Email…..& Canned Meat(?) Products

“Studies have found that forwarding emails can end friendships and ruin relationships. Failure to help spread the word, by forwarding this to at least 10 friends, will cause you bad luck and ill will in the coming days.” – Anon

Every now and then, we have to break the news to a customer that their machine is either not fixable, or, more likely, not worth fixing.  After getting through the predictable stages of grief, we settle into “replacement mode”, and that’s generally when the email monster rears it’s ugly head.  Regardless of their skill set, most customers invariably state “email” when asked what’s the most important aspect of their computer usage. Ironically, as we work further with the customer, we’re never surprised to find that a vast majority of their inbox is spam & junk mail. 

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My own office stats show that only 5% of our customers replacing computers do so due to a failed hard drive. That means that 95% of the time, we can still retrieve your data by extracting your hard drive and tethering it to a functional machine. Recoverable data usually includes documents, pictures, music, data generated by 3rd party programs such as Quicken or QuickBooks, and finally, some email stuff.

Rant alert:  I’ll never understand why, in this age of multiple devices, anyone would continue to use an inherent Microsoft email client as opposed to web based email!

Over the years, Microsoft has always incorporated an email program within their various versions of Windows operating systems.  Windows XP had Outlook Express. Vista had Windows Mail. Windows 7 has Windows Live Mail. And finally, Windows 8 has something too ridiculous to even name properly.  (And no, I haven’t forgotten about Microsoft Outlook. That will be covered in another rant.).The original thought process here was that people needed a way to access their email address that was given to them by their Internet Service Provider. And it worked well for people, until they needed to replace a machine with a different version of Windows. You see, for reasons unknown, it appears that all those Microsoft email programs weren’t made to play well with each other.  If, for example, you were using an XP machine, with Outlook Express, and replaced that machine with one running Windows 7, the best you could hope for would be a garbled address book transfer into Windows Live Mail. Forget about those meticulously created and maintained folders you set up to store and save important emails. Not going to happen.

If, however, you were using a web based email program, you’d have one less problem with the transition to a new machine.  I have personally tried, and still maintain accounts with, GMail, Outlook.com, and much to the embarrassment of my peers, Yahoo & AOL.  All are free, and all provide a continuity of services across multiple devices. That’s where the similarities end.  Somewhere within the pages of this site, you’ll find my GMail address.  Accessibility, ease of use, automatic spam filtering, and more importantly, storage space, makes them the hands down winner. In fact, several Internet Service Providers, in our area, have transitioned their web based email services to Google’s GMail. (HTC & Southern Coastal Cable)

The next rant:  Microsoft Outlook!!

Back in the day, Microsoft practically gave away their Office products, and as a result, many people became hooked into Outlook. A program so incredibly buggy that Microsoft felt the need to include a repair application. (Unfortunately, it’s buried within the bowels of the program where the average user can’t find it, assuming they even knew it existed.)  But now you’re committed. Years worth of emails, contacts and calendar entries. Good news is that we can probably find an Outlook backup file (.pst) on your failed machine. Bad news? If you want to transfer and integrate, you’ll need to buy it. The stand alone version of Outlook currently retails for around $120.00, but if you’ve been using Outlook for so long, then chances are you’ll need/want the other components of Office. (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)  The Home & Business package, which includes Outlook, retails for around $219.00. Home & Student, which doesn’t include Outlook, goes for $139.00.  Your dependence on Outlook just added a considerable amount of money to the purchase of your new system.

I understand that it’s stressful to change email addresses.  But only a tad more stressful than starting from scratch, on a new machine, with your old address.  It’s best to make the change while your current system is still functional.  Create that free, web based email address and start sending the new address to all your contacts. You can also forward those saved, important emails to your new address.  Once the change is made, it will be much easier when you have to replace your machine. (And at some point, you will have to replace your machine.)

What to do with your old email address? Simple. That’s the one you give to those who insist on having an email address, for no reason other than to spam the crap out of you. (Unless of course you look forward to reading junk mail, spam, and clicking on the oft infected links contained therein.)

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So, in conclusion, now’s the time to get out there and sign up for that free web based email account.  Just don’t pick Yahoo

Even their employees refuse to use it.

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