Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Best practices, common problems and issues, including tips and tricks to using email more effectively.

Can I block email from certain sites?

Most email programs and services allow you to block, or at least divert, email from specific senders and domains. I'll look at a few techniques.

Can I prevent something from being forwarded by adding a legal statement to my message?

Ultimately, I think the best thing to do is realize that it can be forwarded, regardless of what technology you use.

Can I set my email to be spell checked with word perfect or another program?

Does forwarding email introduce risk?

Forwarding email from one account doesn't add major technical risk, but there are issues that doing so can introduce, and cause IT admins concern.

Does having lots of email slow down my computer?

I'm regularly asked if having a lot of email has an adverse affect on overall computer performance. Not really, but there are things to be aware of.

How can I archive email that uses remote content?

HTML email can use elements fetched from remote servers at display time. If those elements are removed from the server they disappear from your email.

How can I see all emails from a specific person grouped together?

You can group emails, in most email programs, by using the column headers. It may take two clicks to get it in the order you want.

How can I tell if my email has been blocked?

Email usually works, but it can fail to arrive for a number of reasons. Being blocked is only one. It's nearly impossible to tell which has happened.

How do I access my email remotely, from more than one place?

There are several options to accessing email, but they all have various tradeoffs depending on how you like to work with your email. We'll compare.

How do I control the names displayed in my inbox?

The name displayed along with an email address - the display name - is easy to change for email you send. For email you receive? Not so much.

How do I display the full list of recipients in my Sent email?

Exactly how you go about displaying recipients depends dramatically on what specific email service you happen to be using.

How do I find the list of BCC'ed recipients in outgoing email?

BCC'ed recipients are not visible to the other recipients. But if you're the sender you probably see the BCC line on messages you've sent.

How do I get "Send To" to work with Hotmail? Or Gmail? Or some other web-based email?

In the past, it was possible to configure web-based email services like Hotmail or Gmail as the default email program. From what I can see, that's no more.

How do I get .zip attachments out of the .eml files that I get mailed to me?

Whoever is sending this email message to you seems to be doing it in a way that is making this unnecessarily difficult.

How do I get my name, title and other information to show at the bottom of every message I send?

How do I get outgoing mail to display "Undisclosed-Recipients:;" in the TO field?

"Undisclosed-Recipients" may be placed in the To: field by mail programs or ISPs if the To: field is empty. It's not standard and not in your control.

How do I make a URL clickable in email?

Clickable links in emails are often created automatically by the receiver's email program. They can also be manually created in rich text emails.

How do I make links in documents attached to email clickable?

If links in attached documents aren't clickable it's because the program you are opening them in is not making them clickable. It's not your email program.

How do I move all emails of a certain year to a folder?

Moving emails to a folder for storage depends on which email program you are using. First you sort them...

How do I move my Windows Live Hotmail account from one computer to another?

It's not uncommon to want to move your email access from an old to a new computer. Web mail is easy, but there are things to watch for.

How do I post a long link in email?

Long URLs or Links can cause problems when sent in email programs, since many email programs try to be helpful by forcing text to fit a fixed width.

How do I print a list of emails from my email program?

At this point, I don't have an answer for you other than it can't really be done - at least not easily.

How do I remove the sender's address before forwarding an email?

Removing information from an email you forward is as simple as editing the message prior to hitting send. And yet, sometimes not quite that easy.

How do I safely use a free email account?

Email account theft is rampant. This answer reviews the fairly simple steps and habits you can use to avoid losing your account and the data within it.

How do I save email when using Yahoo, GMail or Hotmail webmail?

To save mail from a webmail service you need to download it to your machine. Not all webmail services make saving email easy, so we improvise.

How do I see the "Undisclosed recipients" on an email I sent?

Undisclosed recipients may be available in the headers of the sent email, or it may be hidden.

How do I send a link in email?

Sending a link in email isn't that difficult, but guaranteeing that everyone who gets it can just click on it is impossible.

How do I send email to a lot of people at once?

It's very tempting to build a group or list in your email program to send mail to them all at once. But if the group is big, it probably won't work.

How do I send mail from my mail forwarded address?

