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Some email providers have an email forwarding feature, but many do not. If available forwarding only works as long as you continue to own the original account.

One of my inactive email addresses is posted on someone's web page. It's for a different ISP than I use now. Is there a way that if anyone sends mail to that inactive address, the mail would be forwarded to my current email address?

Changing email addresses can be a real pain, and this is one of the reasons why. Be it on a web page that you can't update, or in the address books of all your friends and family, you know that someone will try to use your old email address long after you've switched it. A forwarding service would certainly be nice.

Yep. It'd certainly be nice.

But in general, while it's possible, it's not very likely, or it's going to cost you.

When email gets sent to "", the "someaddress" part is ignored by everyone except for the mail servers at "". Every mail server that isn't "" simply looks at the email and says, in effect, "oh, this needs to go to", and sends it there.

It's not until the mail actually gets to the servers at "" that the individual email recipient is examined, and the appropriate mailbox is found, or other action taken.

The upshot is this: if forwarding is to be done, it must be done by your old ISP. No matter what, they're going to get all the email sent to your old address since it's "at" their domain. Only they can then forward it.

The problem is twofold: first, many ISPs and mail servers simply don't provide an email forwarding service. Hotmail is a good example. You can't close a Hotmail account and ask for all email that might come in on that account to be forwarded to some other email address.

Second, for those that do support it, it basically means keeping your old account open so that it can receive, and then forward, your email. Keeping it open, of course, implies that it might cost you some amount per month.

There are various email forwarding services out there, but they basically take the later approach: you give them enough information for them to keep your old account open, and they manage the forwarding process for you. I typically don't recommend them - if you're going to keep your old account open anyway, why involve someone else?

What I do recommend is owning your own domain, and using email addresses on that domain. When you purchase a domain name, most domain registrars will allow you to specify email addresses to be forwarded, and where they might forward to. So, let's say you purchase the domain "". When you register your domain, you can then set up the email address "" to forward wherever you like ... your Hotmail account, your ISP-based email account, or whatever. You would also configure your email program to send from "". Then, when you change from Hotmail to GMail, or from one ISP to another, you simply reconfigure the forwarding to the new service. Everyone using your public email address, "", sees no difference, and all your email arrives at your new service.

Article C2403 - August 14, 2005 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

August 16, 2005 6:49 AM

my password

james schmidt
September 23, 2005 2:03 PM

I changed my email and I can't figure out how to get my old emails from there or address book. My old email address was

December 13, 2005 8:24 AM

please my old mail from 02 03

February 19, 2006 11:04 AM

O.K.! great info on forwarding. NOW, how do I get a domain name, and how much will it cast me?

February 19, 2006 11:35 AM

You purchase domains from any of a number of different registrars. I recommend, and others have great success with There are (many) others.

alwaleed abdel moneim saleh bilal
February 23, 2006 2:50 AM

Dear sir
in fact my old email has locked out so that i just like to get it back tell me what should i do ? i have got a lot of an impotant massages in it , please help me i am looking forward to receiving your prompt reply .

May 25, 2006 8:06 AM

how do I get my address book from my old email address?

donely butts
June 1, 2006 5:59 AM

i would like to get my mail from

June 6, 2006 1:49 PM

I want to get the e-mail from our old address. It was Know we have DSL and I can't get the old emails or the sent mail. Please tell us what we must do!

Becky Schaly
July 27, 2006 7:48 AM

We've switched isp's at our office today and are paying to maintain my boss's old email account until we wean people off of it. We are planning to send a blanket email to his address book of the change in address. Is there some technology we can utilize to notify people continuing to use the old address (because they are not in my boss's addressbook or because they haven't updated their addressbook) of the new one? I hope this qualifies as being on-topic. Thanks!!

