Tackling e-mail troubles
Aug 9, 2008, 12:08 GMT
Washington - Most of us rely upon e-mail every day to get our jobs done. That's why almost every e-mail problem is an urgent one. If we can't solve it, our work stops. So it's important to know how to troubleshoot common problems with e-mail, even if you're not having a problem now.
Q: When I click on an e-mail link in a Web browser, I get an error message that says the e-mail program is not properly configured. How do I fix this?
A: Normally, any e-mail link that you click on a Web page will automatically open the default e-mail program configured in your computer. Sometimes, through installing applications were changing settings, however, the default e-mail program configuration can be lost. When that happens, you'll get the error message that you received when you click an e-mail link.
Luckily, the fix is usually pretty simple. Go to the Windows Control Panel, and open the Internet Options panel. You can also get to this panel by opening Internet Explorer and choosing Internet Options from the Tools menu.
From within the Internet Options dialog box, select the Programs tab. There, you'll see a series of drop-down list boxes that allow you to configure the default programs use to handle a number of actions that you will require on the Internet, including e-mail. From the E-mail drop-down list box, select the e-mail program that you wish to use as your default. Click OK, and your problem should be solved.
Q: I use Outlook 2003 at work and recently installed it at home. On my home machine, when I click New Mail Message it takes a very long time to open the new message window. At work I get the new message window almost instantaneously. Do you know why Outlook on my home machine takes so long?
A: Let's assume that your home machine has plenty of memory (RAM) and that it's not being overtaxed by other open programs when you attempt to compose a new e-mail message. Let's also assume that you've run an antivirus and anti-spyware scan and have determined that your computer is not infected with any malware.
If these assumptions are correct, the most likely cause is that the copy of Outlook you have at home is using Microsoft Word as its message composition application rather than the message composer that comes with Outlook. You can configure Outlook to use either editor, and it's probable that your home version of Outlook was configured to start Word each time you start an e-mail message. Because it takes longer to load Word than it does to open Outlook's built-in editor, you're having to wait longer than you'd like just to write an e-mail message.
Here's how to tell whether your copy of Outlook is using Word - and how to tell it not to. Open Outlook's Tools menu, and click Options. In the resulting Options dialogue box, select the Mail Format tab. In the Message Format area of this tab, you'll see options for using Microsoft Word to edit your e-mail messages. Remove the check mark next to those boxes, and then click OK. You should see a noticeable improvement in editing speed.
Q: Sometimes when I click Send/Receive to send and receive e-mail messages, the process of sending and receiving starts and then aborts or hangs before any messages go out or come in. Why is this?
A: Problems with sending and receiving such as the one you describe almost always have to do with your service provider's e-mail servers. This assumes, however, that you have set up your e-mail correctly and that you have sent and received e-mail messages successfully in the past.
If you're sure that your e-mail is set up properly, a call to your service provider is probably in order. From your service provider's side, there are two types of servers involved in routing e-mail - one that handles incoming mail and another that handles outgoing mail. If there's an issue with either one of these, your e-mail program will not be able to complete the send/receive process correctly. If you can afford simply to wait, doing so may give the service provider time to correct the problem on its own.
Q: Why can't I download attachments using Outlook?
A: Normally, you can. If you cannot, it's probably because Outlook's security settings are blocking attachments. Most e-mail programs - Outlook or not - can automatically block attachments. Typically you can adjust this setting by looking in the Security section of your Options panel.
In Outlook, open the Tools menu and select Options. From the Options dialog box, select the Security tab. From the Download Pictures section, click the Change Automatic Download Settings button and change the settings in the resulting dialog box.
--- Have a computer question? Send it to the Computer Helper at firstname.lastname@example.org.