The computer helper: Check your e-mail from work or home
By Jay Dougherty Jan 27, 2007, 10:38 GMT
Washington - For many people today, there's personal e-mail, and then there's e-mail that you use while at work.
Combining the two would be convenient, but it's often not possible - at least in obvious ways.
As companies have clamped down on the use of their e-mail system for any personal use, employees who must legitimately check their personal e-mail are left looking for solutions. The same goes for those who want to check work e-mail from home.
Q: I used to use Outlook Express to read my personal e-mail while at work and Outlook for my corporate e-mail. My company has closed down the ability for folks to check their personal e-mail, however, citing concerns over incoming viruses. Is there another way to check my personal accounts?
A: If you have access to a Web browser, you can use Mail2Web.com (http://www.mail2Web.com), which for about a decade now has been providing users Web access to their POP-based e-mail accounts. To use the free service, all you do is go to the Mail2Web site, type in your e-mail address and the password associated with it, and click Check Mail.
Web2Mail will show you the subject lines of the e-mail messages waiting for you. To see a particular message, you just click a subject line, and you're then taken to a screen that allows you to read and respond to the message.
The only trouble with Web2Mail is that the service can be slow during periods of peak usage or if you have a lot of e-mail messages waiting for you. So an alternative would be to check with your e-mail service provider to find out what type of Web-based system they offer for checking e-mail.
Most service providers today offer Web access to your e-mail as well as POP access, which requires a program such as Outlook or Eudora. Large e-mail providers will have their own branded WebMail site. Smaller providers offer a wide range of applications used to provide Web access to your e-mail, including Squirrel Mail (http://www.squirrelmail.org), Horde (http://www.horde.org), and RoundCube (http://www.roundcube.net).
Q: I'm about to take a two-week vacation and need a way to check my work e-mail from the road. Is that possible through the Web?
A: It won't be unless your network administrators allow you to do it and the network is set up to permit external access, either by modem or direct Internet access.
Most office environments these days do provide some type of Web- based system for checking e-mail from the road. Web access is a standard feature of virtually all e-mail servers today, so the functionality is there. It's just a matter of whether access is allowed. If it is, there's likely to be instructions available from your IT department at work.
Q: If I check my e-mail using a Web browser, will it still be available for me to retrieve from home or work?
A: Yes, if you want it to be. By default, Web-based e-mail systems do not remove the messages you view from the server computers on which the mail is stored, but there will be an option for you to delete the messages permanently if you wish to. Simply viewing a message, however, will not mean that you cannot later retrieve it into your Outlook, Eudora, or other e-mail program.
Q: If I check my mail using a Web browser, is my computer less vulnerable to viruses?
A: Not necessarily. The computer from which you browse your e-mail - no matter how you browse it - can become infected with a virus if you perform any of the actions that typically cause people to contract computer viruses from e-mail. These actions include clicking a link embedded in an e-mail, opening a program to which a link leads, or downloading a virus-carrying e-mail attachment.
In short, you should exercise the same caution when reading e-mail through a Web browser that you do when using your e-mail program from work or home.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur