How to Access Old Emails

By Analise DeCuba

Most of us do one of two things when it comes to emails we've read: We delete them or we archive them. That is fine until your need to find those old emails. Finding old emails depends on what kind of email service you are using. The two most popular types of email providers are online providers and computer-based providers. The most popular online providers are Gmail, Yahoo! and MSN. The most used computer-based provider is Microsoft Outlook. The difference lies in where the emails are stored. Online providers store them online, while computer-based providers store old emails on your hard drive.

Online Email Providers

Step 1

Log into your account and take note of the left-hand navigation. Most online email providers divide your emails into the following categories: "Inbox," "Sent," "Draft," "All" and "Trash."

Step 2

Check your "Inbox." This might seem elementary, but not everyone adheres to the zero-inbox philosophy. And unless you archive incoming emails, you might have more than a few pages of old emails in your "Inbox" to sift through.

Step 3

Click on the "All Mail" link and scroll through the pages of emails until you find the ones you are looking for. The "All Mail" category stores all the mail you have received.

Step 4

Click on the "Trash" link. You could scroll through the pages of deleted emails, but this will probably be the most dense concentration of old emails on your account. If you remember the email address of the sender--or even the subject--you can use the "Search" field, typically located to the left of the screen, to find the emails.

Step 5

Click on the "Sent" link. If you think you might have responded to the old emails you are looking for, there will be a copy of the original email attached to your reply. The "Sent" pages will be as numerous, if not more so, than the "Trash" pages, so use the "Search" capabilities to locate your old emails.

Computer-Based Email Providers

Step 1

From your desktop, double click your "My Computer" icon.

Step 2

Double click your "C:" drive icon. This will open a new window.

Step 3

Double click the "Documents and Setting" folder.

Step 4

Double click the folder with the same label as your user name; your user name is the name you used when setting up your profile or when you first set up your computer.

Step 5

Double click the "Local Settings" folder.

Step 6

Double click the "Application Data" folder.

Step 7

Double click the "Identities" folder. This will bring up a subfolder of identities. Your identity is the user name you use in conjunction with your Outlook account.

Step 8

Double click the appropriate identity folder. This will bring up a folder labeled "Outlook Express."

Step 9

Double click the "Outlook Express" folder. This will open a folder filled with every email you received, regardless of whether you deleted it. All of the emails will end with a .dbx extension. Select your emails, copy them and open them in the "Notepad" program.