Leo Notenboom
July 27, 2006 9:36 AM

Not that I'm aware of, no. I would leave the account active with an auto-reply if at all possible for a few months, and then turn it off.

mclaughlin james
August 18, 2006 6:18 AM

cant get my old e.m. address /thank you jim

August 21, 2006 10:49 AM

its not its sorry

August 23, 2006 5:29 PM

forgot my password Opened another account but lost my addresses. Help, what can I do?

September 3, 2006 3:18 PM

i like to have my old mail

September 14, 2006 9:06 PM

I had an account for 15 yrs.with AOL.I had an extensive address book saved on the e-mail page.It was under CAN IT BE MOVED TO MY NEW ACCOUNT? I NEED it to reach friends and businessess. THANKS

jody fowler
September 19, 2006 2:58 PM

I would like to foreward my old mail to my new email address. how?

December 6, 2006 10:22 AM

i would like 2 forward my old mail 2 my new mail adress. how??

jefri gayheart
January 5, 2007 1:46 PM

My aol shut down last nite. I cancelled it but it said I could keep my addresses and info? How do I get that? AOL wont even work as a web browser??

February 4, 2007 12:22 PM

try, it can forward all email s for you.

February 21, 2007 2:05 AM

please i want to gainmy old mailback cos i have my account there

Shirley Derricote
March 21, 2007 11:39 AM

recently my old email address and all email messages were suddenly taken away without my consent. How do I get both of them back.? I do not want a new email address.How can I forward my old info. to my new information?

michael comerie
August 12, 2007 4:47 PM

try this website. they will help you to change your old email address to current email address..

October 30, 2007 10:58 AM

I couldn't log into my old account as it said I used the wrong e-mail address or password to many times. This happened the first time I tried and I suspect someone was trying to guess my password. Anyways, I got a new e-mail and want the original one back as it has all my contacts on it. I want the original one back with a new password. Can I do this??? thanks, Martie

November 1, 2007 4:14 PM

What steps do I take to retrieve my address book from hotmail and forward it to aol?

Leo A. Notenboom
November 1, 2007 9:09 PM

Hash: SHA1

I'm not aware of a way to do it automatically.


Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


chri Bay
December 6, 2007 6:43 PM

i need to recover or change my lost/forgotten password and answer to the security key question
Please Help

barbara lach
February 11, 2008 11:58 AM

yahoo posted an upgrade for email--when I accepted the upgrade, I lost all my folders and old email. How can I transfer all my records to the upgraded email?

louise hallett
March 19, 2008 4:06 PM

how do i retrieve email from aol?

July 1, 2008 10:08 AM

Domain ownership needs to renewed. This means you MUST remember to pay the fee. If you forget/ignore reminders, an energetic scoundrel can purchase ownership. Then, you gave to bargin with the "person" to regain what Was yours.

August 15, 2008 7:54 AM

The best way is to go into your address book or old saved emails and send your new email address to all the contacts you want to keep. Then be thankful that the spammers that were sending spam to your old address can no longer fill up your inbox. You can go to the but that only works if your contact goes to that site looking for you. It doesn't hurt to put your old info there, but remember that the spammers will look for you there also. At least you do get an email asking your permission to give your email to the person/company that is requesting your new email address information. I have been through this a few times, and it is not as bad as it seems at first.

June 20, 2009 12:01 AM

i had a email address from 2002 is there any way i can get in to it

October 15, 2009 12:22 AM

Having big problem in getting my old e-mail from I was canceled I have no land line, so now I have a new acct with called a dry loop NO land line req. The probem is I lost my Husband e-mail with verizon. But my old e-mail messages show up on the New Yahoo acct. How do we get the other e-mail link.? or in other words my husbands e-mail,The acct is in my user acct. HELP Thank You M.

my suggestion
October 26, 2009 12:46 PM

What I suggest is get an email address which is NOT tied to an ISP. I know with Gmail you can have outlook express or thunderbird as your reader, rather their proprietary web interface.

