Cleaning Up your E-Mail

Welcome back to The Weekly Geek!

Over the last several weeks we have cleaned up your hard drive and Internet Explorer as well as defragment your hard drive. This week let’s clean up your email box. There are several email clients (programs) out there and most will work similar to what is described here. Since Outlook Express comes with Windows by default, that is the specific example I will use, if you have another client (Pegasus, AOL, Juno) just follow a long and look for similar names to do the same.

After a while your email sending and receiving will slow down due to bloat. You simply have too much “stuff” in the system and the computer and email program is trying to run with too much fat. The first thing to do is open your email program (client). You do not need to connect to the internet for what we will be doing here. Not wanting to presume too much I want to be sure you know how to delete old emails or the junk ones that come in.

  • To delete an email (be sure you are in your “inbox”) click one time on the email to be deleted.A
  • cross the top of the screen is a tool bar, click one time on the “delete” button.
  • Another option is to press the delete key on your keyboard.
  • Repeat this process for all emails that you no longer want.

All of those old emails you deleted are probably still there. Just because you chose to delete an items does not mean that the computer actually did what you asked. When you delete an item it goes to the “Deleted Items” box but is not removed.

To see how many old emails you still have simply click on time on the “Deleted Items” icon on the left hand column. I have seen over 900 items in some peoples mailboxes. To permanently remove these items move you mouse over the “Deleted Items” icon on the left side of your screen. Click one time with the right mouse button (referred to as “right-clicking”). A small drop down menu will appear. Move the mouse over “Empty Deleted Items Folder” and left click one time.
Depending on the number of emails you have this may take a while.

If you would prefer to have Outlook Express automatically remove these items when you close it, go to the drop down list and select “Options”. A new small window will appear. There are several tabs just like file folders. Choose the “Maintenance” tab by clicking one time on it. On this page will be a section called “Cleaning up Messages”. The first check box is “Empty Messages from the Deleted Items folder on exit”, by placing a check mark in this box the “Deleted Items” folder will be cleared every time you close Outlook Express. Select the “Apply” and then the “OK” buttons at the bottom of the page.

Too many emails needing to be deleted are not the only slowdown for email. Your “Sent” items can become overly large. The biggest bloat here is attachments. If you forward or attach a file, program or any item from your computer or email to someone else that item is kept in the “Sent” folder. Let’s say you downloaded a free program that you found helpful. Later you forwarded it to Uncle Fred. The program you originally downloaded is still on your computer where you downloaded it to and is now also in your “Sent items” folder. So one program is in two spots. The exact same applies to attachments you received by email that you forwarded, you have it in your Inbox and Sent items box. To resolve this you have two choices;

  1. the first is to delete the email in the “Sent” items list. This is fine if you do not need to verify that you sent the report to your boss.
  2. If however you need “proof” that an email was sent, you can simply delete the attachment from the email in the “Sent Items” folder.
  • To do this open the email.
  • Click one time on the attachment(s).
  • Press the “Delete” key on the keyboard.
  • If asked to confirm select “Yes” and then close the email.
  • You might be asked if you want to save the changes, simply select “Yes” again.

These simple tips will help improve you email programs performance and clear up your hard drive at the same time.
Stay tuned for more exciting tips on improving your email and computer experience with “The Weekly Geek”.