days:

  2. Ken Buchanan 11 Reputation points


    I'm using POP largely to allow me to store large numbers of messages locally without ever having to worry about running out of server storage.

    This is only an issue on Outlook - now v 2021.

    It's important to note that the problem is on all (3) email accounts and it is intermittent. If it works on one account it works on them all. If it fails on one, it fails on all.

    To my mind this is a sleeping issue since it only ever happens after hours of inactivity. Perhaps POP is nothing to do with it but it is interesting that whenever I do have the POP error then web activity still works. If I had other apps that used other protocols then I could test them but I'm not aware of any others.

  3. Faery Fu-MSFT 15,506 Reputation points Microsoft Vendor

    Hi @Ken Buchanan ,

    It's important to note that the problem is on all (3) email accounts and it is intermittent. If it works on one account it works on them all. If it fails on one, it fails on all.

    Do you configure the three POP accounts in the same profile?

    In order to exclude the corruption of the profile, it is recommended that you create a new profile to see if the problem can be solved.

    From your description, the Outlook can work after the disable/re -enabled Wi-Fi network. I find an article on troubleshooting network problems in Windows, Fix Wi-Fi connection issues in Windows

    If the answer is helpful, please click "Accept Answer" and kindly upvote it. If you have extra questions about this answer, please click "Comment".

    Note: Please follow the steps in our documentation to enable e-mail notifications if you want to receive the related email notification for this thread.

  4. Ken Buchanan 11 Reputation points

    I've fixed it but I don't exactly know how!

    For the first time ever I took my laptop on a journey. I connected to Wi-Fi in an airport lounge and my Norton leapt into action saying the network was unsafe and did I want to switch on a VPN. I said yes and thought nothing more of it.

    I didn't' realise that the VPN would remain switched on until such time as I switched it off. It took a while but I began to realise the problem had gone away. I turned off the VPN and the problem came back.

    So again I think this relates to some sort of timeout and that the VPN is keeping the network connection alive in some way. How it is that the problem only affects POP3 protocol and not web traffic I have no idea but I'm glad that the problem has gone away!

    0 comments No comments