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I’m a big fan of the Mac OS X Mail application, which comes with every Macintosh. It’s easy to use, does what I need done, and has the best spam filter of any mail program I’ve seen. You might have configured your email account when you first set up your Mac. If so, you’re already sending and receiving email, perhaps through your new .Mac email address.

Mac OS X’s Mail will, however, support multiple email accounts. All that matters is that your server be able to work with the POP3 or IMAP protocols. Most do, but Microsoft Exchange may be an exception. (If you need to get mail from an Exchange server, ask your mail administrator to allow POP3 access to your mail or create a remote account for you that automatically redirects mail sent to your Exchange server address, such as you@yourcompany.com to another address, such as you@mac.com.)

If you want to add an email account to Mac OS X’s Mail program, here’s the information you need:

  • Name

  • Email address

  • Reply address

  • Server information

  • Incoming mail server (IMAP or POP)

  • Incoming mail (mail server address)

  • Outgoing mail (SMTP server address)

  • Account name (your account name)

  • Password for your email account

You also need to determine whether your email server requires you to send any authentication to send mail; if so, turn on this feature in the Mac OS X Mail client.

All the above information is available from whomever provides your email account, typically your Internet service provider (ISP), employer, or school. If you are already using the account on your PC, this information is stored in the Mail control panel or in the account settings in the mail client you’re already using. You can copy it (on paper) from there and enter it into Mac OS X’s Mail program.

Here’s how to do it:

Open Mac OS X’s built-in Mail application by clicking its icon in the Dock (the postage stamp) or by navigating to its icon in Applications > Mail.

Choose Mail > Preferences, and click the Accounts icon in the Accounts window.

Click the Add Account button.

On the Account Information tab, enter the account settings you’ve noted from the setup on your PC in the appropriate fields, and click the OK button (Figure 4.6).

Figure 4.6. Here’s where you enter information necessary to create an email account in the Mac OS X email program.

Repeat the steps above if you have multiple email accounts to reestablish. It’s that simple.

If you use AOL for email, just locate the AOL installer on your new Mac. After you have installed AOL, open the AOL application and it will walk you through the setup process. You just need to know your AOL ScreenName and password. It’s that easy.


Be sure to download the latest version of AOL: AOL updates its software occasionally, and the version that comes with your Mac may not be the most current.

You can also use Netscape software for Mac OS X to access both AOL and your POP3 email, which is what some of my friends do. The decision is really based on where you receive most of your important messages. Mine come over my personal email server at my ISP and very little over AOL, so I use the Mac OS X Mail client. Others with the opposite situation might choose Netscape, though I would recommend they just tell their AOL friends to send mail to their other mail address.

If you are using a Hotmail account, you will need to use the Entourage program included with Office v. X to access it. The instructions included with Entourage will help you set up a Hotmail account.

Although I have nothing against Entourage, I think the Apple programs are better, so I recommend accessing your Hotmail account over the Internet using your Web browser.

Email messages

This is complex, so I will quote extensively from Apple’s switching guide. But before following these instructions, please refer back to the mail-migration method, using Netscape 7.0, that I outlined earlier in this chapter. I think it’s easier, but here’s how Apple would do it.

According to Apple, you can use Mac OS X’s Mail application and a .Mac email account to move your saved mail from your PC to your Mac. You can use the PC versions of Outlook and Outlook Express to connect to your .Mac account.


I have not tried this, but I don’t see any obvious reason why this technique wouldn’t work with Outlook as well as Outlook Express.

To use this method, you’ll need a .Mac account, which you can sign up for at www.mac.com or when you set up your Mac for the first time. Be sure to note your .Mac user name and password.


This presumes that you already have the Mac OS X Mail application configured on the Mac, which happens automatically when you sign up for a .Mac account.

How to Create a New .Mac Account

Open System Preferences from the Dock or the Apple menu, and click the Internet icon in the window that appears.

Select the .Mac tab in the Internet panel. Click the Sign Up button (Figure 4.7).

Figure 4.7. Here’s where you create a new .Mac account, in the Internet panel of System Preferences. Some people (like me) think having a yourname@mac.com email address is kinda cool.

Your Web browser opens and takes you to the sign-up section of .Mac, where you can fill in some information to get a .Mac account—just follow the instructions.

Do note that .Mac is a fee-for-service proposition, so be prepared to spend $99.95 per year.

You’re done. Be sure to note your account name and password.

On your PC:

You’re going to configure Outlook Express on your PC to connect to your new .Mac email account. Why? Well, you’re going to use this account to transfer your mail from your PC to your Mac over the Internet.


If you use an email program other than Outlook Express, don’t panic—you can probably easily adapt these instructions for use with that program.

Open Outlook Express on your PC, and select Tools > Accounts.

Click the Accounts button to launch the wizard, and select Mail.

Enter your first and last names in the Display Name field, and click the Next button.

Enter your new Mac.com email account name (probably something like yourname@mac.com) in the next screen, and click the Next button.