It's easy to forward one email address to your real email account, but sending email to look like it came from that forwarded address isn't as obvious.

How do I send periodic email to a large number of people?

Because of spam, sending email newsletters and other large quantities of email requires serious consideration, and in many cases, professional help.

How do I set up an Out Of Office (OOF) message?

Out Of Office or OOF messages are considered by many important to let people know when you're away from email. Setting one up properly is difficult.

How do I stop this auto play audio from playing after I delete the email message that had it?

A media player, such as Windows Media Player, is probably playing in the background. The trick is switching over to that program and shutting it down.

How do I use a URL broken by my email program?

Occasionally, long URLs sent in email are broken to fit some maximum line length. I'll review one way to reconstruct the URL so it works.

How do you put your signature at the end of every newsletter?

The "handwritten" signature at the end of each Ask Leo! newsletter is nothing more than a picture of a signature inserted into the email.

How long does Hotmail keep email?

Hotmail will keep your email for quite a while as long as you access it periodically. And if nothing goes wrong. Then you may have problems.

How long should email take to be delivered?

Email is typically very quick, but there are several reasons that email can be legitimately be delayed, for hours or perhaps even days.

How many copies are made when I email a picture?

Computers are great at making copies of data, and that's very true when you send a message. Two, three or even more copies, some temporary, may result.

How should I save my old emailed love letters?

Archiving email of any form is an exercise involving file formats, the flexibility of your email program, and even a prediction about the future.

I closed my email account, but people are still getting email from it. Why?

Closing an email account seems like a logical solution to an account getting hacked, but unfortunately it doesn't address all the possible issues.

I sent an email to an invalid email address, what can I do? Will it be read by someone?

People often send email to the wrong address by mistake. But what happens if the email address is invalid? There's no way to know what happens next.

Is plain text email safer?

HTML email can include embedded malware, plain text cannot. So just how risky is HTML formatted email?

Is there a way to bulk erase emails?

Bulk erasing emails can be done in several ways depending on what type of program you are using to read your email.

Is there a way to easily open email that's been forwarded multiple times as attachments?

A lot of forwarded email is forwarded as an attachment. When forwarded multiple times, each as an attachment, opening the original can be difficult.

Is this an email hoax? Will forwarding an email help a dying child?

We've all get emails asking us to forward the email so that some entity will make a donation to some cause. Don't. Just don't. It's an email hoax.

Is webmail faster than downloading with POP3 over dialup?

Dialup users are frequently challenged with large emails taking forever to download. Webmail might help, but not consistently.

My contact list is getting spam from me, what do I do?

If your contacts suddenly report getting email from you that's not from you, you need to act quickly; you may have lost access to your account.

Somebody knows my IP address and is sending bad emails. Can you help me close my account?

Email is not sent to an IP address, it is sent to an email address. I explore how to close a Yahoo account, and why that is unlikely to help in the long run.

Someone's stolen my email account and is scamming my contacts for money, what do I do?

If your contacts suddenly get email from "you" claiming your overseas and in desperate need of funds to get home - your account has been hacked.

What are all these other pictures that appear when I view a picture from email?

Viewing a picture from email causes the email program to place that image on your hard disk, along side other pictures from other places.

What are all these other pictures when I view emailed photos?

When viewing photos emailed as attachments your image viewer may also show you lots of other images as well. It's all about where things are on disk.

What are the pros and cons of web-based email over desktop email?

Web based and downloaded email both have significant advantages, and disadvantages, to managing email. Which is right for you depends on many things.

What are these blue lines on the left of my email?

Email programs will often automatically include the text of the original in a reply, and format it slightly differently. Some use blue bars.

What does "mailbox unavailable" mean?

Mailbox unavailable is a common message in returned email or "bounces" that actually says very little other than that the email could not be delivered.

What does 'Mail policy violation Partial MIME Blocked' mean?

'Mail policy violation Partial MIME Blocked' is apparently related to Symantec Anti-Virus rules.

What does it mean to "hover over" a link to check it's validity?

When it comes to links on web pages and HTML mail, what you see is not always where you go. Hovering over a link is one way to look before you leap.

