Email on 2 Computers

Dear Computer Lady,

I have subscribed to your email for many years and have gained much information. Thank you.

I have two computers in the house. A desk top and a lap top. I access my Outlook from the desk top but would like to gain access on the laptop also. I can set it up but do not receive emails. Is it possible to access the same account on both computers? I know if it can be done, you will know how.

Thanks, Cheryl


Dear Cheryl,

It is possible to access the same email account from more than one computer. The trick is that you need to set up both computers to leave the mail on the server long enough for each computer to be able to access the email.

If that sounds like technical computer talk, let me do a little explaining.

If I am going to send an email message to you, when I click “Send” my message leaves my computer, and goes through a computer at my ISP (Internet Service Provider). My ISP has a program on their computer called an Outgoing Mail Server. This program sends the message to a program on a computer at your ISP called the Incoming Mail Server.

The incoming mail server at your ISP puts my message in a folder on the computer, this folder is often referred to as your mailbox. When you turn your computer on, and check your email, your computer copies the message from the “mailbox” folder and then deletes the messages from the mailbox, leaving an empty mailbox folder on the ISPs computer.

The fact that the folder is emptied when you check your mail is the reason why you get emails on one computer, but not the other.

You can, however change a couple of settings in Outlook Express that will leave your messages in the mailbox for a specified amount of time. This will allow you to collect your messages from both computers.

1. Open Outlook Express and click on “Tools” in the menu bar, then click on “Accounts…”

2. In the account window, click on the “Mail” tab, click on your mail account, then click on the “Properties” button to the right of the account.

3. In the mail properties window, click on the “Advanced” tab all the way on the right.

4. On the advanced page, look at the “Delivery” section at the bottom. Click to put a check mark in front of “Leave a copy of messages on Server”.

5. Next put a check mark in front of “Remove from server after ____ days” and change the number of days to 2. If you wish, you can also put a check mark in front of “Remove from server when deleted from deleted items”.

6. Click “OK” to save your changes, and then repeat these steps on the other computer.


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