If you have a mailbox hosted on a Microsoft Exchange server, you’re probably using Outlook (or its web variant) as mail client. Thanks to a suggestion by a colleague, I’ve just discovered a way to access your Exchange mailbox (including calendar and contacts) using any mail clients.
You only need to install on your PC an opensource software, DavMail Gateway
DavMail indeed acts as a “translator”: on a side it communicates with the Exchange server using the language (protocol) normally spoken by Outlook (WebDav, EWS – Exchange Web Services), while on the other side it offers the standard mail protocols: POP/IMAP (for incoming emails) and SMTP (for outgoing emails):
Let’s see how to use it; as mail client I chose Thunderbird, in its portable version (which doesn’t require installation) but as I said you can use the mail client you prefer.
First download the latest version of DavMail. DavMail is available on different platforms, I chose the Windows version, again the one that doesn’t require installation:
Once unzipped the archive in a new folder, run the program with a double clink on davmail.exe (you can also run the program in console mode or install it as a Windows service):
The program shows its icon in the systray, in the right-bottom corner of your screen, next to the clock. You can configure it choosing Settings… from the menu (right-click the icon to display it):
Type the address of the webmail (OWA) of your Exchange server. Depending on how the server is configured, you may need to choose a particular protocol; most of the time the default setting (Auto) is ok. Note the port numbers of the different services (for example IMAP on port 1143…): you’ll need them later to configure your mail client.
When DavMail is configured and running, you can move to your mail client. When configuring a new account, type localhost both for incoming and outgoing server and enter the correct port number for the different protocols:
If everything was configured correctly, you can now manage your Exchange mailbox using your preferred mail program!