Category Archives: E-mail

Analysing Mail

An email is series of “headers” such as To: and From: and Subject: which tell us useful things. When we view our email, some program has taken these headers and used then to show us our email in a readable way. There are extra headers that such programs don’t show us.

A simple example of the contents of an email header. Here, we can observe that the sender, John Smith, used an Apple Mail app on an iPad to send the email. Furthermore, we can see that John's internal username is jksmith3. Regarding the organizations, the headers show that the mail transfer agent in use is Exim 4.80 and the email protocols preferred are ESMTP and ESMTPSA.
Mail headers

When analysing an email, it’s important to see all the headers, even the ones we don’t normally see.

If you’re sending an email to me, please forward it to me as an attachment, so that I get all the headers.

In the latest update to Microsoft 365 (previously Office 365) this is quite easy: view the email in Outlook by double-clicking it (don’t just preview it) and you’ll see this:

Three dots means “more”

Click on the three dots, and choose “Forward as Attachment”

To forward a mail item as an attachment (to preserve the headers)

Then fill in the name of who you want to send it to, and send it off.

You can see how to do it in previous versions of Outlook here.

Web mail

With web mail (where you look your email through a web browser (for example Chrome, Edge, or Safari) rather than an email program, you’ll need to download the email first. Once it’s been downloaded it’s a file on your computer and you can send it to anyone, just like any file. Beaware that some people may not be able to receice a mail attachment, as they could be virus-infected.

Here’s how to download an email using the Gmail web interface. First display the email, and look for this in the top-right

Again, three dots means “more”

Click on the three dots, and then click on “Download message”.

Finally, if you just want to view the headers, this page shows you how.

Log in to G Suite

G Suite is Google’s paid-for version of GMail. You can use your own domain name with it, so you can be rather than something ending

You log in exactly as you would with GMail. The process varies a bit depending on what you have been doing before. Start by going to the Google search page (for example in a web browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Internet Explorer or Opera.

The Google page will look like this (although on some days the “Google” lettering might look quite different, if Google is celebrating someone’s birthday etc). We’re interested in the bit at the top right, which I’ve circled in red:

If it looks like this (below), you are already logged in to GMail or G Suite (the little circle will contain your initials or a picture):

In this case, click on the circle, and either choose your account from the list or click on “Add Account”

If you click on “Add Account”, you will see this. Type in your G Suite email address:

Click “Next” to carry on logging in. You will be asked for a password (and in some situations a text message may be sent to your phone with a code you also have to type in).

If the bit at the top of the Google search page looked like this:

In this case, click on “Gmail”. You may be asked for your Google email address or you may be shown a list of addresses you have previously used, like this:

You see this if you have previously used a Google email address with this browser

In this case, if the email address you want to use is not shown, just click on “use another account” and type in your G Suite address, as before:

It’s a lot simpler than it sounds!

Freeserve E-Mail to End

Anyone with an email address from Freeserve, Orange, or Wanadoo will find that it doesn’t work after 31st May 2017, and they won’t be able to access their account or send or receive emails.

Freeserve was bought by Orange years ago, and then Orange was bought by EE and now EE is part of BT. So the current owners have decided to shut down all the old email systems they have inherited.

Their explanation (and a full list of the affected email systems) is here.

Am I about to download a virus? (Part 1)

There are lots of good, useful things you can download from the Internet for free. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of things that will harm your PC, pop-up fake warnings, mess with your search results, and so on.

How do you tell a good download from a bad one?

The same applies to e-mail attachments – how do you tell a safe attachment from a dangerous one? Continue reading Am I about to download a virus? (Part 1)

BT mail settings

Updated 1st March 2017

To understand this post, you might need to read my article Understanding E-Mail Settings

If you want to use a non-BT e-mail address  (for example a Freeserve address, or maybe you have your own domain name) with your BT mail service, see my pages here.

BT has (at least) three different mail services. Your first challenge is to find out which one you use.

If your BT email address ends with:

Continue reading BT mail settings


I’m thinking of writing some articles on these topics:

  • BT Infinity … it’s probably not going to be as fast as BT claims; there are some constraints on installation which can be a problem for some people (and BT don’t warn you about); you can get identical products from people other than BT and VirginMedia.
  • iPads and smartphones … many of my customers don’t understand that they will almost certainly have to make some changes to any existing POP3 mail programs (Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail, Thinderbird …) if they start using an iPad or smartphone (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry …) for e-mail
  • Possibly a general tutorial on how mail works. With the rise of smartphone (see above) people need to understand a little about POP3, SMTP and the rest of it.  People are increasingly getting problems with checking mail too frequently, mailboxes too full, timeouts set too short, mail clients falling over each other, not using the right SMTP server to allow them to send mail when away form home …
  • Domain names … more people seem to be changing ISPs these days (maybe because of the rise of fibre) and changing e-mail addresses is often an issue. A personal domain name is cheap and very useful, but almost no home users understand or consider getting one (in fact, quite a few small-business users aren’t as clued-up on this as they might be). I might write an explanation about domain names, mail forwarding, etc.