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November 10, 2018
More than 20 years ago we had but one choice for ISP, Comcast. We foolishly elected to use Comcast for our email. Over time we have become “absorbed” by Comcast (think Star Trek’s Borg) with services including not only Internet but also cable TV & phone. The monthly bills have become too much & we are ready to abandon Comcast & go with the new kid on the block, Fios (they have laid fiber optic along our street), for Internet connectivity only. TV channels will be accessed via various streaming services like Hulu. (Our daughter & son-in-law have elected this & reaped considerable savings & connection speeds).
The problem is our long-ago foolish choice establishing email identities as [XXX].comcast.net. It’s daunting enough to notify familiar correspondents like our friends/associates of new Gmail addresses, but REALLY terrifying to imagine all other connections we will inevitably forget & the consequences of missing that important once-a-year notification from [Y] or that friend we’ve not corresponded with in 3 years.
My research into switching to Gmail at this point suggests:
- Comcast will continue to allow use of their email server & identity as long as we login to their website & email once every 9 months (subject to our memory lapses & Comcast’s not changing their rules)
- Comcast will “forward” email to another address if we ask (again subject to Comcast not changing their rules, & I suspect they will not be sympathetic to former customers if there is a problem)
I CAN fathom a change to Gmail by notifying correspondents using the tools above & my limited memory/diligence. A major issue, however, will be keeping/transferring previous emails. I don’t think Comcast maintains a substantial history, but my email client (Mozilla’s Thunderbird) does on my WIN10 desktop (which history I access frequently for both my personal & consulting business needs). Adding to the complication – my wife uses Apple’s email client.
- Do you have suggestions to add to the two above?
- Is there a way to use our client email address lists to facilitate notification of our new Gmail addresses?
- How will I transfer my email history to Gmail?
First of all, don’t beat yourself up about choosing comcast.net email address. It was a perfectly reasonable choice 20 years ago.
Today – I agree, an @gmail.com address is a good choice. But, if you already have a custom domain like Stovall.com – you may want to use that for your email address. Gmail can still be your inbox. See this article of mine for more detail on that.
Gmail’s inbox is surprisingly good at importing email and contacts from other systems. You should be able to use the Account options (Gear icon) and Settings, Accounts and Import, Import mail and contacts – to get the current content of your comcast account as well as that which is stored in Thunderbird as well.
You’re still looking at quite a process for both you and your wife to get your emails changed. That’s great that Comcast will let you use their email – but still you want to embark on a process that will allow you to close that account eventually. You should be able to set up an auto-responder on your comcast.net account that sends a reply to every incoming email saying that your address has changed.
I recommend writing up a checklist and keeping it somewhere that you will always have it (Google keep or Google Docs) so you have a written plan of the steps you’re going to take and when each one gets done.
For an overall plan, I agree with everything in this Lifehacker article: How to Change Your Email Address Without Screwing Everything Up
Hope that helps