Moving to your new email account

Suppose everyone has known you for decades as That address appears in printed publications, in your comments on the Federal docket, a gazillion business cards floating around the world, and in your favorite great-auntie’s contact list (on AOL of course). The whole point of an email address is to keep in touch, but now you’re faced with the daunting prospect of notifying everyone. And what about all those email lists where you subscribe via your old, well-known address? Though you recognize the thick rich goodness of my advice to move to a new email account, you can’t get over the steep hump of the transition.

Have no fear! The modern mail systems make it easy for you to continue using your AOL account while you ease your way out of its walled garden. For example, you can move your activity to gmail, and instruct gmail to act as your front-end to AOL. This way you’ll see all your messages in gmail’s user interface (does a nice job with rich HTML formatting and attachments, convenient tools for handling high volume so you don’t need to bother with daily digests) even for those folks who send mail to your old AOL account.

  1. In the gmail front page, select “Settings” in the upper-right corner.
  2. In the “Settings” page, select the “Accounts” tab.
  3. In the “Get mail from other accounts” section, select “Add a mail account you own”.
  4. Tell gmail your AOL account (e.g. ““) and password.
  5. Gmail will send an email to your AOL account to verify you really do own it. The email will contain a secret numeric code that you need to bring back to gmail.

Other settings are available, but most of the defaults are fine for now:

  • You might want to select “Leave a copy of retrieved message on the server” until you are comfortable and ready to trust the setup.
  • For sure you should “Always use a secure connection (SSL) when retrieving mail”.
  • You can “Label incoming messages” if you’d like to keep track of how much traffic is coming from your old account.
  • Use “Archive incoming messages” once you’re comfortable with your gmail label (like folders) setups.

You can start publishing your new gmail address.
You will continue to receive mail sent to your old AOL address.

Now you can start changing all your email list subscriptions to your new mailbox. Stay tuned for more on that…

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