You may get this error when trying to download an email. It means that your email program waited so long for a response from BT's mail server that it gave up, or 'timed out'.
If your connection to the Internet is OK, and you can surf the web as normal, you should first check that the problem is not a temporary fault affecting BT's mail servers. To do this you should visit the BT Broadband Service Status page using the link below:
Check online for broadband service problems in your area
Call our broadband service status line on Freephone 0800 169 0199
If there are no reported problems on the Service Status pages, please follow the checks below:
- Check your email program for corrupted files
- Check for messages that may be 'clogging up' your inbox
- How to 'unclog' your inbox
- Check your anti-virus and firewall software
Check your email program for corrupted files
The error may be due to a fault with your email program, particularly the file that keeps track of which emails you have downloaded, which can become corrupted. You might be able to fix this by carrying out the following steps:
- Disconnect from the Internet and close all programs.
- Search for the file pop3uidl (this is your cached mail file) and delete it.
- Restart your computer.
- Try to send/receive email again.
Check for messages that may be 'clogging up' your inbox
You may have a large email waiting for you on the mail server that is taking too long to download. Outlook Express and other mail clients do not handle large emails well (usually this means emails with large attached files), and often interpret the long connection time as 'inactive', even though you are downloading emails. A corrupted email in your inbox on the mail server can have the same effect.
This might be happening if:
- It takes a long time downloading an email
- You are being repeatedly cut off before getting any mail, and then getting the first few messages repeatedly.
- You have a large number of emails waiting to be downloaded.
How to 'unclog' your inbox
First log into your mailbox via our Webmail page. Read all of your new email messages there and then delete them (if you need to keep any of the content you may wish to copy the text and paste it into a word processor document on your computer as a record). Now you can leave webmail and return to using your regular email program - with whichever message that was "clogging" up your inbox now gone you should be able to download any new emails as normal.
Note: if the clog was caused by someone sending you a large file attachment you may want to contact them to discuss ways of avoiding the problem in future. The link below will give you information about transferring large files.
Check your anti-virus and firewall software
If you have anti-virus or firewall software on your computer, and it is not installed or set up correctly, it may be preventing your email program from accessing our mail server. Please make sure that any such software is set up to allow access to msimn.exe (for Outlook Express) or outlook.exe (for Outlook). For further advice on this, please contact the manufacturer of the anti-virus or firewall software you are using.
If you're having other problems with your emails or you're receiving other error messages, please use the link below for further information about error messages and how to resolve them: