Email can be an extremely helpful tool if you can avoid the typical issues most users occasionally run into. We use email for everything from staying in contact with our loved ones to performing business transactions and interaction. Do you want to send a message to a group in the most time-efficient manner? Send a quick “hello” to someone in Ireland? Share special memories through pictures, videos, and music? It is easy to see why this form of communication has become so important to our society. Avoiding the problems that the average email user encounters will make your digital world less stressful, and more enjoyable.
The problems associated with email have caused most people heartburn at one time or another. If you are trying to send a picture to your children, but you keep getting errors, you understand the frustration. How about the inability to open an email attachment? Talk about annoying! There is good news for you though. With some patience and willingness to learn, you can solve the most common of your e-mail issues. The following sections detail a couple of the most common e-mail issues, and the information you need to solve them:
Usual Suspect #1: Internet Connectivity Issues
One of the main problems a typical email user will run into is the loss of internet connectivity. You may not know it at the time, but when you receive a failure notification upon attempting to send or obtain your email, the problem could very well be due to a loss of your connection to the internet.
How to Solve Internet Connectivity Issues
If, while attempting to send or receive an email, you see a notification that says something like “There was a failure to connect” or “No Connection”, this is more than likely referring to an issue with your internet connection, not with your email application itself. The first thing you should do is check your physical connection. It may sound elementary, but one of the most typical issues IT helpdesk employees run into is physical issues. This is why the IT helpdesk professional’s first question is always “Is it plugged in?”
Check all of your internet connection cables. If you happen to have dial up internet, you can plug your phone into the internet port and listen for high-pitched dialing noises. If you do not hear this, call you internet service provider (ISP) immediately, as this may very well be a problem with their internet service. If you do hear the dial tones, plug your computer back in and make sure all cords are fully and securely placed in the appropriate outlets. Often, a cord that is not plugged all the way in is the problem. If you still have an issue with connectivity at this point, the problem may be in the phone cord you are using. This is a common issue as the tiny wires inside a phone cable are fragile and could be severed if moved around frequently.
Physical internet connectivity issues are a common problem with dial-up modem internet, but these issues can happen with broadband internet as well. A loose or poorly connected cable, in the case of broadband, an Ethernet cable, is a very common issue. If you are ever in doubt, unplug all cables, wait 30 seconds and plug everything back in. When doing this, first shut your computer down. Then follow the following steps:
Step 1) After the computer is completely turned off, unplug all peripherals such as your keyboard, mouse and printer.
Step 2) Next, unplug your Ethernet (internet) cable. This is the cable that looks like a slightly larger phone cable. You may be plugged into a router. If so, unplug your computer from the router, then unplug your router from wherever it is connected.
Step 3) Unplug the power source for your computer.
Step 4) Wait for thirty seconds
Step 5) Reconnect the power source for your computer, but DO NOT turn the computer on yet.
Step 6) Now, reconnect all Ethernet cables.
Step 7) Reconnect your peripherals
Step 8) Turn your computer back on
It may be surprising, but this tends to fix the majority of internet connectivity issues associated with DSL or broadband connections.
Tip for Outlook Express Users: If you are constantly being kicked off the internet and reconnecting, this could be the result of a setting that you may not be aware of. In Outlook Express, there is a “Hang up when finished” option that may be enabled. If the box in front of this setting is checked, the connection will cut out every time you finish sending or receiving your emails. Just uncheck the box next to this option to fix this problem.
There are other things that could potentially be preventing you from connecting to the internet, but these are the most common, and should prevent a headache for you at some point during your email journey.
Usual Suspect #2: Returned Email Messages
A message “failure to send” notification can be one of the most stressful occurences during your emailing life. It is extremely frustrating when you take the time to create and edit an email to send to a friend or loved one, only to be let down by this message of failure. Often, this message will say something like “Failure Notice: This Email Did Not Reach It’s Intended Recipient”. Take a deep breath, try not to get to stressed, and lets work through this together!
How to Solve Email Sending Failure Issues
First, make sure that you have correctly typed in the email address of your intended recipient. We all make this mistake every now and then. If this is your problem, it is an easy fix. If you know the persons email address, this is a straightforward matter of double-checking each character in the address for accuracy. If you are not 100% sure, you will need to figure out a way to verify the correct address.
The problem could also be with the recipient of the email. If you have sent emails to this person in the past, and you know you are sending it to the same address, but you are still getting the failure notices, it is more than likely an issue that is out of your control. The best approach to this situation is to call the person and inform them of this potential issue. The reason could just be a temporary issue with the recipient's email service. If so, you may want to wait for 30 minutes or so, then attempt to resend your message.
Quick Tip: If you send an email and receive a failure notice, but you want to try to send it again, you do not have to retype the whole email! Simply locate your “Sent” folder and find the message you attempted to send. Once you find the email, open it and highlight your message (or hold down Ctrl key and A). When all of the text is highlighted, go to Edit > copy (or hold down Ctrl key and C). Next create a new email, and go to Edit > paste (or hold down Ctrl key and V). This should save you a lot of time and rework!
The two “Usual Suspect” issues detailed in this article are very common problems for the majority of email users. Using the solutions detailed above, you can save yourself time and stress, which will in return create a more enjoyable email experience!