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E-Mail FAQ



My Password is being rejected when I check mail or I am getting an error message "Pop lock busy"

This is usually caused when a larger email has been sent to you. If you are disconnected, or interrupted whilst you are checking email, the Shoalnet mail server needs to re-process your email to get it ready to be checked again. With larger emails this can take a while. If your computer tries to check mail while the Shoalnet Mail server is still processing your mail, it will come back with the error message "Pop Lock Busy". This is basically our computer saying that it can't open the mailbox as it is already open. Most email programs this will appear as though the username/password is incorrect, and you will be asked to re-enter your details.

This problem can be rectified simply by disconnecting from the Internet (or cancelling any Email checking) for a period of at LEAST 20 minutes. This should give the Shoalnet mail server enough time to re-process your email and get it ready to receive again.
If you are having problems, it is often best to access your mail through the Shoalnet Webmail facility, which you can access through the link on the left hand menu of our homepage. It is often easier to download a large message through webmail and save it directly onto your computer, than it is to bring it down in your email program.


I am unable to send email
There are a number of things that can cause a message to fail in sending. Your email program should give an error message detailing why. These error messages can vary, depending on the email program that you are using. Some common things that will stop an email being sent are listed below:-

  • Incorrect Address: The email address that you are sending to must satisfy several conditions before it can be sent. The address must be of the form "username@domainname" - For example, to send email to Shoalnet Techsupport, you are sending to - i.e. the User techsupport, at the Domain, If the username part of an email is incorrect or unknown, it will send out from Shoalnet, but get rejected by the computer or ISP that receives it, and you will get an Email in return. If the Domain is incorrect (i.e. Accidentally typing instead of, the Email will not be sent from your computer and you should recieve an error immediately.
  • If you are getting "Connection Refused, or Connection Timed Out", or similar messages, it is likely that something is interfering with the Email delivery. Virus Scanners and Firewalls can often cause this kind of error, as the extra overhead that they add to the process may be enough to cause your computer to "time out" or hang. If you are getting these kind of errors, it is probably best to call us directly for support, as further troubleshooting will be required.


I am unable to receive email
Receiving email faults can be difficult to diagnose. The first thing to do is to check if you are receving mail at all, or if it is hanging on a large email. If something is actually going wrong, it should bring up an error message - If you find that the computer is not actually showing an error, it may be receiving a large message.
Once again, the additional overhead of Anti-Virus programs and firewalls can cause the receiving process to timeout.

If you are having problems, the first thing to do is try and access your email through the Webmail System. For a guide on using Webmail, and any problems that you may encounter, click Here.


Attachment sizes
Large attachments with email can cause a few problems. Your Internet connection can only bring down information at a limited rate (usually a maximum of 56kbit/s). The larger the information, the longer it will take to bring down. Most normal text emails are very small, typically taking up 1-2kilobytes (KB) of space. These plain text emails will usually come down in a matter of seconds.
Emails can also have files "attached" to the message, and it is here that people often run into problems. Files that are commonly attached to an email are pictures, movies, music, documents or even entire programs (not as common). The bigger the file, the longer it will take to both send and receive.
A picture will usually be anything from 20 KB up to 500KB (or more for very high quality images)
A movie or music can be anything from 100KB to several Megabytes (1000KB = 1 Megabyte, or MB)
Programs and other files can range from very small (20KB) to very large (several hundred MB).
As a basic rule of thumb, for each Megabyte attached to an email, you can add 10-15mins to the sending and receiving time. Anything larger than 10mb and the chances are that the person receiving it will not want to wait, and will probably delete it.
The most common form of attachment is a picture. Picture files are usually in the format of JPEG (usually seen on the end of the file as .jpg). Due to the many options available when saving a picture, the size can range from very small to very large, depending on the quality. Picture quality is usually represented in pixels as an area (e.g. 640 x 480 is a common size and quality that is easily sent through email).
Before sending an picture, it is best to open it in an image editing program such as Adobe Photoshop or Micosoft Paint, and resizing the image to be a good size. For a small file size and ease of sending, it is recommended that you make your resize files to be 800x600 or less.
If you find that someone has sent you a very large email, it can cause problems with the receiving. If you are getting an error relating to password or pop-lock busy, it is suggested that you read the item at the top of this page, or click here.


What is the difference between a Hotmail address and a Shoalnet or ISP address?
Hotmail is a very popular system for sending and receiving email. Hotmail is what is known as a Web-Based Email Account, other examples of these include Yahoo Mail. The difference between a Shoalnet account and a Hotmail account is that a Hotmail account can only be accessed via the Hotmail webpage or through MSN Messenger. Your Shoalnet account can be checked either using a normal POP Email Client (such as Outlook Express or Eudora) or through our Webmail facility. It is possible to have several email address with several providers - For example, it is possible to have a Shoalnet address, a Hotmail address and a Yahoo Mail account - In fact, you can have as many email addresses as you want - provided you can find someone to give them to you!

The important thing to remember is that they are SEPERATE systems. It is not easily possible to receive your Shoalnet mail through Hotmail, and vice-versa. It can be thought of as having several P.O Boxes in seperate towns - To pick up mail from each, you need to physically go to that location. Email is the same. To receive your Hotmail email, you need to go to the Hotmail webpage (, to receive your Shoalnet Email, you need to "visit" Shoalnet, through your email program or through our webpage.

Another area that causes confusion is the fact that Shoalnet requires you to connect to the Internet with your full Email address. This needs to be your full Shoalnet address - a Hotmail or other address will NOT work.

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