12.2. Setting Up Outlook Express
It never hurts to set up Outlook Express, Windows XP's free email program, even if you're considering switching to an alternative, like Thunderbird or Eudora. Those applications, and most other email programs, automatically set themselves up by consulting your Outlook Express account information, saving you from the hassles of manual configuration.
To get started, fire up Outlook Express right from your PC's Start menu; if it's not listed, choose Start All Programs Outlook Express. The program doesnt always hop straight onto the screen, though. When you load Outlook Express for the first time, the Internet Connection wizard asks you for the following information. Click Next after you've answered each question.
Your Name .
Enter your real name here ( assuming you want your recipients to know it). When you send email, this name appears in your message's From: field, and, with some email programs, automatically winds up in the recipient's address book.
Internet E-mail Address .
Your ISP let you choose this address when you signed up. It's probably something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-mail Server Names .
These are the most confusing settings to enter (see Figure 12-4, top). This screen is where you indicate what type of mail server your ISP uses and what the address is of the servers that send (Outgoing) and receive (Incoming) your mail. (See the "The DIRT on POP, IMAP, and SMTP" box on Section 12.1.4 for details on your different choices.)
Type . If you're using a POP3 server, like most people, leave the "My incoming mail server" drop-down menu alone. If you're using IMAP, choose that setting from the drop-down menu.
Server name . Your Incoming mail server is usually named something like pop.cox.net . Your Outgoing mail server is usually named something like smtp.cox.net . Some ISPs toss in a region like pop.central.cox.net . Make sure you know the exact wording to choose here, or you won't be able to send or receive mail.
If you don't know the server names, check the sign-up papers you received from your ISP. Most ISPs also list this information on their Web sites in the Frequently Asked Questions area, or in the Customer Service area under "mail setup," "POP access," or "server names."
Internet Mail Logon .
Here's where you enter your email account name and password, as shown in the bottom of Figure 12-4.
Account name . Here, you enter only the portion of your email address that occurs before the @ sign: davidcopperfield without the @cox.net part. Either you chose this name or your ISP assigned it to you when you signed up for your Internet account (Section 11.3.1).
Password . Your email account password is almost always the same password you use if you log onto your ISP's Web site to check out your account information.
Even though you'll be entering a password here, don't turn on "Log on using Secure Password Authentication (SPA)" unless your ISP specifically tells you to.
When you're through, the wizard leaves you at the Outlook Express main screen, shown earlier in Figure 12-1.
Should you ever need to change your settings, or check to make sure they match your ISP's requirements, view the settings by clicking Tools Options and then double-clicking your accounts name.
Figure 12-4. These two windows are where you inform Outlook Express of key email account settings.
Top: Leave the top drop-down menu set to POP3 unless you know that your ISP uses the IMAP mail-server system (see the box on Section 12.1.4 for more details). Then carefully enter the names of the incoming mail server and outgoing mail server as provided to you by your ISP. A single typo will keep your program from fetching your email.
Bottom: Enter your account name and password here. Be sure to turn on the "Remember password" checkbox. If it's turned off, Outlook Express asks for your password every time it checks for waiting maila good thing if you're extremely security conscious, but a needless hassle otherwise .
Note: Whenever you open Outlook Express (and most other email programs, for that matter) the program automatically connects to the Internet to check for new messages. Although this convenience brings in your mail quickly, it's sometimes a bother for people with dial-up connections who simply want to open Outlook Express to check out an old email. To keep Outlook Express from logging on each time you open it, choose Tools Options General tab and then turn off the checkbox marked , "Send and receive messages at startup." Then, when you want to check for new email in Outlook Express, choose Tools Send and Receive Send and Receive All.
My ISP normally sends my email to Outlook Express, but also lets me read it on the Web when I'm traveling. But whenever I try to read my email on the ISP's Web site, the page says my inbox is empty. What gives ?
When somebody sends you email, its first stop is at your ISP's mail server (Section 12.2), where it lounges comfortably, waiting for Outlook Express (or whatever email program you're using) to fetch it. When you, sitting at your PC, dispatch Outlook Express to retrieve your mail, the program copies the mail to your PC, and then deletes it from the server.
If you're like most people, you've probably set up Outlook Express to check your email automatically every few minutes. So, your PC is obeying orders: it's grabbing each piece of mail, dropping it into your Outlook Express Inbox, and deleting the copy from the mail serverleaving nothing for you to read from the ISP's Web site while traveling.
The cure is to stop Outlook Express from automatically collecting your email when you're away from your PC. To do so, choose Tools Options General tab and then turn off "Check for new messages every XX minutes." That keeps your email on your ISPs mail serverwhere you can read it while travelinguntil the next time you fire up Outlook Express and click the Send/Recv icon.
Another solution is to keep your PC turned off when you're away from home, which keeps Outlook Express from grabbing your email before you do.