Windows Vista : Communicating with Windows Mail - Setting Up Mail Accounts

8/21/2012 3:56:21 PM
If you haven’t yet started Windows Mail—and so haven’t yet defined your first mail account—or if you have multiple accounts and need to set up the others, this section shows you how to do it within Windows Mail.

Specifying Basic Account Settings

Here are the steps to follow to set up an email account with just the basic settings (which should be enough to get most accounts up and running):

Start the process using one of the following techniques:

  • Start Windows Mail for the first time.

  • In Windows Mail, select Tools, Accounts to display the Internet Accounts dialog box, click Add to open the Select Account Type dialog box, click E-mail Account, and then click Next.

Type your display name—this is the name that appears in the From field when you send a message—and click Next.

Type the email address for the account and click Next.

Specify your mail server data (click Next when you’re done):

Incoming Mail Server TypeUse this list to select the incoming mail server type: POP3 or IMAP.
Incoming E-mail Server NameType the domain name for your incoming mail server.
Outgoing E-mail Server (SMTP) NameType the domain name for your outgoing mail server.
Outgoing Server Requires AuthenticationActivate this check box if your Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server requires authentication before it will send your messages. 

Type your email username and your password, and then click Next.

After Windows Mail sets up your account, it connects to your incoming mail server and downloads your waiting messages. If you don’t want this to happen (for example, you might prefer to leave the messages on the server), activate the Do Not Download My E-mail at This Time check box.

Click Finish.

If you started from the Internet Accounts dialog box, click Close.

When the wizard completes its labors, your new account appears in the Mail section of the Internet Accounts dialog box, as shown in Figure 1 (note, too, the predefined account for the Microsoft Communities newsgroups). The next few sections use this dialog box, so you might want to leave it open for now. You can always return to it by selecting Tools, Accounts.

Figure 1. Your Internet email accounts are listed in the Mail section of the Internet Accounts dialog box.

Setting the Default Account

If you have more than one account, you should specify one of them as the default account. The default account is the one Windows Mail uses automatically when you send a message. To set the default account, select it in the Mail group and then click Set as Default.


It is possible to send a message using any of your accounts. However, sending a message using anything other than the default account requires an extra step.

Specifying Advanced Account Settings

Although the basic account settings that you specify during the account setup process suffice in most cases, many accounts require a more advanced setup. For example, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) might require a different SMTP port or you might prefer to leave copies of your messages on the server.

To work with the advanced settings, select an account in the Mail group and then click Properties. The properties sheet that appears contains a number of tabs, and most of the controls in this dialog box are straightforward. The next four sections take you through some of the other options and show how useful they can be.

Using a Different Reply Address

It’s occasionally useful to have replies sent to a different address. For example, if you’re sending a message requesting feedback from a number of people, you might prefer that the return messages go to a colleague or assistant for collating or processing. Similarly, if you send a work-related message from a personal account, you might want replies sent to your work account.

To specify a different reply address, display the General tab in the account’s properties sheet, and then type the address in the Reply Address text box.

Enabling SMTP Authentication

With spam such a big problem these days, many ISPs now require SMTP authentication for outgoing mail, which means that you must log on to the SMTP server to confirm that you are the person sending the mail (as opposed to some spammer spoofing your address). If your ISP uses authentication, display the Servers tab in the account’s properties sheet, and then activate the My Server Requires Authentication check box. By default, Windows Mail logs you on using the same username and password as your incoming mail server. If your ISP has given you separate logon data, click Settings, activate the Log On Using option, type your account name and password, and click OK.

Specifying a Different SMTP Port

For security reasons, some ISPs insist that all their customers’ outgoing mail route through the ISP’s SMTP server. This usually isn’t a problem if you’re using an email account maintained by the ISP, but it can lead to problems if you’re using an account provided by a third party (such as your website host):

  • Your ISP might block messages sent using the third-party account because it thinks you’re trying to relay the message through the ISP’s server (a technique often used by spammers).

  • You might incur extra charges if your ISP allows only a certain amount of SMTP bandwidth per month or a certain number of sent messages, whereas the third-party account offers higher limits or no restrictions at all.

  • You might have performance problems because the ISP’s server takes much longer to route messages than the third-party host.

You might think that you can solve the problem by specifying the third-party host’s SMTP server in the account settings. However, this doesn’t usually work because outgoing email transmits by default through port 25; when you use this port, you must also use the ISP’s SMTP server.

To work around this, many third-party hosts offer access to their SMTP server via a port other than the standard port 25. To configure an email account to use a nonstandard SMTP port, display the Advanced tab in the account’s properties sheet, and then use the Outgoing Mail (SMTP) text box to type the port number specified by the third-party host.

Checking the Same Account from Two Different Computers

In today’s increasingly mobile world, it’s common to have to check the same email account from multiple devices. For example, you might want to check your business account using not only your work computer, but also using your home computer or your notebook while traveling or using a PDA or other portable device while commuting.

Unfortunately, after you download a message, the server deletes it from the server and you can’t access it from any other device. If you need to check mail on multiple devices, the trick is to leave a copy of the message on the server after you download it. That way the message will still be available when you check messages using another device.

To tell Windows Mail to leave a copy of each message on the server, display the Advanced tab in the account’s properties sheet, and activate the Leave a Copy of Messages on the Server check box. You can also activate the following options:

Remove from Server After X DaysIf you activate this check box, Windows Mail automatically deletes the message from the server after the number of days specified in the spin box.
Remove from Server When Deleted from ‘Deleted Items’If you activate this check box, Windows Mail deletes the message from the server only when you permanently delete the message from your system.

Here’s a good strategy to follow:

  • On your main computer, activate the Leave a Copy of Messages on the Server check box and the Remove from Server After X Days check box. Set the number of days long enough so that you have time to download the messages using your other devices.

  • On all your other devices, activate only the Leave a Copy of Messages on the Server check box.

This strategy ensures that you can download messages on all your devices, but it prevents messages from piling up on the server.


Other occasions could arise when you prefer to leave messages on the server temporarily. For example, if you’re on the road, you might want to download the messages to a notebook or to some other computer that you’re using temporarily. By leaving the messages on the server, you can still download them to your main computer when you return to the office or to your home. Similarly, you might want to download your messages into another email client for testing purposes or for taking advantage of features in that client but not found in Windows Mail.

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