Changing Email Providers

Dear Computer Lady,

I have an e-mail account with one provider but I am finding things I do not like about it and would like to go with another provider for a free e-mail account. Before cancelling or making any change what should I be aware of?
Will I be able to save or retain any of my old e-mails? (some have attachments/pictures I refer to) Will the old email provider forward any new e-mails to the new provider? If so, for how long? Should I be absolutely sure that any accounts I have out there with the old provider are sufficiently changed to the new e-mail provider name before cancelling the old e-mail service?

Thanks for your input!!


Dear Carol,

There are actually a lot of things you should consider before cancelling your old email address!

First, let me say that I use Gmail to read and send my email, however, I still have and use several email addresses from a couple of different sources.

Next, you want to consider that when you have problems with email from your internet provider, you can call and talk with their tech support and get your problem resolved. However, when you have problems with your free email account, there is not a support system in place that you can call and get help with. You get what you pay for. 🙂

Because of the lack of support with free email addresses, you need to put some safeguards in place. I have two options in place. One is a backup email address with my provider. That way, if I get locked out of my Gmail account, I can reset the password using the backup email address. My second safeguard is a cell phone number. You can get into your account with a code sent by text to your cell phone.

Your other questions about saving or forwarding messages from your old account depend on where the emails are stored and how you access them. If they are stored on your computer in an email program, you will be able to keep them. If they are stored on your provider’s server, you will lose access to them when you close the account. You could always forward the messages you want to keep to your new email address. Your provider won’t do this for you, but you can do it, one message at a time.

Lastly, you will have to be sure that you change the email address on all your accounts before you close the old one. Many places require you have access to both accounts in order to change from one to the other.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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