Good evening everyone.
I thought I'd try a different avenue as I am pulling my hair out with my current ISP help team at AT&T, who seem to be anything but helpful.
My email account was originally with SBCGLOBAL.NET who joined forces with Yahoo some 6 years ago or so and eventually were encompassed under AT&T.
Ever since then they have gradually been tweaking and generally overhauling the email system entirely. Over a long period of time they have been migrating accounts that were originally with SBCGLOBAL, Bell South, Packard and so on that were on legacy email servers and transferring them to a centrally controlled AT&T email server farm. My account was done in around late Feb / early March.
Ever since then, it has been virtually impossible for me to do any serious downloading of my email via POP3.
I will either get an error referring to a stuck message plus a network error or I will just get the network error. This is the format ::
Message number 169 could not be retrieved. Account: 'Clive's Email Account', Server: 'inbound.att.net', Protocol: POP3, Server Response: '-ERR [SYS/TEMP] problem retrieving message.', Port: 995, Secure(SSL): Yes, Server Error: 0x800CCC90, Error Number: 0x800420CD
Your server has unexpectedly terminated the connection. Possible causes for this include server problems, network problems, or a long period of inactivity. Account: 'Clive's Email Account', Server: 'inbound.att.net', Protocol: POP3, Port: 995, Secure(SSL): Yes, Error Number: 0x800CCC0F
I have been on AT&T DSL Chat and on the phone several times over the last couple of months and they INSIST that its my software or computer that is at fault. I would be happy if that were the case but it simply is not true. I've had this type of error before, not for a number of years - back when Yahoo controlled the email and they had more savvy people that actually looked to see if their own system was at fault - and three or four times I actually got to speak to a server technician and in real time he would actually check the integrity of my inbox and tada - discovered it needed a rebuild.
Now that AT&T are in the hot-seat, they do all they can to ensure you don't speak to IT technicians. The last time I was on the phone, I ended up speaking to the equivalent of what used to be their tier2 support, which is now an outsourced operation called Connectech (sp?) and is staffed entirely by people whom I could not understand AND you now have to pay for it - very disgruntled because all they did was remote in, check my email settings, said they were correct and saw that one or two messages started to download and then abruptly hung up saying the matter was solved - only it wasn't because I got the errors above again within a couple of minutes.
Is anyone else having this issue? As a further test to prove its not my software or computer that is at fault, I have tried several different email clients (I was using the native Windows Mail that comes with Vista - which worked perfectly fine up till the migration) from Pegasus, opera, Thunderbird and they ALL give the same error. My brand new desktop PC does the exact same thing, I even set up my bench laptop at work - same again, different computer, different network access point.....SAME errors.
Microsoft Outlook managed to download better than the other clients, BUT would crash out right at the very end as it stored up all the errors about stuck messages (it would skip stuck messages) and then tell me at the very end that there were a couple of hundred messages that could not be downloaded and a network error - basically the same as above. The crash out resulted in the system not "handshaking" and so downloaded emails would not then be deleted from the server and since I am always getting email, it is then difficult to tell which I need to delete as a result.
The dumbest thing I was given as an alternative was to use the email web browser that AT&T provides. I just rolled my eyes and said that was fine - you can check email, delete what you want to delete etc., but you can't really DO anything with it afterwards. Multiple attachments would have to be downloaded one by one, not practical at all. I like to POP3 everything, delete the chaff and I then have apps that extract all my attachments and categorize them accordingly - can't do that with webmail. Google Mail sort of makes an "attempt" at doing that but since they only give a 5GB limit, its not practical for long term storage.
I am going to try AGAIN with AT&T because this is simply getting ridiculous. Email is the single simplest form of communication that has been in existence in one format or another since even before the World Wide Web as we know it was in operation. You would think by now that a company like AT&T would have got the hang of it.
Sorry if this seems like a rant - but SOMEONE out there must have either come across this or have a suggestion as to where to call - I really need to talk to a senior level technician at AT&T - does anyone know how to go about doing that?
Ironically this is the sort of thing I do amongst many others day in day out in my line of work. We have our own Exchange email system and e-commerce web system supporting a client base of nearly 75000 via a 50 email / web server farm and generally there is at least one or two occurrences a week (sometimes more) where an email account malfunctions and needs a rebuild. If I had the access credentials for AT&T, I could do the job myself.