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Technology / Managing email

Managing webmail

When I recently switched to a Google Apps Gmail account, a few frustrations occurred. Here are the solutions I discovered for managing webmail – they might help you too.

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These days many people are using Google Apps Gmail and other webmail solutions instead of traditional email clients like Outlook, Mail and Thunderbird. When I made the switch myself, the issues that particularly frustrated me were that I could no longer right-click on files and attach them to emails, and photos were no longer automatically resized when I emailed them. In addition, my cloud emails, which once were my back-up, now needed to be backed up.

Backing up cloud-based email

No email system is impervious to failure and loss, and in fact, recently a good many Google accounts lost their data for around a week – so backing up your cloud-based email is just as important as backing up your local or client-based emails.

For Gmail I found Gmail Backup to be simple and effective. All that’s needed is your Gmail account name, password and a place to put the backup files. When the Gmail Backup is run it makes individual copies of emails with sensible file names that include the sender, the date and time, and the subject.

"No email system is impervious to failure and loss, and in fact, recently a good many Google accounts lost their data for around a week – so backing up your cloud-based email is just as important as backing up your local or client-based emails."

The individual emails are saved with a file extension of *.eml. For recovery there are a few options. Gmail Backup will restore your backup to your Gmail account if required. If you just want to view individual emails within your backup set you can view them in Opera, Firefox or Internet Explorer browsers. Just change the extension of the email file from EML to MHT and then double-click on it to open it with your default browser.

Sending files via email

Depending on your operating system you may have found that in the past you could select files, right-click on them and choose “Send to email”. (In the case of photos, this process automatically resized them for you too).

Of course, when you’re no longer using an email client, Windows doesn’t know how to send these files to your webmail. So you miss out on being able to attach them to emails easily.

For the attaching part of the problem I found Affixa. This clever program makes itself the default email client and then uses your webmail account name and password to upload your attachments to the drafts folder of Gmail. It works for a variety of webmail systems including Yahoo and Hotmail (Windows Live Mail).

Now when I right-click, attachments get sent to Affixa, which automatically sends them to my webmail to await details and a destination. Affixa can also warn you if you’re trying to send too much in one email or are sending something that’s likely to be rejected at the recipient’s end. Brilliant!

Resizing photos for email

With Affixa in place you will find that your photo resizing will have started working again. However, if you’re using an older Windows operating system, you may never have had resizing available to you in the first place. To fix this problem I found Shrinc Pic. This little guy is customisable, and does a few other handy things besides shrink photos. Of course your original photos remain untouched, and the best thing is that Shrinc Pic works with Affixa.

Have you found any other nifty tricks to help you with managing webmail? We’d love to hear about them!

David Moore

is the owner of I Hate My PC. He helps people make computers work for them instead of the other way round.

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