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More and more Internet users have more than one e-mail address, and many have many more. More and more families have not only more than one user, but also more than one computer.
Multiple E-mail AddressesMost Internet Service Providers (ISPs) include multiple e-mail addresses with your Internet account. But not all e-mail addresses are created equal in that some represent a real file on a real computer, while others are merely virtual arrows pointing to a real file. When someone sends a message to your e-mail address, the actual physical bytes are stored on your ISP's computer, called the mail server, in your own file. This file is called your mailbox. Every mailbox has a unique name which is its e-mail address. Since an e-mail address is actually then just a pointer to a mailbox, it is very easy for an ISP to make another e-mail address point to the same mailbox. Such an address is called an alias. So every mailbox has at least one unique e-mail address, but not every e-mail address points to a unique mailbox.
Before you decide how best to configure Outlook Express for multiple e-mail addresses, you must first determine whether you have multiple mailboxes, possibly with multiple aliases for each mailbox, or a single mailbox with multiple aliases. For example, my ISP includes five mailboxes with a standard Internet account. Each mailbox may have as many as ten aliases. That means I can have as many as 50 different e-mail addresses.
Multiple Windows User Accounts vs. Multiple IdentitiesWindows has long had the option to create individual Windows User accounts, allowing multiple persons to share a single computer while maintaining individual settings. In older versions of Windows only one User could be logged on at one time, so switching users meant closing all programs and logging off completely before the second user could log on. This plus limited disk space made this impractical for many who merely wanted each user to have separate e-mail settings but not necessarily separate Windows settings. Since version 5, Outlook Express gave us the option to use multiple Identities within a single Windows User account. Each Identity has its own e-mail and news accounts settings, view settings, message store folder, and message rules. In fact each Identity is its own complete Outlook Express configuration.
Now that we have bigger hard disks and faster processors, Windows User accounts are much more appealing. Windows XP even has a Fast User Switching feature which allows you to switch between users without having to close all your programs and log off. Windows User accounts offer several benefits over Outlook Express Identities:
Turn on Fast User SwitchingThe Fast User Switching feature is disabled by default, but you can turn it on with just a few mouse clicks.
Note that the Accessibility feature SerialKeys will not work if Fast User Switching is enabled.
Nonetheless using multiple Identities still offers some possibilities for Windows XP users.
Create a Shared Address Book
Delivering E-mail to the Correct UserIf each user has a unique mailbox on the mail server, there is no problem. But if multiple users are accessing a single mailbox with multiple aliases, you will have to use message rules to ensure that each user downloads only the mail sent to their alias. This is because the first user (or the first Outlook Express mail account) that downloads mail will automatically download all mail in the mailbox. This is simply the way POP3 mail works.
For example, Frank Lee signed up with a local ISP, A. Datum Corporation, for an Internet account with one POP3 mailbox with three aliases, thus four e-mail addresses in total. Frank's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His wife Andrea will be using the alias email@example.com, while son Mark will use firstname.lastname@example.org and daughter Cristina will use email@example.com.
Let's begin with ensuring that Cristina receives only e-mail sent to her. Frank, who is the computer administrator, logs on as Cristina and opens her Outlook Express. He then creates a message rule:
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The final rule should look like this screen shot:
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Frank will now have to log on as Mark and create a similar rule to exclude mail not addressed to him, and then as Andrea to exclude mail not addressed to her. The final step is for Frank to create his own rule in his own User account. Frank's rule however must use a different Condition to ensure that no mail is left on the server. His condition must be:
Where the TO or CC line contains firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Do not Download it from the server
Cristina, Mark and Andrea will now receive only mail that has their respective e-mail address in TO or CC. Frank will receive all other e-mail sent to the mailbox. It should be noted that any message sent to Cristina, Mark or Andrea with their e-mail address in the BCC (blind carbon copy) line will not be delivered correctly. It will then be up to Frank to forward such messages to the correct e-mail address.
The Shared Need of Multiple UsersNo matter how many Windows Users and Identities are in use on your computer or network, and no matter how many individuals are involved, they all share one thing in common: the need for a secure computing environment, especially in the area of e-mail. We cannot expect small children and other beginners to understand all the security issues surrounding e-mail, so we must do all we can to make Outlook Express secure. The first step is to ensure your computer system and your anti-virus software is kept up to date. In the case of Windows XP, that means you should install Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) today, if you have not already done so. SP2 brings important changes to Outlook Express. SP2 will make Outlook Express safer for all your computer users, all your Outlook Express Identities, and all your Windows User accounts.