Right now I have a Gmail account and can access it from pretty much anywhere in the world. I don't have to worry if I move to across the country or across the world, (though I do remember an example of a friend studying abroad living in Dunedin, New Zealand who could only access New Zealand web sites, though that was back in 97 and probably not an issue now.) I can use it with pretty much any ISP, whereas if I moved to a place where I couldn't get Comcast, Charter, Verizon or even a dial-up ISP which didn't offer service is your area, you'd be SOL- can't use it anymore. This doesn't require you to own your own domain which can cost you money, it's free. I don't know what to do however, if you give up a free email service for some reason because you don't like it, in my case it has been because I've switched ISP's. Gmail works fine for me.

There is also which you can have forward your email to any email address. You can get a address and tell it where you want the mail sent.

Though, I just wish I had known this earlier. I have two accounts with email addresses and now I suppose I will HAVE to use a forwarding service to have them forwarded to my new address as I plan to replace them with Gmail addresses.

November 28, 2009 12:57 PM

i opened a new account with yahoo. i would like to get my old yahoo email trasferred or switched over to my new yahoo email. i would love to know what to do so i don't loose my mail.

Jerry Stevens
January 7, 2010 1:41 PM

Somehow I deleted my old e-mail address, trying just to delete Yahoo Groups and somehow I deleted my whole account. Is there aqnyway that I can retrieve my old e-mail addresses ? Thanks

Norma Watson
April 12, 2010 10:48 AM

I signed on with hotmail not knowing i would lose my previous e-mail address with all my contacts.

Barh Ricky Nyondy
April 22, 2010 7:18 PM

Sir, I registered my e-mail when I was in Nigeria, West Africa. It was [email address removed] In short to open my mail, [email address removed] then my password.Since then, I have never changed it. Recently, my credit finished as I connected to Optus broad band internet in Australia, it tooks few weeks before I recharged. To open my e-mail, I was closed and hard to open, this took me to beat around the bush till led me to Australian yahoo with different page. So, please, I need my old page and old e-mail as I maintain my password.Even though, I am now living in Australia.
Thank you to show me this page to complaint.

I wait to hear from you soon. You have sent me to [email address removed]. But I need my old e-mails, please.


Barh Ricky Nyondy

July 31, 2010 3:18 AM

I've got the same problem,please help me recover my old yahoo mail account.I have created a new yahoo account not knowing that I can't access my old email account.Thank you.

September 20, 2010 6:35 AM


Mark Ulmer
October 7, 2010 1:40 AM

My old address on facebook, was changed because i changed servers. My friends that i had on my old server didn't come with me when i changed to my new server. how do i bring my friends back

Francisco Arevalo
February 11, 2011 6:28 PM

I have an old E-mail address {email address removed}. I stopped using it some time ago (2008). Telcel was bought by Movistar.
Some people is sending messages to the old E-mail right now. Is it possible to recover them?
Thanks and Regards

chinyama mwananguluma
May 20, 2011 5:08 AM

i am not happy about this because i need to communicate with family and friends

August 16, 2011 7:00 AM

My first email address is ********* (compuserve)This is where most of my email goes to. Right now, compuserve charges me 4.95 a month for this email address. I no longer use compuserve to access the internet, and switched to verizon to connect to the internet. I also have a gmail address which is free. I want to drop compuserve all together and just use gmail. I need to make sure any mail that may still go to compuserve will forward to gmail. Right now I have it set up for everything that goes to c.serve to be forwarded to gmail, but as I said it is costing me 4.95 a month to do so. Until I can notify everyone of my switch to the gmail address, how can I get any last emails that may happen to go to the c.serve address once I drop c.serve?

You have to keep paying for it to keep it active. More here: Is there a way to keep my email address when I change my ISP?

Donald McDonald
December 2, 2011 1:49 PM

my old email address was locked dont know why cant access,old address can you tell me how to get my information pictures and was a yahoo address

Wayne Talmadge
December 2, 2011 4:58 PM

This article, already on Ask Leo! has some good ideas for
recovering accounts.
Recover email account

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