Whats the best desktop client to use for multiple Gmail accounts?
September 30, 2008 5:11 PM   Subscribe

Whats the best desktop client to use for multiple Gmail accounts?

I have 3 gmail accounts. One is my account that deals with real people, one is for mailing lists and forum notifications, and one is my work email. I'd like to access them via IMAP because I read all 3 on a desktop, laptop, and iPhone, and I want it to all stay in sync.

I originally used Outlook 2007 to do this. I liked the software, but multiple times a day I would get a popup message that said "IMAP Server has timed out". This is a documented issue with Gmail and Outlook over IMAP, and nobody seems interested in fixing it. I dealt with this for several months, and finally got fed up.

Now I'm using Thunderbird. I love it, but one of the accounts (my work account) regularly pops up a message asking me for my password. I type in the correct password, and it asks for it again, and then after a few times it gives up and says "Invalid Credentials." Sometimes restarting Thunderbird fixes it, sometimes it doesn't. I've tried clearing the CAPTCHA (google's suggestion for fixing the issue) and changing the frequency with which my accounts check for new messages so they all check at different times and are all more than 15 minutes every check.

All I want is a program that won't pop up an error once a day with a problem. I want a desktop client so I can read email when offline (I spend a lot of time with my laptop offline and need to access emails I have already received). Is there a client that will do this with GMail effectively? Both the Thunderbird issue and the Outlook issue seem well documented on the internet and no solutions have been found.

posted by jeffderek to Technology (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a reason why you can't have them all funnel into a single account? Gmail has the ability to reply to the address where the email was received. And you can also select which email address to send new messages from via a dropdown menu.

I manage multiple email accounts through a single Gmail account and unless you're worried about people checking the email headers, no one is the wiser.

Tack on Google Gears and then you have offline access to Gmail as well.
posted by junesix at 5:57 PM on September 30, 2008

Best answer: I've found Thunderbird to be far more stable with Gmail IMAP if I limit the number of cached connections. Under Account Settings, for each account: click Server Settings, then Advanced, and set "Maximum number of server connections to cache" to 1.
posted by flabdablet at 6:15 PM on September 30, 2008

I've heard good things about the new Zimbra mail client from Yahoo, but I have not used it personally.
posted by COD at 6:32 PM on September 30, 2008

Gmail has the ability to reply to the address where the email was received.
This is subtly incorrect. Google has the ability to set the From: field (which I'm assuming you meant) not to the address at which the e-mail was received, but to the address set in the message's To: field. This is imperfect, because many e-mails will not have the To: field set, and you end up with the default address.
posted by qvtqht at 6:32 PM on September 30, 2008

My wife uses Digsby for exactly that purpose, and it works great for her.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:39 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

I just use Firefox and the Gmail Manager extension for both my Gmail accounts and my Google Apps for Your Domain accounts.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:11 PM on September 30, 2008

Best answer: I use Alpine, PC-Alpine, and sometimes Thunderbird. I get frequent problems connecting to Gmail, but not to other hosts.

Frankly, I think that Gmail just has a crappy IMAP server that breaks much of the time. PC-Alpine lets me watch the IMAP session as it goes over the wire, and sometimes Gmail's IMAP server throws up errors like "system failure" to the simplest requests (like logging in) for no apparent reason.

I think you will have problems no matter what client you use. For once, I don't think it is Outlook's fault.
posted by grouse at 8:11 PM on September 30, 2008

I'm on a Mac, so not much help, but I use Mailplane, which has good support for using multiple accounts at once. Even better are the built-in labeling shortcuts, which eliminate the need to mouse over to the pulldown menu. Keyboarding = much faster.

Doesn't solve the offline issue, unfortunately. But for that, I just keep a copy of Mail.app running in the background, so that when I'm out of wireless range, I can just refer to the stored messages there. I actually haven't used it for months, since with the iPhone I'm never really out of range except on planes.
posted by crabwalk at 11:48 AM on October 2, 2008

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