Helpdesk Challenge – how to leave your AOL, BT or TalkTalk email account

by , Technology Researcher Computing Helpdesk 26/10/2013
ISP-Email1

Don’t let your AOL, BT or TalkTalk email account hold you back from switching broadband providers.

Switching to a free webmail account like Gmail or Outlook means that your email address will always remain independent of your broadband provider. This means you’ll never be tied to an ISP that offers slow speeds, poor service or pricey deals.

And the best news? Setting up a webmail account is free and easy to do – just follow our straightforward step by step guide.

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1. Sign up for a webmail account

Webmail step1

Start by choosing a free webmail service from one of the top providers. We’d recommend one of Yahoo! Mail, Gmail and Outlook.com as they’re all easy to use and regularly updated with useful new features.

We’re going to use Gmail as our example, so head to mail.google.com and, if you don’t already have a Google account, click the Create an account button in the top right.  Follow the remaining on-screen instructions until setup is complete.

2. Save your old emails

Webmail step2
Most ISP email accounts work using something called POP3. Basically, this means that your emails are downloaded from the provider’s servers and are stored on your PC. This is done via an email program such as Outlook Express or Windows Live Mail.

If this is the case for you, the simplest thing to do is leave your old emails where they are. Even if you eventually close your ISP account and deactivate your old address, you’ll still be able to browse your previously sent or received messages by opening the email program.

3. Migrate old emails to a new account

Webmail step3
In some cases, such as AOL, emails aren’t downloaded to your PC; they are stored in the cloud and will become inaccessible if you deactivate your account altogether. Don’t panic, you can get round this issue by migrating your old emails to your new webmail account.

For Gmail, use its Mail Fetcher tool. In Gmail, click the cog icon on the right, then choose Settings. Click the Accounts link then click to Add a POP3 mail account you own. Enter your old email address when prompted and follow the on-screen instructions.

4. Transfer your contacts

Webmail step4
Can’t be bothered to manually type all your contacts into a new webmail account? Good news, there’s almost always a way to transfer your whole address book in one go.

To export your contacts from Windows Live Mail, for example, click Contacts, then click the Export button and select Comma separated values (.CSV). Click Browse, give the file a name and save it to your desktop by clicking Save > Next > Finish.

To import them into Gmail, click Mail on the left and select Contacts. From the More menu, select Import > Choose File. Locate the CSV file and click Import.

5. Redirect mail to your webmail inbox


Webmail step6edit
If you’ve used the method outlined in Step 3 to migrate your old messages using Gmail’s Mail Fetcher tool, then any new emails sent to your old address will be automatically redirected to your webmail. Alternatively, most ISPs let you set up email forwarding – the method will vary depending on your ISP.

With BT Connect, for example, log in to BT.com, click Manage Services > Email Summary, then highlight your email address in the box, click Email Forwarding > Edit then enter your Gmail address and click Save > OK.

6. Further steps

Now you’ve got a shiny new email account it’s time to notify your friends of your new address and update your details on any online services you regularly use such as Amazon or your bank. Don’t forget to do this before you terminate your broadband contract; some services may send a verification to your old email address, so it will still need to be active.

More on this…

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How to switch broadband providers – a comprehensive guide
How to save money on your broadband – follow our script to get a better deal

6 comments

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Andrew Smith

I have, for a number of sites, used my e-mail address as user-name, as this seems to be suggested quite often. What would be the implications of changing to webmail in these cases, and how would the change be effected if necessary? Thank you.

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Leslie Appleyard

I changed from AOL as my ISP several years ago to BT and still retained several AOL email addresses. I didn’t do anything; just kept on using them as before. I’ve even downloaded the destop ap when I changed laptops. I’m guessing AOL need the advertising revenue to exist anyway so they wouldn’t want to loose ‘viewers’. A friend of mine did the same change a month or so ago from AOL to BT and he continues with his AOL email address.

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susan

I have just changed from AOl to BT, I have also just got a new computer. I wanted to keep my aol email address and I wondered if there is any simple way of just getting my aol mail sent to the Bt home page?

Otherwise do I have to keep logging onto aol every day to find my emails.

I don’t want to add loads of google, and outlook and other accounts to this new computer, just wondered if there was some simple way of re directing the mail? thanks

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David

AOL mail is a webmail product. As far as I understand it is independent of having AOL as your ISP. AOL Mail is just like Gmail or Hotmail.

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Charlie Cowen

I want to take aol mail off my P.C. as I am now using windows live mail but AOL keep bouncing me back and forth to different phone numbers.Every phone call sends me back to the original number with no resolution to my problem. Can anyone advise me how to get this system off my computer??

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Soosan

Gmail – I can’t find my in box! BT are closing my account in days and I’m lost trying to set up a new email address and migrate my emails. Help

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