Outlook prompting for IMAP password

Copper Contributor

I think I'm going crazy! My Outlook keeps popping up asking me to add my IMAP password (which I have no idea what it is), and my emails are not updating. I haven't changed anything to my knowledge and this is happening on both my phone and laptop. I keep being sent to Microsoft 365 to update the password which I have done and then realised I have another Outlook in Microsoft from years ago which I do not use. I need to find the IMAP password for the Outlook I do want to use as it's my business email but Outlook don't seem to have any contact details. Does anyone have any experience with this before I go mad? Really appreciate if anyone has any ideas at all? Many thanks

19 Replies

Hi @RebeccaS50,

There are a few things you can try to fix the issue of Outlook prompting for your IMAP password and emails not updating on both your phone and laptop:

1. Make sure that you have entered your username and password correctly.
2. Check if your email provider requires you to use an app password instead of your regular password.
3. Make sure that your Outlook is up-to-date and if not, update it.
4. Try delteing and creating a new profile in Outlook.
Create an Outlook profile - Microsoft Support
6. If you are using Outlook, try unchecking the box next to the option “Always prompt for login credentials” under the Security tab.

- Choose File / Account Settings / Account Settings
- Click the Change button.
- Click the More Settings button. Select the Security tab.
- Deselect the "Always prompt for logon credentials" check box.

7. Remove stored credentials in Credential Manager. Open the Control Panel, click Credential Manager, find the credential sets that Outlook in the name, expand the set and click on "Remove from Vault".

8. Set up MFA for Office 365. If your admin has enabled multi-factor authentication for your account, we recommend to use it. Or use the app password in Outlook. For details, please refer to this article: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/set-up-2-step-verification-for-office-365-ace1d096-61e5-449...

Check also the links regarding your issue:

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Kindest regards,

Leon Pavesic



Hi and thank you for your reply!

I don't seem to have the 'security' tab, attached a screenshot.

I don't seem to have the 'outlook' name under credentials either, attached a screenshot.

I have just updated Microsoft and Outlook said it will have to open in safe mode as it didn't close properly. Now I can see all my missed business emails but only in safe mode.

The log in prompt is still popping up on laptop and mobile, I am really at a loss, I've honestly had nothing but issues with Outlook, the syncing is terrible too (when it does sync).

Many thanks


@RebeccaS50, first, check your email provider's requirements. Some providers, like Google and Microsoft, necessitate the use of app passwords instead of regular ones for email clients like Outlook. Visit your provider's website for instructions on obtaining an app password.


Ensure your Outlook client is updated by going to File > Office Account > About Outlook and installing available updates.


Consider creating a new Outlook profile and configuring your account there. Access Control Panel > Mail > Show Profiles > Add, name the new profile, and follow the setup instructions.


You can also try disabling and re-enabling your email account within Outlook by right-clicking your account, going to Account Settings, and choosing Disable, then Enable after a few seconds. Additionally, under the Security tab, you can uncheck "Always prompt for login credentials" in File > Account Settings > Account Settings > More Settings > Security.


Additional advice - test your email account through the web interface to isolate the issue to Outlook and if problems persist, use the Microsoft Support and Recovery Tool to diagnose and resolve Outlook issues.

I have the same problem after I started using the new Outlook. If I go to the legacy Outlook it works fine



This issue seem to also affect me on the new outlook client. It has happened after adding in a DNS verification entry to my own domain (which is also the primary account for outlook, but managed external to Microsoft).


I checked all of the setup on the email accounts I have, and it was all as expected and specified by the Hosting Domain, every time I restarted New Outlook, It would prompt for the Primary account password, and go through the account setup for it.   For the time being I have reverted to the previous outlook client.


It's a shame as I much prefer the new client, and I only added the DNS validation to attempt to kill the adverts being shown in Outlook.. 


Yes. It's a shame. I love this new client but it's kind of crippled by this issue for IMAP access.

