So the other day, I’m trying to figure out how to read an Exchange mailbox from GMail and it’s really starting to get to me because I just can’t get the stupid thing to work. It shouldn’t be that hard, because it’s possible to use an IMAP or POP3 connection to Exchange, after all, but I just can’t get the GMail connection to work. To make matters worse, if you search for it (my usual method of solving such a problem), you end up with results, but not of the correct variety. You get pages that tell you how to forward from GMail to Exchange, and pages that tell you how to use GMail as a business platform – but not what I really want, which is simply to have GMail do the checking with Exchange being a regular POP3 account. So I had to keep digging.
I’ll tell you first that it is possible. Secondly, you do need to have POP3 configured (you should probably have guessed that one). Finally, it’s really not hard – you just have to be willing to play around and guess a few times in order to figure out the answer. After that, it works like a champ.
Just like any other POP3 account, log into your GMail account, click on Settings and then Accounts. Scroll down to where it says Get mail from other accounts. Add your email address and clck Next Step. This is where it gets tricky.
The POP Server is just what you’d expect it to be – and you can even use SSL here, which is pretty cool. Just like other POP3 accounts, you can leave the mail on the server if you want, which comes in handy if you’re traveling and don’t want to remove the mail from your server for some reason (or even if you’re at home and just want to use GMail for whatever reason). As with other accounts, you can add a label to the account. But there’s just one little trick you need to know in order to make it work. Up at the top, where it asks you for your username, make sure you specify the correct format.
All you Windows types, who are used to including this in domain\user format, make sure you’re paying attention and enter it as domain/user instead. That’s it. Use a forward slash instead of a backslash. And don’t even try and use the email address, because while it will work in some places (like Outlook Web Access), it doesn’t work in POP3 – at least not via GMail. I’m not even sure that a fully qualified domain name works here. Use the NETBIOS name instead, becuse it seems to work every time. And don’t forget to use a forward slash!