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Taming The Outlook Express Mail Beast

by Maggie Lietz - Copyright 2006

You've got incoming mail you need to organize... and not necessarily just from today. You've got mail lying around from months or even years back.

It's mail you've received but don't quite know whether or not you should delete.


It's mail you know you don't want to delete but can't decide where to put it.


You've already placed all these "kept" mail messages in various folders that you've created in Outlook Express (or similar email program).

The only problem is...

You can't really do anything normal with these types of folders. Why? Because it's a real pain trying to save these folders in order to make back-up copies, or move them to another computer, or simply make them easier to work with.

Actually, it's a pain just trying to figure out how to do that sort of thing. Have you ever read any of those helpful Outlook Express backup instructions? You need to hire a techie just to make sense of it.

Fortunately, there's a very quick and easy solution... you simply create mail folders outside of Outlook Express.

And just so you see how easy it is, here's a quick example.

(You can create a mail folder wherever you like on your computer but for the sake of demonstration and simplicity we'll use the standard My Documents folder.)

Within My Documents, create another folder called My Mail. Within that folder, create any and all sub-folders that would be associated with regular and ongoing mail you receive.

For example...

. your web host
. eBay account notices
. marketing newsletters
. individual clients / customers
. individual business associates
. your Aunt Bessie
. your best friend
. jokes of the day
. sent messages
. your secret lover

Ok, for that last one, you're probably better off keeping those messages someplace more private. ;-)

For all the others, you just create a folder for each category or group of mail messages you would like to keep on file rather than delete.

Mine, for example, include folders such as Wordtracker (for the monthly keyword list), Ace Net (for hosting invoices and correspondence), Phil Wiley (for his now occasional newsletters), Pogo (for updates from my favorite online game site), and Link Directory (for mail associated with link requests).

Many of my folders also contain several sub-folders of their own. In my Ace Net folder, for example, you'll find four sub-folders that each contain specific groups of messages: hosting account information, invoices, help tickets, and general correspondence.

Since all of these are traditional folders on my computer, I can do anything I want with them. Most importantly, I can back up all my mail messages quickly and easily. In fact, I periodically copy them to CD right along with all my other computer files and folders.

But I don't stop with a separate My Mail folder in My Documents. That's the general and primary mail storage. For main clients, associates, or programs that I work with on a regular basis, I create a "mail" sub-folder that's located within each of those individual folders.

Either way, all my mail messages are now easy to locate, easy to copy or back up, easy to keep organized, and definitely easy to save. You just open any email message, click File, choose "Save as", select the location on your computer where you would like to place it, and then save it there. Just like you would with any other computer file.

Be aware that when you save an email message, it uses the subject line as the name of the file. Because of that, you'll most often need to change it prior to saving. Especially since you could be saving several messages with the same subject line.

Of course, in many instances, you'll simply want to change the file name to something that makes it perfectly clear what the content of the message involves. Let's face it. Six months down the road an original subject line like "Your account information" won't mean anything. But "Ebookhelper hosting account info" certainly will.

With this type of system, my Outlook Express remains clean and lean. The only mail you'll find there is in my inbox (messages I haven't yet dealt with), in my sent folder (messages that I'm still actively working with), or in the trash (messages waiting to be permanently deleted).

But the bulk of my mail messages - the ones that tend to rapidly grow and expand until they morph into some uncontrollable beast - are neatly tucked away in a highly organized file system. And it doesn't matter how big the digital pile becomes. There's always room for expansion.

Another advantage is the fact that you don't have to decide immediately what email messages to keep and which ones to delete. Just save them to your individual computer folders so you can remove them from your inbox. Then, when you have time to do it right, go back and leisurely and sanely choose between the keepers and the trash.

If there's a message that falls into a new storage category or topic, it's no big deal to simply create another folder. And since you frequently do this with other files and folders on your computer, you never have to stop and think... how do I do that again?

For me personally, this is the absolute best mail storage system. It's fast, it's easy, it's extremely organized. And I can create whatever folder setup or location I prefer. Best of all, it provides the means to create backups that don't require help from a tech expert.

If you're still struggling with mail that's forever locked in Outlook Express folders - ones that you don't have a clue how to easily copy, move, or back up - then you should definitely give this totally independent My Mail folder system a try.

Believe me, once you start using it, you'll never go back!

Maggie Lietz

Maggie Lietz specializes in writing, creating, and publishing ebooks. Plenty of valuable information about ebooks, online business, and Internet marketing is available on her website at Professional services include website and graphic design, copywriting, and ebook cover images.

Feel free to use the above article in its entirety. All I ask is that you include my "About the Author" resource box. Thanks. Maggie Lietz

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