In the incoming-mail pop-up menu of the E-mail Server Names screen, select IMAP—not POP3, which is the default.

Enter the following server addresses (Figure 4.8), and then click the Next button:

Figure 4.8. Here we are entering the .Mac account information into Outlook Express’s setup wizard.

“Incoming mail (POP3, IMAP or HTTP) server”: mail.mac.com

“Outgoing mail (SMTP) server”: smtp.mac.com

In the next screen, enter your .Mac account name in the Account Name field and your password in the Password field (go figure). Leave the “Remember password” checkbox selected, and click the Next button.

When you see the congratulations screen, click Finish.

You’re done setting up Outlook Express on your PC.

(If you are prompted to download Mail folders, choose Yes, and click OK.)

Depending on where your mail is stored in Outlook Express, moving it can be very simple. If you have multiple mail folders in Outlook Express, you’ll have to create folders with the same names in your .Mac email account and then transfer the mail one folder at a time. Here’s how you transfer the saved mail in your Inbox.

With Outlook Express open, select the Inbox and choose Edit > Select All.

This selects all of the mail messages in your Inbox.

Drag the selected messages from your Inbox to the Inbox mailbox folder below the mail.mac.com account icon.

This will email all of the mail in your Inbox to the Inbox folder in your .Mac account—which is hosted on Apple’s .Mac servers.

Once you’ve transferred your mail to your Mac using this method, you’ll need to set up your .Mac email account.

Here’s how to set up Mail to connect to your .Mac account.

Choose System Preferences from the Dock or the Apple menu, click the Internet icon, and enter your .Mac member name and password in the .Mac tab of the Internet panel.

Click the Email tab, and make sure the “Use .Mac Email account” checkbox is selected.

Choose System Preferences > Quit System Preferences.

Open Mail, and click the Get Mail icon in the program’s toolbar.

Make sure that the mail you transferred is available on your Mac.

If you’re transferring more than 5 MB of mail using this method, you’re going to get an IMAP error message. It’s OK, though—no mail is lost, and everything that was sent before you got the message was copied successfully. To finish transferring the mail, you’ll need to open your .Mac account and transfer the mail to your local hard drive on your Mac before transferring more.

Here’s how to do that (on your Mac):

Open Mail by clicking its icon in the Dock or by double-clicking its icon in the Applications folder.

Create a new mailbox in Mail by choosing Mailbox > New Mailbox and then selecting On My Mac in the window that appears.

You need to give this mailbox a name, so call it something like “Mail from my PC,” and then click OK.

Select View > See Drawer to open the Mail drawer if it’s closed.

Select the messages you want to store on your Mac’s local hard drive in Mail’s In Mailbox, and then select Message > Transfer > the name of the mailbox you just created.

Mail moves those messages over to your hard drive.


Now’s a good time to delete any unwanted messages before you transfer them to your local hard drive. Just drag them to the Trash, or select them and click the Delete button in Mail’s toolbar.

Remove the transferred mail from your .Mac mailbox by selecting the messages and choosing Message > Delete or pressing the Delete key.

Choose Mailbox > Erase Deleted Messages, and then choose Mailbox > Rebuild Mailbox.

Now you have room in your .Mac account to copy more mail using the procedure above.

You can use the procedure to move mail from additional mailboxes on your PC to your Mac.

I am sorry that got a bit windy, but if you follow Apple’s instructions, it works just fine, and it may be the easiest way to migrate your mail from Outlook Express over to your Mac. If you happen to be using Outlook instead of Outlook Express, I’d probably just switch cold turkey and not move the mail over, or perhaps forward only the most important messages to a different email account, retrieving them on the Mac to transfer them. If you keep the PC around for a while you can make a gradual change, answering new mail from the Mac and old mail from the PC.

If you go into your mail settings and tell Outlook to allow your mail to remain on the server, both the PC and the Mac will receive all your mail. This can be confusing—What have I responded to?—but can also smooth the transition.

It will also highlight how well the Mac OS X Mail program’s spam filter works.

The Lazy Way to Move Email

There’s another way to move your mail from the Windows machine to your new Mac, and it appeals to the slacker in all of us.

At the first thought of moving your email, go to your Windows Mail control panel, click the E-Mail Accounts Button, and click the Next button to view or change existing accounts.

Next, select your email account, choose More Settings, and then select the Advanced tab.

At the bottom of the tab select “Leave a copy of messages on the server” as well as “Remove from the server after 10 days.” But change the 10 to 30.

You will now leave email on your mail server for a month. When you start your Mac and set up your existing email account, it will download the accumulated messages from your mailbox, giving you as much as a month’s worth of your old mail on your new Mac. Messages downloaded to your Mac will be deleted from your account.

Those are the instructions for Outlook users. The Outlook Express instructions are even easier: Select Accounts from the Tools Menu, choose your account from the Mail tab, and then make changes on the Advanced settings tab.

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