Friday, November 03, 2006

Receiving email from one account on more then one computer

It is not that uncommon today to have a home network in your house whereas you are sharing the Internet with your desktop computer and a laptop as well. If you haven't already set it up so that you can receive email from each computer, you can! This is actually a simple click of a few check boxes within the account options (if using outlook express or outlook).. However the key to remember here is to also include the rules of when to delete. Depending on how often you check your mail and just how much mail you receive on a daily basis may have you changing these options, especially if you start receiving notices from your Internet provider that your mailbox is full!

Since there is also so many unwanted emails (spam) that will arrive in your inbox, it isn't a bad idea to log in to the 'webmail' access which almost all Internet providers now provide (for shaw customers it is (for telus customers it is I think you get the idea.

Once you log in to your webmail you are connected directly to the mailbox, which means anything you delete here will be gone! This means when you connect using Outlook/Outlook express it will find nothing. This is a good thing, especially if you have had troubles receiving some or all of your mail. In fact, many people actually find using the web-based email faster and easier since no email is actually being downloaded to your computer (other then any attachments you may decide to save), so for that reason it is actually a lot more safe as you run less chance of downloading a virus.

The key to having this 'multiple email account access' work properly is to make sure you use the same rules on each computer that you plan to receive email from. To walk you through it:

Open outlook express and click on TOOLS then on ACCOUNTS now click to highlight your email account and choose PROPERTIES. Now click on the ADVANCED tab and now place a check mark in the DELIVERY check box "leave a copy on the server". Now directly below this are the rules I was referring to earlier. Here is where you will want to first choose how many days before they are deleted. Note that this timer starts the first time the email account accesses that particular email message so if computer 1 connects on Monday and it is set to 5 days, then on Saturday it would be removed. If you are using this rule, which of course you should be otherwise your inbox on your web server will just fill up, you should probably use the other rule as well, since this works as an 'and/or' statement. If the message is 5 days old "or" it is deleted from the deleted items. This means you may have 20 new messages that computer 1 picks up on Monday. Computer 2 connects on Thursday and will also receive all 20 messages (plus anything new of course). But if computer 2 were to have connected Saturday instead of before that, those messages would be gone. But if computer1 had deleted, say 5 messages from those initial 20, and then computer 2 connected, there would only be 15 messages downloaded.

Now, the final point to get across here is this deleting rule takes place when your email program first connects to the mail server, therefore in order for the mail server to know that you have just deleted those 5 messages, you would have to perform a new 'send/receive' at which point the server recognizes that you have removed those 5 (before the 5 day time frame or whatever you had set for rule number 1),then they would be removed. I think this is the part most people do not realize since they will connect from computer 1, receive the 20 messages and then go and receive them on computer 2 as well. Now, they would delete 5 messages from computer 1 and perform a send/receive but realize they are still on computer 2.. that is because they have been DOWNLOADED to that computer. The only way computer 2 would not get those 5 messages is if it had not yet connected (before computer 1 had deleted and performed a send/receive).

Now for those of you using Outlook, in the advanced options of your email, you have the option to 'perform a send/receive upon exiting' which would solve this problem of forgetting to do the send/receive to remove the mail you just deleted (before computer 2 connected).

Again, this is where using webmail can eliminate this, by simply using the webmail log in on all computers since you can delete it and it is gone, no matter who connects to it.

One final trick that I suggest you use if you do plan on setting up this multi-computer access to your email account, using outlook/outlook express, is to go in to the MAINTENANCE option and turn on the option to EMPTY MAIL FROM DELETED ITEMS WHEN EXITING. This will also help eliminate mail from hanging around that you have been planning on deleting. When I say this is a good thing, I actually have people tell me that they don't want that because they might actually need that mail. This is where I explain that if I delete something, then it goes to the deleted items.. I can still get it back .. SO LONG AS I DON'T CLOSE THE EMAIL PROGRAM! This shouldn't be too much to remember, if you aren't in the habit of doing a glance in your deleted items before you close your program then you obviously don't care what is deleted. For me, I am SURE when I delete that I don't want it.. on the other hand I have been known to 'double click' or drag the file to the wrong place and it ends up going to the deleted items folder, but no problem since I just made the 'oops' I would retrieve it from the deleted items folder. For no unforsaken reason should you be using the deleted items folder as a 'temporary folder'.. CREATE A NEW FOLDER if that is what you are wanting to accomplish! Worst case scenario I say is, hey if you accidentally deleted a friends email they sent to you, you can probably email them back and get them to re-send it.. because every email program also comes equipped with the SENT ITEMS folder which is where all of your mail will go (unless you are playing with the options in which case you may choose not to save a copy but that if you are at that point, then you probably don't need to be reading this tip in the first place).

Be sure to read my TIPS page on the CORRECT WAY TO SEND AND FORWARD email if you haven't already since that one tip alone may eventually save the world from SPAM.. if only everyone that we know would follow that rule we may actually win the war on spam, or at least have a fighting chance!