When away from your trusted machine, there are several ways with which you can access email from another computer. Unless you have a really “weird” email service, one of these will surely work for you.
However, one small piece of advice: when using a different computer remember to clean up all traces of your online activity else important information may be retrieved by determined hackers – delete the browser cache.
Depending on the type of email account you hold, accessing messages from another computer may be a simple affair or quite convoluted. Let me now list out the different types of email accounts and how they can be opened from any computer at any location – the only requirement is an active internet connection.
The beauty of web based email accounts is that they can be accessed from another computer with just the web browser program. Whether the computer runs the popular Windows operating system or an uncommon one, all machines have a browser installed.
Start the program, visit the login (home) page of the email service by entering in the web address (URL), sign in with your username and password and get to your email account. All your messages will be available immediately, unless you have downloaded them to your computer and removed the copies from the server. This great convenience – availability of email from any computer at any location – is the main reason for the great popularity of web based email accounts. Read about the advantages of webmail.
Companies that provide email services generally let you access messages in different ways. In most cases, the web browser program is all you need in addition to an active internet connection, of course. As with web based email services discussed above, email accounts from your ISP or those created on your web site can be opened in the web browser program. The GUI provided by the companies loads in the browser and with it you can manage your account.
Typically, the homepage of your internet service provider (ISP) will have a login section in which you enter the username and password. If you can’t find the sign in fields, hunt for an equivalent link. The email accounts on your personal or company web site can be accessed through a browser with similar kind of interface. However, you would have to know the web address (URL) which in many cases is www.your-domain-name.com/webmail. When in doubt, contact the ISP or the web host for details.
Another easy way to access your email account from another computer is with free online services like mail2.web.com, mailreader.com, e-mailanywhere.com etc. The two questions you should ask are: how do these services work and is it safe to transfer sensitive information (login details) via them?
These “check-your-email-anywhere” services let you access your account through a GUI that runs from a browser window quite like a standard web based email account. Because of the different types of email accounts in with world, the login process might require you to provide additional information such as incoming and outgoing server details.
For instance, I have used Mail2web.com on a few occasions and have found it pretty good. With their advanced login page, you can access virtually any kind of email account as long as its IMAP or POP enabled. This company also provided mobile email service. In fact, if you are frequently away from computer, web sites like mail2web.com are a great way to access your email.
This is a very different issue – wanting to access email that resides on your computer’s hard disk from another machine. Firstly, if a copy of the message exists on the web server, you can get hold of it through web based services like mail2web.com (refer above). But if the email has been removed from the online computer, there is little hope of you accessing it. A couple of suggestions – ask someone to send it to an alternate email account which you can check online or use remote access software that lets you connect to your computer from another. FYI, the latter option is possible only if you can install the software on the other system – check out the list of companies that provide software which lets you access your computer from anywhere.
Continuing what I mentioned at the beginning, accessing email from another computer has one major pitfall – if you are not careful, it can jeopardize your account. The other computer might have viruses, worms or keyloggers that can capture your login information (username and passwords). The notorious keylogger programs grab hold of each key press and then transmit the same to “bad people”. As you can understand, it would be very easy for such programs to find the username and password of a particular web service if they are entered via the key board.
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