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Get relief from annoying email

Plus: avoid large file attachments; protect yourself from spam.

This article appears in the September 06 issue of PC Advisor, which is available now in all good newsagents.

Do associates email you massive attachments? Do dopey friends not know how to blind-copy email to protect your privacy? I have a few ways for you to be less annoyed – and less annoying...

The Hassle: don’t laugh, but I’m still on dialup as I live out in the sticks and can’t get broadband. I’ve asked my friends not to send file attachments the size of the QE2, but they often forget. Other than getting new friends, do you have a solution?

The Fix: when I travel and stay in hotels that offer only dialup, I skip gargantuan downloads.

It takes just a few minutes to change the settings in your email program. Create a rule in Outlook Express by Selecting Tools, Message Rules, Mail, Modify. Scroll through the conditions and choose ’Where the message size is more than size’. In the Select actions for your rule menu, scroll to and select ’Do not download it from the server’. Unfortunately, you’ll never know that the person sent you an email.

In the ’Rule description’ box, click the size link, set the maximum allowed message size and click ok twice. I set mine at 1,000KB.
In Outlook 2003, choose Tools, Options, select the Mail Setup tab, click Send/Receive, Edit and tick ’Download complete item including attachments’ and ’Download only headers for items larger than xxKB’ – where xx is a number you pick from a drop-down menu. Tick the box for ’Receive mail items’.

The Hassle: I email a message to a group of friends and they complain that the list of addresses is longer than the actual note.

The Fix: I’ll bet you’re adding email addresses to the ’To:’ field – and broadcasting everyone’s address in your email. Instead, maintain everyone’s anonymity by using your email’s bcc (blind copy) feature. In Outlook Express, select View, and check ’All headers’.

In Outlook, choose View and check Bcc Field. In Netscape, click the To field and scroll to Bcc. In Yahoo Mail, click Bcc. The easiest services are AOL.com, Eudora and MSN Hotmail – you just fill the ‘bcc’ field. The classic AOL online service is more work: in the ’Copy to’ box, enter each recipient’s email address in parentheses.

The down side to blind-copied addresses is that some ISPs will bounce them. One workaround is to send batches of messages – as many as 2,400 at a time – rather than emails, using one or the other of two free web services – Yahoo Groups (groups.yahoo.com) or Topica (lists.topica.com).

Quick tip: you can make it easier for friends and family to filter your email messages by including a phrase such as ‘Footie mates’ or ‘Gardening club’ in the To: field. It’s easy to do and it may work with your email program. Experiment by typing in the To: field, then fill in the blind copy fields. For a blank To: line, enter an open parenthesis, a space and a close parenthesis – in some email programs, such as AOL and Hotmail, use just a space.

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