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Issue #196: April 24, 2011

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Q: I started having a problem with OE in that I cannot send or forward emails. The problem is on my laptop and also my desktop. Can receive ok on both. This happened almost overnight. I called OE and they said that it was my provider’s problem, so I called them and, of course, they said it was OE’s problem. Your thoughts? I am sending this note via webmail that I have started using due to the OE problem. But….my wife does not like change (bless her heart) and right now she is not a happy camper.  Love your columns and the way you put your solutions together so us seniors can understand them.  

– Jerry L.
Crestview, Fla

A: Well thanks for the kind words, Jerry.  I try to put most columns together so that everyone can understand and learn from them, and when I don’t do that, I try and warn you that what follows will be too Geeky for beginners.  But, on to your question… 

My thoughts are that since the same problem started simultaneously on two previously working computers, something must have changed in how your Internet Service Provider (ISP) protects their e-mail server from being used to send SPAM.  It is possible that your e-mail has never been correctly set-up, but was working until your ISP closed the hole.  That’s just a guess, of course, as you didn’t give me much to go on.  Your ISP can blame OE all they want, but I assure you that nothing has changed in that software, so the problem MUST be related to either the ISP’s server configuration, or your OE settings.  I imagine that the provider considers any settings problem to be an “OE” problem, and that Microsoft considers any settings problem to be a “provider” problem.  I tend to side with Microsoft on this issue (a rarity for me).  OE is working properly given the information with which it was configured. 

I suggest you contact your ISP again, and ask them to provide you with instructions on how to configure OE for use with their e-mail server.  Specifically, you want to know the outgoing mail server name, whether it requires authentication, what are the server port numbers, and whether the server requires a secure connection.  Once you have this information, go to OE, and select the Tools menu, then Accounts…  Select your e-mail account, and click “Properties”.  You’ll get either a set-up wizard, or a dialog with tabs across the top.  Step through the pages until you get to the ones that have the above fields, and verify that everything is correct.  Fix what’s not.  Since incoming mail seems to be working, I wouldn’t change anything there.  Concentrate on the configuration for outgoing mail only. 

If you do all of the above, and can’t find any problems, consider adding the account over again from scratch, and seeing if you can make it work that way.  If you just can’t get access to it, call back to the ISP for help, and don’t take “no” for an answer.  They shouldn’t be in such a hurry to get you off the phone without solving your problem!  But, be prepared with an error message or a very good description of what is going wrong.  Rarely does software just “not work” – it almost always gives an error message that you should be prepared to share WORD FOR WORD with whomever you ask for help.

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