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How Can I View Two Different Email Accounts at Once in a Browser?

Question: I’m using Windows 7 and I want to keep my two Yahoo email addresses open just like on my cell phone. But when I sign into the second Yahoo email, it signs me out of the first. Ideally, I want both to be open when I turn on the computer so I can view both at any time.

Surprisingly, this is a common desire. Many people have more than one email address these days. You can use a couple of approaches to do this.

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Switch to Gmail

I know you’re asking about Yahoo, but Gmail does this natively. If you click the icon in the upper right of your Gmail web page, you will get the option to “add another account”. What that really means is “login to an additional account”.

Gmail Add Account Link

You can use that to login to another Gmail account at the same time. Typically it will open another tab so you can have your primary Gmail account on one tab and the other Gmail account on the new tab.

Open two different browsers

With accounts or services that don’t actually allow you to do that, the options get a little bit weirder.

In the past, the most common approach to this problem was to use two different browsers. The cookies that determine who’s logged in are kept in separate pools for each browser, so you could have your primary Yahoo account open on one browser (say Internet Explorer) and your other Yahoo account open in another browser (say Chrome). That’s a very effective way to solve the problem and probably the approach that I’ll recommend that you try first.

And any of the browsers will do: IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, and others. The important thing is that they all keep a separate pool of cookies and their own state, so that they don’t realize that you’re logged into another account in another browser.

Fire up a virtual machine

You can do the same thing with virtual machines. It’s the equivalent of having another computer at your desk that would have another instance of a browser with its own pool of cookies and state information.

Get private (mode)

I don’t know if this will work for every email service, but you might want to try the private browsing feature of your browser.

Every browser calls this something different (InPrivate browsing in Internet Explorer, Private window in Firefox, Incognito mode in Chrome, but there are other terms associated with it). It’s normally selected when you don’t want to save history and cookies or cache after you’re done with the browsing session, but  it seems to work with its own pool of state information. You may be able to login to Yahoo on your main browser session, fire up an “in private” window, and login to another Yahoo account in that other window.

Give that a try. It may not always work. I throw it out with a little hesitation, but it’s worth trying.

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11 comments on “How Can I View Two Different Email Accounts at Once in a Browser?”

  1. What do you ,mean by ‘open?’

    I use live mail (used to be outlook express.)

    I can view and write to as man accounts as I wish.

    Add account likr gmail.

  2. Rather than use a browser on my computer, I use the email client Thunderbird. With IMAP I get full access to all my email folders. And bypass the limitations on Yahoo mail.

    • Hmmm…. just had an interesting thought after reading your comment. My desktop uses Thunderbird with POP access to the three email accounts which I use and monitor. I never loaded Thunderbird on my laptop because I want all the email on my desktop computer, where it will get backed up.

      So when I travel, I’m always logging into these different email accounts using the webmail site offered by the ISP. and then my wife has Yahoo email to check. The web interface is not as easy as checking all the email with Thunderbird. And then there’s the address book problem.

      Why could I not put Thunderbird on my laptop and set up all the email accounts like I have on my desktop, except set them for IMAP instead of POP? I’d be able to check my email while I travel, and still be able to download the important emails to my desktop for backup purposes when I get home. I’d also have access to my address book by simply copying it to my laptop before hitting the road.

      That should work, shouldn’t it?

        • But if I use IMAP everywhere, doesn’t that mean that the mail is still on the mail server? Two of the four email accounts are Yahoo! the other two are with an ISP. I’d have to check the ISP mail quota to see how much they allow; I doubt I’d have an issue with the two Yahoo! accounts.

          • James,
            The “master” copy stays on the server. But you are able to delete things from your email clients. All the same, it’s still a good idea to log into your online accounts from time to time just to check how things are. In the case of accounts like Yahoo, you need to log in occasionally so that Yahoo knows you are using the account.

          • Yes, IMAP leaves email on the server – it’s best thought of as an additional mirror of what’s on the server. The good news, though, is that if you delete email from the IMAP folders they’re deleted on the server. One way of managing this, depending on your email program, is to create some local folders that are not associated with an email account and move mail there.

      • Thunderbird and most other email programs also have the option of leaving the mail on the server after downloading it using POP3. It has the disadvantage of not synchronizing the deleted and moved files, and it can’t be used for uploading to your email server. An advantage of POP3 and leaving the mail on the server is that if you accidentally delete an email on one computer, it won’t delete it on the server and the other computers as will IMAP.

  3. Good day. I have an outlook account on my pc but want to view and send my emails from my laptop as well. I have my personal email on laptop but must use my outlook for business emails. Would really appreciate advice, need to set up asap

  4. I’ve read what you are saying, but this weekend my sister was at my house and on her yahoo I saw on the right hand side of her screen she had both her email accounts at one time. I asked how did she do that, because like you said above, in the right hand corner when I click there it just takes me to my other account that I have added. She responded with a few years ago there was an upgrade that asked her if she wanted to add any accounts and she did, both her second yahoo account and her gmail account. Now anytime she gets a message they all show up in once place in yahoo. Was this an option at once or just a glitch? I can’t find this anywhere. That seemed like a really cool feature and not sure why they took that away. And unfortunately, she is not “into” computers at all, so she could never say how it happened.


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