I’m a PC person. I have an older Mac, and I like it (most of the time), but for the bulk of the work I do, the PC is a better fit. Someday I hope to have a fully equipped “bi-lingual” office… but for now I’m PC based.

And today I’m talking about Outlook (though the same principles apply regardless of your email client) and peace of mind.

Have you ever considered what would happen if you booted up your computer one day and discovered that the large file that has all of your Outlook items in it (it is called a .PST file) wouldn’t open? Scary thought, isn’t it?

You should be able to easily access all of the emails that others have sent you through your webmail account. If you don’t know how to do that, it should be high on your list of things to do. If your email address is through Gmail, MSN, Hotmail, Yahoo!, or AOL, you are probably used to logging into your account online.

If your email is through your domain, however, then you will have a different interface, depending on who is hosting your website. Some of them are pretty easy to work with. Some of them… well, not so much! If your website has cPanel access, hold onto your hat as you try to access your email through Horde, RoundCube, or SquirrelMail.

But wherever your primary inbox is, you need to be able to access it, so make sure you can. And if you need help with it, let me know and we’ll get you all fixed up.

So, now, in the event of a computer disaster, you can get to all the emails you have received, and can continue to receive emails… but what about all those emails you have sent? If you use an email client like Outlook, that is the only place they are.

What we are going to talk about today is how to make sure you can access those emails, as well. Here is the system I have set up to prevent an email disaster. There are two parts – Outlook and Webmail.

What to do in Outlook:

The first thing I did was to set up a Rule that added my email address to the CC: field of all outgoing emails.

Then, to manage those emails that began coming into my Inbox, I set up another rule that moves all emails that arrive from “me” to a separate folder.

One caveat on this: If you send yourself draft messages from your newsletter service, they will probably go into that folder, too, so just remember to look for them there if they don’t show up in your inbox!

What to do in Webmail:

Now you have all your email that is coming in from other people, as well as all the emails that you have copied yourself on, coming into your Webmail Inbox. If you are in disaster recovery mode, you will probably be pretty stressed, so it is a good idea to set things up ahead of time to make it easier for you to deal with when the time comes.

Most webmail services do not have “Rules” like Outlook. What they have are “Filters.” Create a folder for all your CC’d emails to go to, and then follow the prompts in the Filters function. You want to tell it to move all emails that arrive from “you” to that special folder. It is your “remote sent” folder.

The Gmail Solution:

Imelda Marcos had shoes. I have email addresses. When my Outlook crashes someday in the future, I don’t want to have to go to all those individual webmail accounts to recover my life! So I’ve created a Gmail solution.

I set up a Gmail account that is a mirror image of Outlook – it has all the email addresses that I use regularly coming into it. Then I set up a filter that identifies all those CC’d emails. Now I have my recovery email system all set up and ready to go.

The added benefit to this is that I now have this one email address that I can access on my phone and tablet that has everything in it. Everything that comes in AND everything that has gone out.

Hope this helps you. I know I’m sleeping better at night!!

And as always, leave me your comments below and let me know if you need any clarification or help!