How to Get Messages From Old Email Addresses

Updated April 17, 2017

Changing e-mail addresses happens to almost everyone at some point. College students tend to move on to adult e-mail addresses once they leave school, and employees may need to change e-mail addresses each time they change employers. Some people use the email addresses provided by their Internet service provider, so when they change providers, they change e-mail addresses. Fortunately, just as with postal mail, you can have your e-mail forwarded for you after you move to a new e-mail address, while you update people and business contacts with your new information.

Open and log on to the mail client of your old e-mail address or addresses, such as for Yahoo! Mail Plus and for Google. Most e-mail providers, including colleges and Internet service providers, offer a Web mail client for people who choose not to or do not know how to use an e-mail downloader program such as Outlook. If your employer or university does not provide a Web mail client, you may need to consult the email service provider for specific instructions regarding how to forward your e-mail.

Look for the email Options or Settings. Gmail uses "Settings," Yahoo! Mail Plus uses "Options" and Hotmail uses "Options." Inside the Options or Settings menu look for the "Email Forwarding" category or choices. E-mail forwarding works just like regular mail forwarding does offline: Your e-mail service will send your e-mail messages from your old address to the new address for as long as you want to keep receiving them.

Enter the new e-mail address you are moving to. No matter what e-mail service you use, the Forwarding section will ask you what that address is. Enter that e-mail address where you see the prompt. There may be additional options for you to select, such as how long you want the email forwarded, whether you want to leave a copy of the email in your old account and whether or not you have additional e-mail addresses you want to forward the mail to. Some clients, such as Yahoo! Mail Plus, may require you to enter a verification code to confirm that you are the owner of the new e-mail addresses before you are allowed to forward the messages.

Select the appropriate forwarding options for your situation and then press "OK," "Accept" or whatever appropriate response will save your changes. Be aware that unless you requested a specific time limit, your e-mail will continue to forward as long as the old e-mail address remains active, so if you want to disable the forwarding at some point in the future, you will have to return to the old address to do it. Additionally, if your e-mail address will expire in the near future, such as a college address facing deactivation a few months after you leave the college or a business address cancelled shortly after your resignation, you will no longer receive forwarded e-mail messages once the original account has closed.


Be aware that although your free Web mail service may provide e-mail forwarding, some clients, such as Yahoo! Mail, require you to pay for an upgraded level of service before the feature becomes available.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Internet connection
  • 2 e-mail addresses
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About the Author

Shannon Reynolds has been writing regularly since 1999, and received her first editing job for "Perceptions" magazine in 2008. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and literature from Southwest Minnesota State University. She currently attends Antioch University where she'll earn her Master of Fine Arts in poetry.