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How do I separate emails I receive on a single account?


I have two email accounts in Outlook, one for myself, one for my son. Obviously they have different email addresses, but otherwise the details are the same (same ISP, same Username, same password, same pop and stmp servers etc.). Also, the inboxes are contained in different .pst folders.

I have also set up different Outlook Profiles for each of us, i.e. I modified the target command for each shortcut.

Now my question: Why can’t Outlook separate the emails properly? When my son clicks send/receive while his is in ‘his’ Outlook he receives my emails, too. Similarly, when I open my Outlook profile, I receive his emails, too.

I’m sure it must be related to the send/receive settings, possibly the definition of send/receive groups.

Well, you’re on the right track, that it’s related to your settings. But I also see a bit of a misunderstanding. A very common misunderstanding.

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The fact is, it’s the Username that defines what email you’re getting. Since you’re both using the same Username, you’re both getting the same email.

Have a look at this configuration dialog from Outlook 2003:

email configuration dialog

The User Name (and the associated password, of course) is what identifies you to your ISP. It’s that user name that your email has been sent to, and it’s that user name that your email has been collected for.

So what good is the email address field, you ask? That’s what gets put into the “From:” field of the email you send using this account. But that’s almost all it’s used for. In particular, it has very little to do with what happens to mail that’s received.

In your case, you may have two email addresses, yours and your sons, but if the Username is the same, then they’re both going to the same email account at your ISP.

So, how do you separate the email? There are three basic choices.

First, you can use “Rules” (Tools menu, Rules and Alerts… item) to automatically move the email into different folders as it arrives. Rules can pay attention to, and act on, the “To:” address on incoming email. Each of you will still be downloading each others email, but it’ll get placed into the appropriate folders based on who it was sent to. This isn’t a 100% solution, though, as many email lists don’t actually show you the email address that the mail was sent to.

The only real solution is to contact your ISP and set up a second “true” email account. That means a separate, different, User Name and password for each of you.

A third approach, that might even be easier, is to simply get one of you a separate, free, GMail account, which can be downloaded into your email client just like your current account.

Do this

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1 thought on “How do I separate emails I receive on a single account?”

  1. Running Vista SP1, I have separate email accounts through my ISP for my wife and I and a separate user id for her and it used to work just fine. Since we had Winmail jammed down our throats in Vista (please bring Outlook Express back!!) it doesn’t work any more, as you explain. If I download Mozilla Thunderbird to use myself and leave her on Winmail, will that work out?

    Don’t see why it wouldn’t.



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