Chapter 12. Email

For many people, email makes computers worthwhile. No need to bother rummaging for a pen, stamp, envelope, or mailbox. Just compose, click, and you’re done.

Sending and receiving email requires an email program, where you type your letters and send them off to your recipients, and an email address and password, which you get from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), the money grabbers described in the previous chapter.

This chapter shows you how to pick an email program, tell it what your address and password are, and how to send and receive email using that address—or even several addresses. And if, by chance, you don’t yet have an email account, a relationship with an ISP, or even a computer, you’ll learn about Web-based email services, like Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail, which let you send and receive email from any PC you visit.

Choosing an Email Program

Sending mail through the post office, dubbed “Snail Mail” by Internet veterans, requires several steps. You need to type or write a letter, stick it in an envelope, add an address and a stamp, and then drop it in the mailbox. Electronic mail works pretty much the same way: you type your letter into an email program, add the recipient’s email address, and then click the Send button. You don’t even need to pay any postage—a perk long celebrated by spam traffickers worldwide.

All email programs, sometimes called email clients, handle the basic task of sending-and-receiving equally well. The difference lies in their frills: ...

Get PCs: The Missing Manual now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.