Unlike Yahoo, all AOL accounts are POP3 and IMAP enabled for free which means you can download email to your computer with the help of an email program and, most likely there is one already installed on your computer.
Not sure about this? No need to fret. Your computer or mobile phone/tablet already has an email program which you can employ to download messages from the AOL account. And if you plan to access the account from more than one device, I strongly suggest you use the IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol).
Here is a reference list of the built-in default email programs on popular operating systems.
|Operating system||Email program|
|Windows XP||Outlook Express|
|Windows Vista||Windows Mail|
|Windows 7||Windows Live Mail: This email client may come pre-installed on Win 7 and is listed in “Windows Live” section under “Programs“. If not available, download Windows Live Mail for free.|
|Apple||Apple Mail, Eudora, Entourage|
Note #1: Microsoft recommends that all XP and Vista users get Windows Live Mail instead of using the default email client of their respective operating system because development for both Outlook Express and Windows Mail has been discontinued. For instance, you can comfortably use Windows Live Mail on XP along with the pre-existing Outlook Express.
Note #2: Thunderbird, the free email program from Mozilla, will also work on most operating systems. It’s the best choice if you want to move away from Microsoft products.
Note #3: Outlook, the “big-brother” of Outlook Express, is a full-fledged email program from Microsoft. It costs about $140.
All programs mentioned above will be able to download AOL email. Actually, any email client will work as long as it has POP3 and IMAP support.
POP3 and IMAP are email protocols. They help the email program connect to the AOL server and download messages to your computer. SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is responsible for sending out messages.
No need to be ‘frightened’ of these techie sounding words as the process of downloading AOL email messages entails minimal efforts from your side. All that’s required is to set up the AOL account in your chosen email program, which is quite simple too. Please refer the following links for step by step instructions and screenshots.
Once email from the AOL account has been downloaded to your computer, it is accessible even without a live Internet connection. This is just one of the advantages of using an email program like Outlook Express. And now that AOL offers unlimited storage space, you can have copies of messages on both the online server (access this via webmail) as well as on your local machine.
You may also like to know the AOL incoming and outgoing mail server details:
Note: #4: As mentioned above, you can download AOL email to your computer using either POP3 or IMAP. The choice is entirely up to you. POP may be the more ‘POPular’ option (bad pun, I know), but IMAP is definitely a wiser choice if you plan to access the email account from one than one device.
Confused? Read the differences between POP3 and IMAP.
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