SMTP server settings in Outlook

I have been struggling with this one for some time now.

I am using Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 in my laptop for my e-mail and calendar. I have 7 e-mail accounts configured, including my work account, a personal one, two or three for some websites I am maintaining and some other “legacy” accounts. For each of these accounts, Outlook needs an SMTP server and, optionally, some outgoing mail settings such as the SMTP server authentication mode.

The problem is that I carry my laptop around. That’s what laptops are for, right? When I am at work, I use my workplace’s SMTP server, but when I am at home (connected to the Internet through 1.5 Mbps wireless ADSL) I cannot use my workplace’s SMTP server because it only accepts relaying from its own network. I have to revert to use my ISP’s SMTP server, which is fine, but I need to bring up Outlook’s E-Mail Accounts configuration dialog box and change the setting for each of my 7 accounts. Something similar happens when I visit other university where I am a Visiting Fellow. Or when I go to a conference. Or…

It would be nice if Outlook accepted some kind of profiles depending on you location or connectivity parameters.

I reverse-engineered the registry keys where Outlook saves the SMTP configuration and I have written myself a little .NET app that stores location profiles and lets me apply one or the other as needed. Beautiful.

But how can this basic functionality be absent from Outlook 2003? Is it there and I haven’t seen it?


5 Responses to “SMTP server settings in Outlook”

  1. 1 broodypluto 27 December 2004 at 11:50

    it is one the best msn ever done, i would ilike to have it

  2. 3 JohnJones 15 July 2008 at 0:10

    I thought I had better leave a responce of some kind since this problem is not one that should be solved the way you have attacked it

    first of all ask that you understand exactly what port 587 is for ?

    I would encourage you to read
    rfc5068 : Email Submission Operations: Access and Accountability Requirements

    it seems that you run ironport systems at work on the edge network and the firewall does not submit this to the mailserver (exchange or whatever it is)

    your concept is simply bad and your breaking other things every time you use the ISP for submission you should be submitting to a server that is trusted at least so…

    either use the function that outlook already has for profiles and carry on submitting mail to random servers depending on your physical location

    decide on a trusted relay agent that understands email submission to some degree my recommendation in this case of getting things done would be gmail

    or the ideal would be submit to a server for each service on port 587 !

    reputation of your domain is important so please bring this up with your administrator of mail !

    I hope this helps


    John Jones

  3. 4 cesargon 23 July 2008 at 22:27


    Wow, I didn’t know about port 587, RFC 5068 and everything else that you mention! Thanks for your informative post.

    Still, I believe that the mere mortal trying to configure his/her email client app should not need to peruse an RFC document to understand how to do it properly, don’t you think? I still think that Outlook is limited in the sense that it forces you to use a single outgoing mail server regardless of your location. At least in Europe, most ISPs use only port 25 as far as I know for SMTP, and most home user accounts won’t let you relay email if you’re not home, i.e. if you’re away. What solution would you suggest in that situation?

    Thanks for your valuable help!

  1. 1 OutlookConfig 1.1 available now « Nothing Ever Happens 2 Trackback on 16 December 2008 at 1:20

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