Email on the Web
ISP Web Mail Alert!
Are you reading all of your email in your ISP's web mail? Just about all ISPs have a nice feature, email on the web. It's very handy, as you can read your email where ever you are as long as you have access to an Internet connected computer. It is so easy to use! You don't have to worry about what the settings are, just logon with your user id and password and there it is, all of your email messages, folders with saved emails and all of your email addresses for family, friends, any business contacts you may need and maybe some customer service related email addresses.
But what happens if you change ISPs? You may lose it all once you cancel the old ISP account. One day when you try to login, poof, it's all gone.
There is a way to prevent the loss of everything, download it all to your computer. Every copy of Windows XP came with an email client, Outlook Express. This email program is much maligned as unsafe and earlier versions were 'accidents waiting to happen' as far as malware creeping in to your computer. However, even then the program known as OE for short, could be configured for security and was about as safe as any other email program as long as common sense was practiced. (This means not opening attachments unless expecting them and various other unsafe actions.) Recent security updates from Microsoft have stopped a lot of the holes.
Vista came with Windows Mail, basically Outlook Express with a few changes. Windows 7 is the exception, no email comes with Windows 7, although a lot of PC makers included Windows Live Mail. Even if you don't want to use these email programs you can use them for backing up your email by downloading all your email from your ISP.
You don't have to use Outlook Express if you have Windows XP. There are a number of free email programs that can handle just about any of your email needs. There is Thunderbird from Mozilla, Eudora free and Eudora sponsored, Courier to name just a few. Setting up most email clients to receive email is not rocket science, if you know how to do basic stuff on a computer you can figure out how to get email on your computer. You do need to know what settings your ISP requires, all you have to do is ask. Usually that information is available in the help section on the ISP's site.
Now for the nice part. You can download all of the email from your ISP, save your email addresses on your computer and you can still read email on the web if you have access to any computer with Internet access.
So if you are one of the very many users that uses the web email feature only and you need to change your ISP, setup an email client on your computer FIRST and download everything BEFORE you cancel your old ISP.