Where’d That E-Mail Go?

In a recent discussion, a customer who has never sent or received an email was confused about how email can be sent to a Yahoo address from a Hotmail address, and vice versa. Another was confused trying to sell something through an online retailer service without having a computer to get the reply on, and yet another was confused about being able to check emails from a public computer in the library and download the same message in followed home.

While the diagrams would be great, here’s a brief explanation of how email works in enough detail to be able to help the people above and hopefully clear up any confusion you may have had on your own.

First, an email address is required to send or receive emails. Think of this as a post office box where email can be delivered and await your reading or retrieval. This address is also commonly entered in any e-mail sent, so that the recipient can recognize the sender and respond easily. Email addresses can be obtained from many sources. Free services like Yahoo and MSN are very popular because, well, they’re free and will store thousands of messages, both unread and those you’ve read but decided to leave there for later. You don’t even have to own a computer, but we’ll get back to that in a minute.

If you have a telephone line or CATV, the provider of that service will be more than happy to subscribe to a monthly Internet connection as an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and include a handful of email addresses customized for you in the process. You are now on the map with youremailaddress@yourisp.net. Next you need to connect to the Internet site provided by your ISP for using e-mail, where you will find a screen that offers e-mail functions such as sending, receiving, organizing, replying and deleting. With this connection you can compose a letter using the ISP’s email application and it will send a copy of that letter to the specified email address; any legitimate email address. Conversely, anyone with your email address can send you an email and a copy will be kept in your “mailbox” on the ISP’s server (computer) until you delete it or download it as described below.Cambridgewildlife.ca

Most PCs come pre-loaded with resident applications like Microsoft Outlook Express to help you organize your email activities. These programs may receive instructions to automatically check your “inbox” at your ISP and / or other email provider and download the messages to your computer. Once “delivered”, the resident email application can archive the message in the set folders, reply, delete and a number of other functions depending on the program and customized settings. These programs will also handle multiple email addresses and accounts providing a convenient way to automatically check all of your inboxes from one computer. In most cases, once an email is downloaded this way, it is deleted from the list of available messages in the ISP’s inbox, but unlike traditional mail it actually moves from one place to another. other, the mail is copied from one place to another. The original remains on your computer, in the file sent, or on your ISP’s server. The recipient’s ISP stores a copy and, if the recipient downloads it to their computer, it is copied again. Some or all copies remain, depending on your system settings, until you complete a specific action to delete them.

This copying and forwarding process makes it possible to send and receive e-mail from public computers and adds convenience for those who are temporarily away from their own.