Web-based Email

Think you don't use 'the Cloud' for saving stuff?

Guess what, if you use free email like Yahoo mail or Gmail or any other email you access by going to the web site and logging in to read or send email, you are using 'the Cloud'.

Web based email has been around for a long time. ISPs typically have an email application on their web sites and offer the option to use email on the web or if the user chooses, it can be downloaded to an email client (program) on the user's computer.

The ability to login from anywhere and access your email is very handy.

While 'handy' is usually a good thing, it pays to be sure you don't lose emails you need for future reference.  It also pays to make sure you don't lose your email contacts. Recently there have been some reports of folks losing their web based email with no way to get it back.  If your web based email gets hacked and the hackers change your password, you may never get everything back.

To backup your web mail, you need to download the mail to an email client. There are a lot of free email programs available to download. 

You will also need to save your contacts. (Sorry, it is a separate step!)

To export your Gmail contacts, look here on Gmail's site. For Hotmail check on About.com.  Most web email do have a way to export your contacts.  Free Yahoo mail does not offer a method of downloading email, but you can export your contacts to a file. 

 Please note, you can export or import the contacts to just about any email program using File/Import in the program.

Some free email programs are listed on a page in the Windows 7 section.  Which one is best?  It depends on your needs.  There really is no one size fits all.

Windows XP users have a free email program, Outlook Express.  Outlook Express will work just fine as long as users do regular maintenance. Windows Vista comes with Windows Mail, but Windows 7 has no email program until one is downloaded and installed.