Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 


E-Remove: A pre-processor for incoming e-mail
by
Alan German

I believe that it was at the first Orphan’s SIG meeting where Brigitte Lord, OPCUG’s Web Master, mentioned that she used E-Remove as a pre-processor for electronic mail. The essence of this utility is that it provides an opportunity to review messages on your ISP’s mail server, and the ability to delete specific messages from the server without actually downloading them.

Since many SPAM messages feature rich text, which generally increases the size of individual messages, and viruses normally come in the form of  large attached files, the ability to erase such messages “at source” appears to be rather attractive. As the recipient of lots of junk E-mail, which usually comes in duplicate (but that’s another story), the prospect certainly caught my attention. While E-Remove functions exactly as advertised, the program may not be the ideal solution for everyone. In fact, my experience indicates that the utility of this utility will depend strongly on the nature of the E-mail which a given individual receives.

The potential problem is the relatively long time taken by E-Remove to download extracts of the messages from the ISP’s mail server. Over a three-week period, for my own incoming mail, I made a check on the time taken by E-Remove to download its partial versions of the messages, and the time required by Eudora to retrieve the same messages in their entirety. I also noted the number of bytes of messages which I would have deleted from the server using E-Remove, and the total number of bytes of the complete messages downloaded by Eudora. On average, E-Remove needed about half of the connect time taken by Eudora to pre-process the same batch of messages, while offering savings of about one third of the download traffic. Since, after deleting messages with E-Remove, the remaining two-thirds of the message traffic still need to be downloaded by Eudora, clearly this is not a time-effective solution. Overall, in my specific case, it proved to be more efficient to download all of the messages and then delete unwanted mail in Eudora.

There were some exceptions to this general rule. E-Remove identified a 1.6 MB attachment to a message and, by screening the message header, I could identify that I didn’t wish to receive either the message or the file. This provided a considerable time saving on my dial-up connection for this particular session. In another mail session, the program allowed me to delete 11 separate instances of 204 KB files infected with the SirCam virus [I send you this file to get your advice — Delete!]

So, whether or not E-Remove will be a useful utility program for you will depend on the nature of the E-mail which you normally receive, and if you value the ability to pre-screen your mail prior to down- loading it from the mail server. I suspect that one shouldn’t get too hung up on download times. My average mail session was just a little over a minute, so even if using E-Remove were to double the time taken to download the mail, it isn’t a great hardship in the grand scheme of things. And, using this program can give great satisfaction in directly thwarting the best efforts of the SPAM and virus merchants!

Installing the program is simplicity itself, one just has to unzip the distribution file into a sub-directory and run the resulting executable file, eremove.exe. There is a variety of items to configure on the change-existing-settings screen. You can enter the user ID and password needed to log on to your ISP’s mail server, and have the option to save the password for use by future E-Remove sessions. You must enter the address for your ISP’s mail server and the port which it uses. Advanced settings include letting you specify additional mail accounts, an E-mail client to be launched once the E-Remove session is complete (e.g., Eudora or Outlook Express), and the number of lines of each message which is to be downloaded for previewing.

Running the program, with an active Internet connection, accesses the specified POP server and provides a summary screen of information relating to the messages available for down- loading. For each message, the information given is the priority of the message, an indication if a file is attached, the size of the message in KB, the date on which the message was sent, the sender’s E-mail address, and the subject line.

A single click on any message in the list marks the message for deletion. Multiple messages may be selected by clicking on multiple entries in the list. Continuing the program’s operation, deletes the selected mail items, and moves on to the final screen where the option to run an E-mail client on exit is presented. Normally, one would continue in this manner so as to download the remaining — wanted — messages from the mail server.

Double clicking on a particular message in the list provides two information tabs. The “General” tab displays  the initial lines of text in the message which E-Remove has obtained from the mail server. The “Source” tab displays the complete E-mail header information. A sort feature is also provided, whereby clicking on any column in the list of messages sorts the list on that specific category. Thus, one can sort messages by size, date sent, priority, etc.

E-Remove is a freeware program which the author, Victor Javier of the Philippines, has tested under Windows 95 and NT. The current release appears to be Version 2.4, dated  July 4, 1988. However, at the time of writing, the web site specified for user registration,  http://home.pacific.net.sg/~thantom/eremove.htm, was giving an error message (Homepage Error: The userid that you have specified does not exist).

A search on Google (http://www.google.com) identified an alternative web site at http://eremover.bizhosting.com/ which provides information about E-Remove, and is a source for downloading the software distribution. However, this site does not appear to have been updated for some time, and a number of the links are broken.

All this to say that it would appear further updates to this software may not be available.  Nevertheless, Version 2.4 can be obtained from the bizhosting web site, and is quite serviceable. OPCUG members can also download the E-Remove distribution package, eremov24.zip (200 KB), from The PUB.


Bottom Line:

E-Mail Remover, Version 2.4
Freeware
from Victor Javier
Web site: http://eremover.bizhosting.com/


Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

The opinions expressed in these reviews may not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.