We're talking about Outlook New, published as companion software of Windows 10/11 in 2023, downloaded from Microsoft Store. It's NOT any other Outlook as part of Microsoft Office Suites.
Don't question your sanity. Well at least not for about these Microsoft issues. Just this morning (about 12 hours ago) after months or years of stable operation all of my Outlook and Hotmail IMAP accounts in multiple email clients in different platforms started experiencing symptoms similar (although not identical) to what's been described in this thread so for what this is worth:

In MS Outlook 2021 on Windows 10 and in Fair Email on Android 10 devices all Outlook and Hotmail accounts on the devices started returning authentication error but seemingly could still receive and send email.... after the prompts for the password which appeared variable # of times each time and for each account were indulged. This is not occurring with g mail accounts.

For example, when Outlook on the PC is first opened then the primary IMAP account immediately reports an authentication error and presents the password prompt. Clicking on okay may result in a repeat of the prompt or may result in the password being accepted but it is always eventually accepted. When send receive all accounts is triggered then several or all of the accounts similarly request the credentials again requiring that the existing credentials be entered a viable # of times before selecting them. Once that is done then if a send-all accounts is immediately invoked then all accounts may go through OK but after some time or after outlook is closed and opened then the accounts may or may not again require acknowledgment of the prompt one of more times.

In Fair Email on android the symptom is similar where attempts to access accounts fail for several or all but eventually go through. Unlike with Outlook, in the case of android sending receive all rarely works for all of the accounts but then accessing them one at a time does eventually work, again without changing any settings or the password - just entering the existing value again without changing it.

Thinking that this might relate to changes that Microsoft has announced to the outlook ecosystem (which should not affect me in MS office 2021) I double checked the server names and tested with the commonly recommended parameters, outlook.office365.com and smtp-mail.outlook.com (my default), and with the parameters that are autopoulated when a new account is automatically created in Outlook, imap.outlook.com and smtp.outlook.com. With both sets of server parameters the issue is the same.

In my case there seems to clearly be an issue with the Microsoft servers today or they have made some recent change. It is as if the servers handling the authentication are overloaded and or they are releasing the clients too soon. unfortunately Microsoft is particularly infuriating for their absolute unwillingness to offer any help other than standard tutorials which would be a waste of time in this case, even when they must know that there is some issue. In any event even if the issue I’ve experienced is not the same as what has been reported here I’m glad at least that someone is discussing these things. Thanks.

original question concerned finding IMAP password. I still have no idea where this is, if I have one.@n0hairs 



True but finding password for old account seemed to be a workaround that the original reporter wanted to try after encountering the initial problem; I’m speaking only to the initial problem that put them in the need to try that as a workaround. Maybe that means my posts should be in another topic but this was the most similar one I could find.


"Outlook prompting for IMAP password” when “I haven't changed anything to my knowledge and this is happening on both my phone and laptop” implies that there had been previously good access with that password, and that they were needlessly and perhaps counter-productively sent by Microsoft to Office 365 to change password (when that is the last thing we would want to do if there are server authentication issues on the back end). An exception to that might be if the password had expired but there would typically be warnings about that and no such thing was mentioned. Also, it seems that even after the password was changed the account could still not be accessed. That set of symptoms does resemble the issue I’ve experienced which is clearly a server issue on Microsoft side (in my case if not the original reporter’s).


Also, in the server issues I’ve seen there seems to be a correlation between the number of email accounts being accessed by the client and the frequency of the issue but digging into that might be going a bit wide for this thread. That being said, in addition to being aware of the server-side issues which started on January 24 in the morning (GMT-5) and continue at this moment (Jan 25 midday), if people are having issues with one of many accounts in an email profile they might want to isolate the problematic account when testing (eg, send receive only that account)


In any event, whether or not there is a direct connection between the original issues and the details I’ve added, anyone testing logins to Outlook or Hotmail email accounts from desktop clients now should be aware that there are significant Outlook server-side issue at this moment which might falsely indicate bad credentials and induce a needless password change, as well as possible issues when multiple accounts are accessed by the same client.

@n0hairs It seems that this discussion has lost track of a solution for the constant prompting in Outlook to add email credentials that previously worked fine. I am having the same issue with my Imap account. I also have a POP account with a different email address and this is working fine.


My IMAP account has worked flawlessly for four years on this computer and suddenly this problem arises. 


Microsoft Office Outlook 2019. It is up-to-date and I still receive/send mail. I just keep getting darn pop-up asking me to enter my username and password. Which I have done. I have changed settings to the account and repaired the account to no avail.


Is there an actual solution other than "Check to make sure your password is correct" ?


