The "work offline" feature forces Windows Live Mail to behave as if no internet connection were available: it prevents it from automatically checking for new emails (by default, every 10 minutes), regardless of your send / receive settings. It offers many advantages (like working with a laptop connected to a 3G network, letting you check old emails without the distraction of new ones coming in, etc.), and a couple of drawbacks for which we'll show you a workaround.
Note: if you are having problems with offline mode (like not able to go online), you can skip to the ▼ troubleshooting section ▼ at the bottom of this tutorial.
In the main window, click on the Work offline button in the ribbon's Home tab: as soon as you do, the icon becomes a globe without the red "x", and now reads "
Go online": From this point on, no new emails will be downloaded unless you manually check for them, or go back online. Likewise, messages sent while offline remain in the Outbox folder.
Tip: if the ribbon is minimized, you can tell what your current online / offline status is by looking at the status bar (bottom right corner).
When you are offline, there are three ways to check for new messages, and send all the ones queued in your outbox (if any).
1 Click on the tiny send/receive icon in the title bar ("
Quick Access Toolbar") near the top left corner of the window - it is the first icon by default: 2 Click on the Send/Receive button in the ribbon's Home tab (pictured above). If you've setup multiple email accounts in Windows Live Mail, optionally check just one of them by clicking on the dropdown arrow and picking it from the listing.
3 Finally, you can use a keyboard shortcut: the Alt+1 hotkey always triggers the first icon in the Quick Access Toolbar always has (whatever command happens to show in first place). Hitting the F5 key does the same as clicking the big Send/Receive button in the ribbon (useful if that command is hidden from the title bar).
Nifty trick: if Windows Live Mail is stuck downloading a lot of messages, emails you send will "seat" in the outbox, and won't be sent until all new messages have been downloaded. But if you click the "Work offline" button, your outgoing messages will be sent just before Windows Live Mail goes offline!
Since it is tightly integrated with Windows, working offline with Windows Live Mail affects other programs that check that setting: this includes Internet Explorer. You'll still be able to access the internet, but you'll receive a "
Internet Explorer went online to open the requested webpage" confirmation message, depending on your version of IE:
Second disadvantage: emails sent offline aren't sent until you manually send/receive. Unless you disabled the reminder ("Don't show me this again" checkbox), Windows Live Mail gives you such a warning. Without it, you'll easily forget that you were offline, and messages will just "seat there"!
Here are common errors and problems Windows Live Mail has (like it keeps going offline or is stuck always offline!) and a corresponding fix for each of them:
off". Then, open Internet Explorer, press Alt+F to show the File menu, and click "Work offline" if it has a checkmark. Keep reading if this doesn't let you go back online.
Include this account when receiving mail or synchronizing" is checked; click OK to apply, and Close to return to your emails.
If Windows Live Mail is stuck offline (won't go back online), close the program and restart it. (To avoid storage file corruption, ideally wait ~30 seconds before restarting.)