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How to Download Only the Headers for Large Messages in Outlook

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Usually, when you get an email you do want to get it completely, don't you? But when a message is but a virus or contains huge pictures attached that you don't need immediately, downloading just the headers in a first go can speed things up considerably, and it might be more secure, too.

In Outlook, you can reap these advantages easily and automatically by setting up your accounts to fetch headers only for messages that exceed a certain size.

Download Only the Headers for Large Messages in Outlook

To make Outlook download only the headers of large messages automatically:

  • Select Tools | Send/Receive | Send/Receive Settings | Define Send/Receive Groups... from the menu.
  • Highlight the desired group.
  • Click Edit....
  • Go to the desired account in the Accounts list.
  • Make sure Download complete item including attachments is selected under Folder Options.
  • Now make sure Download only headers for items larger than is checked, too.
  • Enter the desired threshold.
    • The default 50 KB are pretty sensible.
  • Click OK.

Get the Rest of the Message

Now, when you click Send/Receive, Outlook will only download the headers information for messages exceeding your threshold size. But getting the full emails is easy, as is deleting messages right at the server without downloading them in full ever.

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