IT’S GEEK TO ME: Changing email providers Part 2

IT’S GEEK TO ME: Changing email providers Part 2

Geek Note: This is part 2 of a 2-part column that was started last week. If you missed the first part, you can read it on my website at (not .com!)

Question: I am changing email carriers. How do I move all my old emails from to my new Gmail account?

– Spouse P.

Bluewater Bay, Florida

Answer: The question started last week was based around Cox Communications trying to move all its customers off its email server and onto Yahoo! Mail. Spouse Peripheral’s issue is not related to Cox. She has an account on, and wants to change mostly because they established themselves as a free e-mail provider, then out of the blue began to charge for their service. There’s certainly nothing special about their e-mail that makes it worth paying $5.99 per month when there are so many free options out there. So for her, moving to a different service is kind of a no-brainer. Like those moving from Cox to another service, she just wants to not lose her e-mail history that she’s accrued over her years with her soon-to-be former provider.

A properly configured, modern e-mail account uses the Internet Message Access Protocol, or IMAP to communicate between the device you use to read and send e-mail, and the provider’s e-mail server. Unlike older methods, which used the Post Office Protocol, or POP, IMAP keeps all of the e-mail on the provider’s server, to include your defined folders that you might use to organize old e-mails. This is very desirable because it makes an identical view of your e-mail available on any device you choose. You can create, move, or delete e-mails on any device, and immediately see the changes on any other device.

When switching e-mail providers, the goal is to get all these e-mails from your old provider’s server to that of your new provider. The exact method for completing the move depends on whether you’re fully utilizing IMAP, or if you’re using a robust client such as Microsoft Outlook to manage your e-mails.

Since Cox is recommending Yahoo! Mail to replace their service, they’ve greased the skids for you in the transition, so we’ll start there. You don’t even need to pre-setup an account at Yahoo! to get started. Visit and as a username, enter your full e-mail address from Cox, including the suffix. Also use your password from Cox. You’ll be asked to accept the Yahoo! Mail Terms of Service, and upon signing in, you’ll need to set up a new password for Yahoo!. At this point, I recommend you log out, then log back in, just to ensure the account and all your passwords are correctly set-up. After this initial login, Cox and Yahoo! will exchange all of your emails, contacts and files. Be patient, it can take 24-48 hours before you see your e-mails appear in your Yahoo! Mail account.

If you’re using Outlook, or another e-mail client with Cox, you probably have already received an e-mail with instructions on how to proceed. Most importantly, this e-mail will contain a hyperlink that you must click to complete the transition.

If you’re using Gmail, they’ve made it easy to import e-mail data from your current server. To proceed, click the gear icon in the upper-left corner of Gmail. Don’t mistake this for the gear icon in your browser! Gmail has its own distinct, large white gear icon. Next, click “See all settings” and at the top of the pane, click “Accounts and Import”. Scroll down to find “Import mail and contacts:” and click the link. This will launch a wizard that should guide you through the rest of the process. Note that Gmail uses the POP interface to a mail server to perform its import, and you’ll need to be able to supply the server’s access information as well your account and password for Gmail to access it. Some of this information can be tricky, so if you don’t know such things as the server address, port number, or whether the server uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), you should contact the provider before proceeding to obtain that information. Other than that, just follow the prompts in the Wizard to complete the import.

It would be nigh impossible for me to cover every contingency for every possible e-mail provider. No matter what provider you’re moving from or to, my best advice is to carefully read all the provided prompts and not rush to get through it. Nothing good can come from being in too big a hurry

To view additional content, comment on articles, or submit a question of your own, visit my website at (not .com!)

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