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Forwarding your Mail Automatically

If your are anything like me your probably have several different email accounts. You may have a Yahoo mail account, an account yakko, a class account, a university mail account, and any number of other accounts where you can receive mail. One of the most basic things you can do with a mail account is forward it somewhere else. If you do not want to have to check your mail on every machine than you are going to need to forward your mail automatically to one account. Every mail system has its own way of doing it. However, if you have an account on a Unix-type operating system than there is one simple way of doing it.

Unix-type systems will look for a file called ".forward", without the quotes. This file will the mail system that you want your mail sent somewhere else. The most basic thing you can do is to just put a single email address into the file. Once you save the file any future mail your receive will be silently forwarded to whatever address is in the file. Please note: if the address is invalid than your mail will bounce back to the sender as undeliverable. As a result you are going to want to test your new forward by sending yourself some email. You can send if from a mail program on the Unix-type machine or you can send one from another account. It is entirely up to you, the system won't care. Honest. :-)

Although this file is fairly limited in what it can do there are a few other features. First, if you enter a series of email address that are separated by commmas than the mail system will forward your mail to each of those address. More importantly though you can use the ".forward" file to forward your email to another account but still keep a copy on the local machine. In order to do this your simply enter something like the following: ",\username". The backlash tells the mail system that this is not an ordinary email address and the mailsystem understand that you are giving it a username on the current system. This feature is usually use if you only want to forward a copy of your mail and don't want the current system to lose it.