Ok, this question simply dumbstruck me with its improper assumptions that I felt necessary to respond...

Question:

Hi, I just started working at a new startup company that does all their email via an IIS server, POPing into outlook express. I would really prefer to not have to use outlook express, but I can't find any way to have my email here forwarded to the email address I regularly use (someusername@gmail.com). Or rather, I can have outlook express do the forwarding, but then I still have to go to it, log in, and send/receive.

Is there any way to have our IIS server auto-forward my emails somewhere else?

thanks very much for any help

Answer:

From a legal standpoint, I suggest you comply with your employer's configuration and use Outlook Express to check work email. The moment you work for someone else and handle someone else's property (email sent to your company account is company property, not your property), you have to play by their rules or else face consequences. Forwarding company property to an outside account is generally viewed as a no-no.

From a personal standpoint, I advise against using work email for personal use and vice versa. If you keep thing separate, it is much easier to organize your work/life balance. For example, if you leave the startup, you don't want your non-work friends still sending to your account at the startup. Likewise, you don't want your coworkers sending email to your personal account. Thus, I would never recommend the sort of forwarding that you are asking about.

I think you are trying to "organize" your life by having all email addresses forward email to one account so that you can check it all via one GMail client interface. Unfortunately, GMail does not support that scenario and probably never will. Why?

Because fundamentally, GMail is an email service with a web UI and NOT an email client. The sort of organization you want is best done with an email client like Outlook Express which can easily POP against GMail and any other POP servers and provide one consolidated view of all those accounts. Forwarding email around is just a horrible poor-man's hack.

For example, I run Outlook Express to get a single consolidated view of all my email accounts at yahoo, hotmail, and Gmail as well as Newsgroup posts. This is what email clients are good at; this is not what an email service does.

In other words, your desire to use GMail interface to check email has two major stumbling blocks:

  1. Your desire of user interface is irrelevant when it comes to corporate policy. If you don't like the policy, either get it changed or don't work there. If you violate policy, don't be surprised at the consequences.
  2. What you want to do is really not supported by GMail. GMail does not currently support POPping from other POP servers, which is what you actually want to do because you want to use the GMail interface but against non-GMail email source. I somewhat doubt this will ever happen because it would break search and other GMail features against the non-GMail email source.

Basically, since GMail does not support what you want to do, I think you started looking at other methods to get email into that account... and that was when you started wondering about forwarding from another POP client or forwarding from the SMTP server itself.

But since IIS has nothing to do with email (it is a web server), and I have no idea what your employer uses for SMTP server, I can only say that technically, the ability to Forward depends on that SMTP server's capabilities and your permissions to modify it.

But in your case, I suggest AGAINST what you are asking. Just check company email with Outlook Express like everyone else because GMail does not support your usage pattern. Your problem is really with GMail not supporting your usage scenario and not with any intervening client/server's ability to Forward email, so keep the solution in the same realm.

//David