Well, back end issues such as this one (which Microsoft has finally acknowledged) can erroneously present symptoms of a required password change when there is no need to change the password. As do you, I have known good configurations on multiple laptops and android devices which had been working fine a long time which all started having problems at the same time a few days ago, but the passwords eventually do go through. Assuming we are experiencing the same issue, We and other people may experience the symptoms to differing degrees of severity as the issue and then the solution roll through the network.

I should disclaim that I do not work for or represent Microsoft or represent this forum but I am a former IT professional with experience in particular configuring email profiles, and Microsoft has indeed acknowledged this issue.

Here is a link to a thread where I added more test results and where one of the helpers from this forum added a link to Microsoft's official acknowledgment of the issue which in turn links to other user reports.


Again assuming you are experiencing the same issue, there's not much we can do but wait until the server stuff is fixed but at least we now know not to chase password changes or other setting changes. In fact this would not be a good time to change password even if that were the issue (which it most likely is not).

By the way, in my case, sending many send receive commands one after the other and repeatedly sending the same known good credentials seems to force the login and messages to come through but that experience may not be universal. There are more details in my posts at the linked thread.
You do not need to worry about finding password. You can create new password in few clicks by logging to your Microsoft profile. https://account.microsoft.com/profile/, Click on security, Click on Advanced Security Option and create a new "App passwords"

I'm seeing exactly the same symptoms - for about a week now, upon opening Outlook, and randomly thereafter, I am being prompted for my email account password. Outlook client on Microsoft 365. Same email client configuration has been in place for years without issue, across multiple laptops and PCs. Interestingly I do not see the same issue in the Outlook app on my Google Pixel phone. I had suspected it to be a server-based issue, which this thread seems to confirm. So waiting for Microsoft to fix it.

Perhaps I should explain. I was in no way being critical of any answers, my problem is slightly different. I have installed 365 on my imac and am trying to use Outlook and whilst it finds my email address it prompts for IMAP password. I have no idea where that is. Whilst I am am fairly computer literate when it comes to usage and following instructions if things don’t pan out I’m lost.


Think of your email like a mailbox at the post office. Mail service providers like Outlook.com, Gmail, and Yahoo are the post offices. To "open" your mailbox, you can use different tools:

Email clients: Like a key, email clients (software like Microsoft Outlook) let you access your emails on your computer. These are thicker and offer more features.

Web browsers: Like checking your box online, you can also access your emails through a web browser - thinner and easily accessible anywhere.

No matter which tool you use, you need a password to unlock your mailbox. This password sits on the post office server (not your device).

Here's the key thing about IMAP: it's like a special mailbox key that works wherever you are. You can configure your email client (Outlook) with IMAP, and then access your emails from any computer or phone using the same settings.

If you forget your IMAP password, don't worry! You can just log in to your Microsoft account online and reset it. The password stored on your email client itself isn't visible to the post office (meaning us).

Hopefully, this clarifies things! Let me know if you have any other questions.

No offense taken. Unfortunately with a backend server issue such as the one which has been going on for several days  it can be hard to distinguish which case is a matter of the server outage and which case is a matter of proper username and password.



Has anyone determined the exact cause of this issue or had luck resolving it?


Over the last couple of weeks I've experienced the same problem with multiple 'outlook.com' email addresses that are now constantly prompting for the password despite this being entered correctly (still accessible via OWA).


Clearing the Outlook entry under Windows Credentials, creating a new Outlook profile (via Control Panel > Mail) appear to have alleviated the issue for now, but I'm not confident the issue won't return with the next update.



Hi everyone. So I did did a few tweaks back when everyone responded and something worked but I don't know what (I did many tweaks but there were also a lot that went over my head). Yesterday I had the same issue and it seems to be when my server drops with new internet providers, then the password prompts begin.

This time (3 hours later of tweaks, research and online chats not to mention various password changes to get into other accounts), I found my professional Outlook email provider, Godaddy, changed my password in there, (although I'm sure that's not the IMAP password I kept being asked for, it was just the password for my email in Godaddy), the new internet providers also restarted everything. And now no prompts again.. I haven't tried the new password in the password prompts as I haven't had any since.. Hope this helps someone! I also realised I can see all of my emails in Godaddy if needed.. This fixed both my laptop and mobile as it happens on both..