Fecthing mails ala’ Fetchmail style under Windows (preferably for free…)

If you are given the task to replicate a fetchmail system on a Windows machine, and you cannot rely on cygwin or Vmware, you are probably in a pinch.

The situation is similar to this one: you got a fixed space e-mail box that has to be polled often, and gets filled fast. You have no self-hosted E-mail server to foward the content to.

Mpop (http://mpop.sourceforge.net/) is a credible alternative to fetchmail under Windows (tested on W2k3) but gives limited option as delivery means. It can store mails as mbox file, or maildir/ format, or piping them to an MTA. He is quite easy to configure but…if someone has to read those mails now and then, it may be a problem.

The solution may be handy: just tell Mpop to save them as a Mbox file and use mboxview (http://mbox-viewer.sourceforge.net/) to access them and attachments.
Just…I had some e-mails containing fowarded .eml e-mails, and mboxview cannot open .eml.

I finally solved installing and configuring properly the IMAP-POP3-SMTP server hMailserver (http://www.hmailserver.com/) under Windows 2003.
It’s fairly configurable and nice: data directory may be moved to a separate filesystem (see Change the data directory) supports Databases, but best of all has a feature called ‘External accounts’.
Hmailserver  can poll an external e-mail periodically, and foward the e-mails on the local account. This way, users can access the e-mails thru IMAP, and there isn’t any space limitation (you are hosting the server, you decide) .

If you don’t need SMTP, you may as well turn it off; you don’t even need to mess with MX record and such.
Just configure hMailserver with a local domain (@yournet.local), and access it providing the clients with the [email protected], and using the server hostname as e-mail server name.
Ahm, if you need backup functionality, hMailserver has it, both manual and scheduled thru Windows  tasks.

CONS: there’s no name behind this project,  and people who are deplyoing on production servers like to see name and faces. Btw, isn’t an open source project. Not everything shall be Opensource, but we like to see the faces or the source.
No face and no source, and you’re on your own…

You can find hmailserver source here, while the author information (Martin Knafve) is here