Web site-based mail is behind user's hangups

Helpline

May 09, 2002|By James Coates | James Coates,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Every time I run Outlook Express to find my e-mail it goes to the Hotmail account and spins there forever. I have to select Send/Receive and tell it to stop. Then I am told it can't find the Internet and the machine asks me if I want to try again. I say "Yes" and then it works fine. I think this happened because I changed to Windows 2000 on my two computers and am using Outlook Express for a mail reader and newsreader and Internet Explorer 6 for a browser.

I went to the Microsoft Web site and got all the updates for both Windows and Office 2000, but that didn't fix it. Any ideas? My Internet connection is always on using EarthLink via Sprint broadband.

Like many computer-literate folks you are the proud owner of too many e-mail accounts for your own good. From your note I can tell you have a free Hotmail.com account and paid subscriptions to both MSN.com and EarthLink.net. Because Hotmail is based on a Web site it can hang up a computer because it needs to go online and get into a queue with other computers calling up the Hotmail Web site, and thus you get the hourglass instead of results.

Your solution is to change your e-mail from its current setting that makes Hotmail your main supplier and make either MSN or EarthLink your default e-mail account. Since these other services provide e-mail through the far faster and more efficient POP3 protocol, your hang-ups should cease.

You can change the default e-mail setting by clicking on Tools in the Outlook Express display and then choosing Accounts.

James Coates is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. He can be reached via e-mail at jcoates@tribune.com.

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