What is IMAP? And how can it help me manage my email?

IMAP is a different protocol that your email program may be able to use to access your email. The most obvious difference is that it makes reading your email on multiple devices easier, but there's definitely more to it.

What is an email quota and what does "over quota" mean?

Being over quota means you've received or kept too much email. Dealing with an email quote means understanding just where that email is being kept.

What's the best way for a non-profit group to interact online?

Getting a group, any group, to interact effectively online can be a challenge. Sometimes it's a technology issue, but more often than not ... it's not.

What's the best way to archive an email newsletter I receive?

Organize email by using folders - and if you're feeling motivated, see about setting up rules to transfer email to the folder automatically.

What's wrong with an email "blast"?

Words matter, and the word "blast" when used to describe an email mailing implies something significantly less than respect for your recipients.

What's wrong with scanning email in real time?

Scanning your email for malware in real time as it downloads to your machine sounds like a great idea - until you start losing email.

Where did my edited attachment go?

You get an email with an attachment, you edit the attachment and your work disappears. Why that happens, and how to work around it.

Why am I getting a delay notification on an email I sent?

Email can be delayed for many reasons; it's the nature of the email infrastructure. If your message is delayed, your options are limited.

Why am I getting some "Passport" login screen when I click on a "contact us" link?

Web page mail links start the default mail program. If that's Hotmail you'll need to login. If you don't use Hotmail, you'll need to do something else.

Why are blank messages showing up in my Hotmail Drafts folder?

Blank messages in your drafts folder don't necessarily indicate a hacker. There could be a less nefarious explanation.

Why are email addresses sometimes in angle-brackets?

Email addresses were meant for computers to use to route email. Angle brackets are used when a more human-readable name accompanies the email address.

Why are emailed attachments larger than the original file?

Email attachments are always larger than the original file being attached. I'll look at why, how it works, and why it matters.

Why are emails I send with attachments not being delivered?

Emailing attachments, particularly large files, is getting more and more difficult as ISPs limit size and scan for spam and viruses.

Why are pictures I email arriving blurrier than what I sent?

Email pictures could be arriving blurry if your sending function is resizing them. We'll take a few steps to track down the culprit.

Why are there limits to attachment sizes in some places and not others?

Email providers often place limits on the size of emails and attachments you can send. We'll look at why, and where those limitations are placed.

Why did my mail get sent to my friends old email address?

Sometimes updating your address book isn't enough to flush an old email address from your email program. We'll look at what else might be a factor.

Why do some emails that I forward get stuck in my outbox?

My guess is that your email provider has some kind of a size limit that is preventing large emails from being sent.

Why do vertical bars appear on the left of some emails I send?

When replying to email, many programs will include the original text with some indication that it is the original. We'll look at configuring that.

Why does email arrive sooner at one ISP than another?

There are so many reasons for email to travel at different speeds across servers. It's not unusual and it's really not something to worry about.

Why does email get lost?

Sometimes when you send email you never hear from it again. While once we could count on it being delivered or getting a bounce, that's no longer true.

Why does mail to me bounce with "mailbox full" only if it's over 1 megabyte?

If email sent to you bounces with a mailbox full message, it typically means just that. Make sure the steps you take to clear it actually do.

Why does my HTML email look different to the recipient than it does to me?

HTML email is often used to make email visually appealing. Unfortunately HTML email often does the opposite depending on the recipient's email program.

Why does my email program think that this message might be a scam?

Occasionally, security software examines links in email and alerts you if something is suspicious. Frequently, as in my newsletter, it's totally benign.

Why don't email filtering rules work in my browser?

Many email services have the ability to set up rules to filter out unwanted emails. There are many different ways to do it.

Why is this link not clickable when others are?

If an email program sees something that looks like a link, it will add code to underline it and make it clickable. Sometimes, that doesn't work perfectly.

Will Outlook XP Work in Windows 8?

Upgrading XP to Windows 8 should not require you to change your email service or programs, unless you are currently using Outlook Express.

Will adding a bogus entry to my address book stop viruses from emailing?

There's an email floating around that says you can prevent email viruses by adding a bogus entry to your address book. Uh ... no.