Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 6:27 AM ET, 01/31/2011

PostPoints tip: Download your Web-mail

By Rob Pegoraro

Many Hotmail users got an unplanned reminder of the risks of relying on Web access to e-mail when Microsoft's site temporarily lost all their messages over the New Year's weekend. More recently, a small subset of AOL users also stopped getting new messages. And at some point, some other Web-mail service will suffer the same misfortune. But the next time this happens, users who had thought to set up a mail program for the site's download option will at least retain access to their old messages; some may even find that new mail continues to download, as some prepared Gmail users discovered when Google's mail site suffered an hours-long outage in February of 2009.

Aside from Yahoo, all the major Web-mail services offer free offline access. Most support Post Office Protocol (POP), downloading of messages in your inbox. A few, including AOL and Gmail, support Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), which syncs all of the messages in all of your folders and even the status of individual e-mails--read, replied, forwarded, flagged for follow-up--with a mail program. Either way, all it takes is a minute or two to add your Web-mail accounts settings to such programs as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, Apple's Mail and the e-mail applications on iPhone, Android and other smartphones. It's worth taking that time unless you only employ a Web-mail account as a backup or throwaway address.

(About the "PostPoints tip" title: I archive each tip-of-the-week e-mail we send to PostPoints members under this blog's "Tips" category. Today's item went out on Jan. 25.)

Meanwhile...

* Sunday's column described the market forces that have encouraged some sites to game Google's results, and the political forces that may make it tricky for Google to fight that trend aggressively. (When you're done with that, read Mike Rosenwald's piece for more details about how Google has been looking a little dull at Web search lately.)

* In Help File, I addressed a reader's concern over preparing a tax return online--although I have to admit that my answer wasn't entirely reassuring.

By Rob Pegoraro  | January 31, 2011; 6:27 AM ET
Categories:  Tips  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: It's National Data Privacy Day
Next: Report: Atrix docks may sell for $50, $60

Comments

In addition to Outlook and Tbird, Windows Live Mail also gives you offline capability.

Posted by: rrgeek | January 31, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Several months ago, I set up a friend's email as IMAP using Windows Live Mail with AOL. She was one who lost the AOL mail a few days ago.

Apparently the act of syncing between the PC based Windows Live Mail program the AOL's web based mail wiped out the e-mail at both locations. So it appears that IMAP may not be the answer to that problem. Rather a POP3 setup that does not sync would prevent that problem.

Posted by: gsv7452 | February 1, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company