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I’ve Moved Everything to GMail – Here’s Why

Gmail LogoI’ve been using Thunderbird as my email client for ages – years – and I’ve always been very happy with it.

But last weekend a wave of emails containing the JS/Redir virus starting hitting me (and they’re still hitting me now).

AVG spotted the virus (which was good) but couldn’t get rid of it (not so good).

So I ended up spending a good deal of time over the weekend getting rid of this thing manually. It was quite a tortuous process, too.

I won’t bore you with the details, but it involved disabling the Windows restore point function, tracking down the specific file (thanks to AVG), doing a secure (10 repetition) delete on it (thanks to TuneUp Utilities), installing another virus cleaner (PC Tools) and doing repeated scans with PC Tools, Malwarebytes and AVG.

And I finally got the bugger 🙂

But since I was getting hit by a wave of emails with this virus, I had to go through that process each time. Which means my weekend was pretty unproductive!

I’ve often worried about having a fall back plan for my email client. I back everything up, of course, but beyond that I never had a real fall back plan.

What can Gmail do for me?

But this incident pushed me into action. In an attempt to keep that nasty little brat off my machine I suddenly thought: what can Gmail do for me?

I’ve had a Gmail account for years and I know a lot of people who swear by it, but I’d never given it much thought.

But, lo and behold, I found there’s quite a lot it can do for me.

I’ve now set it up as my email client.

It accesses and downloads mails from my email servers, it automatically uses the address to which the incoming email was sent as the ‘from’ address for outgoing replies, and it sends outgoing emails through my servers.

So people exchanging emails with me have no idea I’m using Gmail (unless they read this, of course!).

One downside is that there’s a limit to the number of email addresses it will download mail from (currently 5). As I had 7 email addresses I was using for different things, I had to do some rationalisation – which was probably a good thing!

And I know I’m still getting those nasty emails because Gmail keeps telling me it’s left some mails on my server because they contain a virus.

Which is exactly what I was trying to achieve.

So I’m quite impressed.

It will also make roaming much simpler. With Thunderbird I had to change my outgoing SMTP server settings whenever I roamed outside Hong Kong. No need with Gmail because everything’s through-the-browser.

All-in-all then, that virus did me a favour. Which I’m sure was not the intention of whichever scum-bag started sending it out in the first place.

Cheers,

Martin Malden

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Eric Buckley 2 September, 2010, 9:16 pm

    What a chore dude! Gmail is a good choice. The only trouble is that they do go down from time to time. At least you won’t have to deal with the Hong Kong ISP SMTP server issues any longer.

    I have been consolidating to Gmail as well but have not yet fully made the full transfer yet. I also moved away from AVG and MacAfee AV as I was still having issues. I have found that MS SE (Microsoft Security Essentials) has been finding issues other utilities could not.

    Malwarebytes is a great tool as is HijackThis. The latter look at registry entries installed that are operational on your computer. It helped me to remove a few issues as well.

    Hope things will be back to normal for you soon.

    Cheers.

    • Martin 2 September, 2010, 10:29 pm

      Thanks Dude,

      Pretty much back to normal now. I’ve imported all my contact details and sorted out the forwarding for the extra email addresses (over and above the 5 POP’s they allow you). I’m really very pleased with it all now.

      Just finished adding some functions to the custom functions file that places targetted banner ads on posts that are either tagged with specific tags or within specific categories.

      So, for example, all posts that are tagged as either Thesis, or themes, now display a banner for Thesis. Posts in the IM category now display a banner for Third Tribe.

      And now my brain is truly fried..! 🙂

      Catch up soon,

      Cheers,

      M.

  • Angiel 3 September, 2010, 8:26 am

    That virus sounds nasty, Martin. I’ve been meaning to give Gmail a go too. One thing I’ve been looking for is the ability to pre-schedule emails. Any chance of that with “G”? And that 5 address limitation…too bad. Thankfully, I’ve never had any real problems with Thunderbird…

    • Martin 3 September, 2010, 9:22 am

      Hi Angie,

      I honestly don’t know whether you can pre-schedule emails in Gmail – I’ve never thought to look for that – sorry!

      Yes – the 5 POP addresses is a bit of a limitation, but I’ve managed to re-direct my additional emails in a way that’s logical so I’m not too fussed about that now.

      And yes – T’Bird is still great – I’m not knocking T’Bird at all. It was the fact that AVG couldn’t get rid of the virus that caused the problem.

      Interestingly I read a post from Matt Cutts today in which he said he’s now keeping all his stuff entirely in the cloud and, I have to say, that even just moving around different parts in HK (and using different PC’s), being able to access all my email quickly and easily is proving to be a real bonus.

      As Eric touched on above, when I travel out of HK I have to re-set my SMTP servers if I’m using an email client (not just T’Bird), so international roaming is going to be a gazillion percent less hassle. 🙂

      Cheers,

      Martin.

  • David Bain 6 September, 2010, 9:32 pm

    I’ve used Gmail for about 4 years now and I’m very happy with it. The thing that’s easy to forget about is how well it deals with SPAM – I can’t remember the last time I had to search my Junk mail for a personal message which shouldn’t have been there.

    • Martin 6 September, 2010, 10:19 pm

      Hi David,

      Yep – I’m very happy with it as well, although I’ve only been using it for just over a week.

      The thing I love about the Spam protection is that it’s smart enough to leave emails with viruses in attachments on the server. That way the viruses never make it onto my machine – the best protection of all 🙂

      Another thing I was impressed by: I sent an email this morning with an attachment but forgot to attach the file. Gmail recognised the words ‘I’ve attached a file’ in my message and alerted me to the fact that I’d not attached it. Very neat – almost eerie..!

      Cheers,

      Martin.

  • Pam 9 November, 2010, 9:30 am

    Hi Martin,
    When you say you use Gmail do you log on through Gmail or Google Chrome? I currently use Windows Live Mail, but my email addresses are through my websites and msn. I would like to try gmail for the reasons you mentioned, but not sure what platform you use it through.
    Thanks,
    Pam

    • Martin 9 November, 2010, 9:57 am

      Pam, hi,

      I log on with my Google account details on any browser, any PC, anywhere, starting with iGoogle.

      I use a lot of Google services (Adwords, Webmaster Tools, Feedburner, YouTube, Reader, etc) and they’re all accessed via my Google account.

      The beauty is that I can access everything from everywhere, even on a public PC if I have to.

      So all those hassles with roaming are a thing of the past 🙂

      Hope you guys are keeping well!

      Cheers,

      Martin.