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How to Check e-Mail while Traveling

With increasing use of e-mail it is necessary to stay in touch even while traveling. The following tips may help - you might want to print this page and take it with you on the trip. Not every possible method is covered, and if you would like something added please send me a note.

Checking e-mail actually involves two basic steps:

Connecting to the Internet

To a large extent, the answer to this question depends on where you are, and what computer you are using. The following are some typical scenarios:

Checking e-Mail

Once you're connected to the Internet (as verified by connecting to some well known web sites), you can proceed to check your e-mail.

  • If you have access to a POP e-mail client such as Eudora or Outlook Express or Netscape Mail Client, it is a simple matter to re-configure the settings to the following: (In Eudora the settings are accessed under Tools -> Options. In Outlook Express they are accessed under Tools -> Accounts -> Properties)

        Username:  (your own username)
        POP (incoming) server:
        SMTP (outgoing) server:
        ("Allow Authentication" box should be "checked")
        Return address:  (your email address, e.g.
        Server Type (POP/IMAP):  POP3 (or POP)
    Note that the "Allow Authentication" box must ne "checked" in the email client settings in order to be able to send mail while off-campus. Also, if your email address is of the form then use "" as your incoming server in the settings.

    After the settings are changed as above, you can both read and send e-mail as you normally would. It is also possible to have dual e-mail settings so can have one icon (e.g.) for checking mail while at the UW, and another for out-of-town. This may be useful for those who have their own laptops.

    If you need to restore the original settings, please see the note titled How to configure your e-mail client.

  • If you have access to a Web Browser: There are many different ways in which you can check e-mail directly using a web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Netscape). The following description covers the specific examples of checking your mail via Physiology Webmail, UW Wiscmail or via

    • To check e-mail via the Physiology Webmail site: This is the preferred and most simple way to check your email while traveling, or using a public computer. Simply point any web browser to:

      and enter in your Physiology e-mail username and password to access your email. One nice feature of doing it this way is that your email stays on the server even after you read it, so that you will receive the same email again later when you are back at the office (assuming you do not delete it first).

      If you have difficulty accessing the Physiology webmail, then first try a different web browser or computer if possible, otherwise use one of the following other options.

    • To check e-mail via Wiscmail is a web based e-mail service available to all UW students and staff with a valid UW ID. It can be used quite effectively to check your e-mail via traveling, or even while in-town as an alternative to Eudora.

      Please be aware of some of the main restrictions of the Wiscmail service: It has an upper limit of 100 MB of storage, so not suitable if you receive lots of mail with large attachments. There is also a built-in time-out (about 30 minutes) so if you sit for a long time composing a long message it may kick you off (and you may have to start typing over). Finally, messages left for a long time may be purged.

      The first step is to activate your Wiscmail account (note that if you have been dialing in using the DoIT modem pool, or have or had a or account, then you probably already have a Wiscmail account and don't need to create it. If you don't have such an account, then create one by going to and clicking on the "Activate NetID" button in the lower left part of the main page there. You will need to enter your UW ID number and your date of birth.

      While traveling, use the following steps to check your Physiology e-mail:

      • Connect using any web browser to:
      • Enter your Wiscmail username (NetID) and password (note - these are usually not the same as your Physiology username and password).
      • It takes you to your "Inbox" page, otherwise click on the Inbox tab near the top left.
      • Click on the link labeled "Collect External Mail". A small window pops up.
      • Enter "" for the Pop server, enter your physiology username and password in the other fields, then click on the "Collect: button.
      • It then reads your Physiology mail and displays it as part of the web Inbox. For future visits it remembers the server and usernames (step (4)) so you don't have to re-enter those.

    • To check e-mail via is a web site that allows you to create a free account, and then use it to check e-mail addressed to either your address, or addressed to your or address. This makes it a valuable resource for checking your mail while on the road.

      The main limitation is that Yahoo allows a max. of 6 MB of total mail storage, after which incoming mail will be rejected. This can translate to several hundred short e-mail messages, or just one with a large attachement. The best use of Yahoo email is for temporary or occaisonal use, such as while traveling. Also be aware that Yahoo may cancel your account if you don't access it for three months or longer.

      I recommend that you try the following steps on your office computer before leaving town, in case there are any problems.

      The first step is create an email account at Yahoo. This is done quite simply by connecting to and clicking on the "Check Email" icon on the top row, and then clicking on "Sign Me Up" on the next screen. A few simple questions later you'll have a new mail address. The main point of interest here is that you will have to select a new username (which no one else has chosen before you). Thus, simple names are usually taken, and you may have to pick a combination of initials/lastname or something else. For the purpose of this discussion, if you select a username (or ID) of "BadBadger", then your Yahoo email address would be "". You will also have to select a password. It is probably best to write down the username that you selected, as you will need it every time you check your mail via

      The next step is to configure your Yahoo email account. You don't need to tell anyone about your yahoo address (unless you want to). The yahoo account can be used to read e-mail that is sent to your normal or address. This can be be done by either setting your mail to be forwarded automatically to the address, or by simply asking to check your physiology or facstaff mail when you need to. This section covers the latter case, since that is likely to be more useful.

      To configure your address to receive mail from or, proceed as follows:

      • Connect to using Internet Explorer or Netscape.
      • Click on "Check Email" and sign in using your Yahoo username and password.
      • Click on "Options" from the upper right of the screen (or from the menu on the left)
      • On the next screen, click on "Check Other (POP) Mail" from near the center of the display.
      • Click on "Add Mail Server". A form with several blank fields should appear.
      • In the "Mail Account Server" field, enter (or, enter if that is what you normally use for email). In the "Mail Account Username" field, enter your username for physiology (or facstaff), not the Yahoo username. In the "Mail Account Password" enter your password for your physiology or facstaff account. Uncheck the box marked "Leave mail on POP server". You don't need to change any of the other fields.
      • Use the "Back" button three times to return to the main Yahoo mail page, and notice that under the "Unread Messages" banner, there is a link that reads "Check Other Mail". Anytime you click on this link, Yahoo will transfer any new mail from the physiology (or facstaff) server to your Yahoo mail page, where it will appear as new Unread Mail.

      The above steps need to be done only once (typically before your departure).

      While traveling, use the following steps to check your e-mail via

      • Connect to using any web browser.
      • Click on the "Check Email" link from the top row.
      • Enter your Yahoo ID (username) and password on the next screen and click on "Sign In"
      • The next screen shows a summary on Unread Messages and available disk space. Just below the "Unread Messages" banner there is a link that reads "Check Other Mail". If you want Yahoo to check your physiology or facstaff e-mail then you must click on this link.
      • Clicking on the "Check Other Mail" brings up a new screen that shows the contents of your InBox, including any new e-mails from Physiology or Facstaff. You can click on the subject line of any any e-mail to read it.
      • As you read messages, it is a simple matter to reply/forward/delete etc. using buttons on the web page.

      It is worth noting that since we did not set auto-forwarding of our e-mail from Physiology or Facstaff to Yahoo, no special steps are required upon return. You can simply resume checking your mail in the normal way. The risk of overflowing your Yahoo mailbox is also reduced.

    • To check e-mail via other web sites: I will be adding this later.

If you have any comments or questions please send them by e-mail to
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This page last modified on : Apr. 26, 2004