Q: I’m in the process of changing from BT broadband to TalkTalk. Someone has told me that I will lose not only my email address but also all the contents of my inbox going back over some time. If this is true, is there any easy way apart from printing hard copy to preserve the messages contained therein?
A: You will lose your email address as this is tied to your BT account – though ISPs do someties allow you to retain an address for a small fee. Assuming that the email system is using POP3 or IMAP and messages are downloaded onto your PC each time you connect then you shouldn’t lose any of your old mail. It’s a good idea to back it up though.
If your account is operating as webmail – that is you read the mail messages on the server without downloading them – then you will lose your old mail. The way around this is to open a free Gmail account and forward all the messages you want to keep on to yourself at the new Gmail address. By using Gmail as your main mail account in future you’ll be free to change ISPs again without the need to change your email address. You can choose to operate Gmail as webmail or as a POP3/IMAP account, or indeed both – you can have messages downloaded to your PC and retained on the server.
What you need to bear in mind when changing your email address is the need to update your details on any websites where you’ve registered your address as part of the login process.
Originally featured in PCU140