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Pop Clients and Windows 8

As a result of the assault by a Magpie on my laptop I have now obtained an updated laptop and am in the process of setting up everything to work on the new machine.  I had avoided leaving the XP operating system because I had a large email archive. I also don't want to use IMAP as I want my database where I can see it.

I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out a number of different POP email clients and to write notes as to my experience of them.

The first one I tried was EM Client. This was quite good although the cursor had a tendency to disappear in some circumstances.

The next one I am trying is DreamMail.  This is written by someone in China whose English is not particularly good, but their computer programming seems quite good (although it crashed in a strange way to start out - this may been linked to trying to get the pop and smtp parameters automatically.)

I particularly like the facility to import a *.dbx file.  In fact you can load a number of dbx files for import and it will trundle through each of them. I have now, however, found a website for the writer (s?) of the software. I am not going to highlight any particular source for the software there do seem to be some dubious ones.

Dream mail does have some inbuilt spam filtering and blocking. This does not appear in EM Client. EM client states it can import from *.dbx files, but I have not tried that. Dream Mail does, however, seem to save the data in folders for each month. This means that the summary file only needs to be backed up and historic data which does not change does not. That seems useful for the backup process. I am a bit nervous about the encrypted storage, however. (from the perspective of how to get to the data if the client does not work).
Dream mail also stores some header information in one file (currently 1-2Gb on my system) and then the individual emails in folders for each month. This seems quite an efficient mechanism for incremental backup as the historic data would generally not change and therefore not need to be backed up. It appears EM client stores the data in one big file. That means a 15Gb copy every time there is a backup. Something I am not enthusiastic about.


Unknown said…
You should really take a good look at the free Mozilla Thunderbird (TB) and you should really move on and use IMAP as I shall explain. I used to be in the same boat as you for email and was also reluctant to let go of my stored emails. TB is available for Windows, Mac and Linux (but not Smart Phones) here:

TB supports POP3 and IMAP and looks very like Outlook Express (OE) on Windows XP but has a world of extra features and add-ons. I suspect you may be using OE or trying to find a replacement for it. I looked at all the offerings, paid and free, and it took me months.

Like you, I want my emails and attachments stored where I want and not somewhere in a cloud that a provider can delete anything that they think they can just delete if it contravenes any policy they dream up.

The big disadvantage of using POP3 with an email client is that it is really best used on a single or what I call a ‘main’ computer. I know that if you have a second computer then you can set the client to leave POP3 emails that you download or read on the server so that the first computer has access to them but it gets messy.

Not all ISP’s implement POP3 properly these days or even offer secure access. POP3 is dying out. Also be warned that not all ISP’s offer either secure IMAP access or even insecure access. This is a must now we can use open WiFi hotspots.

What converted me to TB and IMAP is that you can then have as many computers as you want accessing your email simultaneously. Yes, your email is stored on the ISP’s server on receipt as at present, but like me you want to keep your database of downloaded emails on your computer. So I initially access email from my laptop or a borrowed laptop using a copy of TB run from a memory stick.

That’s all well and good, but the question remains as to how to handle and access your store of emails? Well, below is my solution to the problem and the way I use TB.

Now, once you have opened an email you either leave it where it is or move it to another folder on the server, and I have named mine “Keep-a-Bit”. This is useful for keeping your ‘Inbox’ clear.

As I have a lot of email addresses, I just use one folder on one particular server but it may suit you to have a folder of this name on each ISP’s server.

If you want to reply to an email immediately, do that but then move your reply to “Keep-a-Bit” or again, leave it where it is in the ‘Sent’ folder.

When you return to your ‘main’ computer, move emails from ‘Keep-a-Bit’ to your ‘Local Folders’ and its sub-folders on the hard drive. Also move things from ‘Sent’, ‘Spam’ or wherever they are residing into the appropriate local sub-folder.
Now when out and about and using a laptop, don’t store your email on the laptop. Always use TB from a memory stick. I’m sure you know how to secure them already. Then if the laptop disappears, there’s no worry plus you can have and use more than one memory stick.

The clever bit is that when you’ve finished on the ‘main’ computer, you copy the ‘local folders’ to the memory stick(s). This ensures that you always have all your email with you wherever you go. Anything that’s just been replied to that day is accessible on the ISP’s servers.

All this can be automated quite nicely and there are useful filtering facilities available in TB as well as a huge number of add-on’s that can be used with TB. It isn’t worth raving about them here! There are import facilities for address books and existing email stores aplenty. TB uses standard format databases because as Mozilla says, it’s your data and not ours.

There are also News Server forums where problems and assistance can be discussed. Yes, TB handles News Servers too plus Chat and Feeds if you want them. TB also runs on Windows XP through Windows 10 and the ‘tabbed’ email facility is delightful.

I haven’t even mentioned multiple ‘profiles’ or the ability to tweak TB as you like. Don’t want 20 ‘Inbox’ folders and only want one? The answer’s yes. Do give TB a test drive to see if it suits you.

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