Despite promises, AOL doesn't offer POP3 e-mail HELP LINE

September 14, 1998|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

I use AOL primarily because of my employer. I also use Office 97. I like the integrated office features and would like to use Outlook Express to read and send e-mail, but AOL and Outlook Express aren't compatible. Is there any way I can use Outlook Express with AOL?

Despite a promise made in December, AOL management continues to resist clamoring customers who would far rather use Outlook or any number of other so-called POP3 e-mail systems rather than America Online's clunker, which is better suited for kids after school than people with growing business needs. Popmail allows a user to use the same software to access e-mail accounts on multiple servers, making it possible for this writer, for example, to use Outlook to read e-mail at accounts at jcoateameritech.net, jcoatecs.com, jcoatesn.com and jcoateais.net.

Outlook offers huge advantages over AOL, such as letting you set rules to do things like blow away junk mail and separate notes from family and friends from that of customers. The gigantic downside for AOL regarding Popmail is that millions of subscribers would use the service for e-mail and would never again access the areas carrying the paid ads that makes AOL service possible. So despite December's promise, the company still hasn't bitten the Popmail bullet.

A glimmer of good news is on the horizon with the addition of an AOL Web site at www.aol.com/netmail that lets AOL customers use a Web browser to read and send their e-mail on computers not running the 30-megabyte America Online system software.

Could you repeat your instructions for transferring the CardFile program from a computer running Windows 3.1 to Windows 95?

I've heard from so many CardFile fans like you that the topic bears a revisit. In a profit-driven effort to support the Address Book module in Internet-ready versions of Windows 95 and all versions of Windows 98, Bill Gates guillotined CardFile, a nifty little Windows 3.x program that records phone numbers and a few lines of text about each person in your contact list.

Anybody with access to Windows 3.1 can go to the Windows directory and copy cardfile.exe, cardfile.hlp and any data files ending in .crd onto a floppy and then move them into the Windows directory on the machine running Windows 95/98.

For those lacking a licensed copy of Windows 3.1, a much better solution is a slick $20 shareware program called Jot 2.1 available at www.kingstairs.com/jot/ which not only reads and writes the .crd data files for CardFile but adds a wonderful set of features that makes it a handy random information manager that is easy to use and, like CardFile, requires only a tiny scrap of hard drive real estate.

Could you address the problem that so many computer users encounter when we have worked with one machine for a long time, and then want to add new hardware but are unsure about how to keep the stuff we now use and need up and running? My home computer is running applications such as electronic banking, aviation planning and weather retrieval, financial/market management, system support and others.

These programs, drivers and system functions were patched, upgraded and improved over the Internet. I am reluctant to purchase a new computer today because of the work it would take to reinstall the many software components and somehow manage to get them upgraded to the current high level of operation. This problem is exacerbated by the way Windows plops pieces of an application in various nooks and crannies. One cannot just copy the program folder over to the new machine. Is there any software that would make a hardware system upgrade easier in terms of transferring the older, upgraded software?

There really isn't a happy answer to your question. As you note, all of the stuff that builds up on a computer as you continue to use it and tweak it until things are running just so relate to that machine, its individual hard drive, the settings for its modem, its printers, etc. A number of programs are sold that claim to be capable of moving applications complete with their links and support files from one machine to another, including Uninstaller 4.0 by Cybermedia and QuarterDeck Corp.'s Cleansweep.

But people like you with customized software and lots of changes patched together likely will not be pleased with the results. Your best solution, and it still is far from ideal, is to use a so-called disk-cloning program like Disk Image from Powerquest Corp. to make a mirror copy of the hard drive on your present machine and store it on a Zip Drive or some other removable media.

You can then transfer that mirror image to your new machine or create a dual-boot setup on the new machine so that it will come up with the mirror of the old machine running or running whatever operating system and application software that came with it. The mirror image will probably require tweaking for the printers, modems, etc. on the new machine.

Send e-mail to jcoateribune.com.

Pub Date: 9/14/98

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