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How do I download Windows email using free email programs?

How do I download Windows email using free email programs?

This article provides instructions on how to download windows email using free programs called email clients. If you use Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail or an email address provided by your ISP, you don’t need to use a web browser to sign in to the respective service and check your email.

You can quickly setup and configure the account in a “dedicated” email program to receive and store messages on your Windows computer! In additional to email management, popular email programs can also serve as RSS and news clients. They may also include a calendar feature.

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Where can you get such a program to download Windows email?

Good news! All Windows users have a preinstalled email program. For example, there is Outlook Express on Windows XP or Windows Mail on Vista. The latest free email program from Microsoft is called Windows Live Mail and you can download and install it in a few minutes. MS Outlook is another famous email program from the company. It is not free, though, and comes with the MS Office package or as a separate download.

The people who gave us Firefox also developed a very neat email client known as Thunderbird. It’s free just like the Firefox browser and can be obtained from the Mozilla web site.

Advantages of downloading email to your Windows computer

Oh, there are several advantages… in fact, once you start using an email program you’ll wonder how you could live without one and probably never go back to the web based interface.

  • Once you download the emails to your computer there are available to you always – even without an active internet connection.
  • Storing email on your computer’s hard drive lets you maintain a copy and you can choose to delete the messages on the server. There is no fear of losing important correspondences as long as you create a backup of the emails. FYI, you can actually have two copies of all email messages – one on your computer and one on the online server.
  • Maintaining an additional copy also means that your messages are protected from accidental deletions and account hacking.
  • Try as hard as they may, all online email services can become inaccessible from time to time. Server outages or maintenance can leave the users stranded. However, once you have the emails on your Windows computer, they are immediately available. Though you may not be able to connect to the service to check for new email, you at least have access to all old messages.
  • You can configure the email program to download emails after a set period of time, say about 15 minutes. Email messages are downloaded to your Windows computer automatically.
  • With an email program you can collect messages from multiple accounts on your computer. You don’t waste time checking each service individually!

So how can you download email to Windows computers?

Depending on the email service and the program you choose to employ for downloading Windows email, the settings will vary but the basic steps are the same. Also, there are many email protocols and we shall be using POP (the Post Office Protocol). Don’t worry if this sounds confusing because all you need are the following:

  • An email client or email program installed on your Windows system: In addition to the one that comes with the operating system, there are many email programs available for Windows. For example, Thunderbird from Mozilla is a stable and completely free software that one can download and install on Windows. There is also the cross-platform Zimbra Desktop from Yahoo! that can help you download email from different accounts including Yahoo!
  • The POP settings for the email account: The POP settings for Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail are well known (simply search this web site or the web). However, for email accounts provided by your ISP I suggest you contact them or (better) check the FAQ pages on their web site.

Once you have the required POP settings, start your email program and add in the new email account. Please refer the following links:

Gmail users

Gmail accounts can be configured in all popular Windows email programs including Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird etc.

Hotmail users

Hotmail has only recently announced free POP access. This is not available to all users at the time of writing. Read free Hotmail POP access for details. Also check Hotmail POP settings article.

Yahoo! Mail users

Unfortunately, the free Yahoo! Mail accounts are not POP enabled. You need to pay about $20 yearly for it. This is a small amount if you are a prolific user of Yahoo! Mail and have been maintaining your account since a long time.
Update: To download Yahoo! mail without upgrading to Plus, use the Yahoo! Zimbra desktop email program.

ISP email account users

Please contact your Internet service Provider (ISP) for the POP settings of your email account. A couple of pieces of advice – if the ISP does not allow POP email access you should consider ditching them. Else you can ask for email forwarding instructions and have all messages coming to your ISP email ID forwarded to your Gmail account. Do I hear you saying that you don’t have a Gmail account? No problem! Refer how to create a Gmail account and get a Gmail email address for step by step instructions with screenshots.

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