A large chunk of your time can be spent dealing with emails. However, there's plenty of free downloads that can make life a little bit easier for you. Here's five of our favourites.

1. Scott's Gmail Alert 5.0

There's nothing more annoying than having to stop what you're doing and log-in to your Gmail account to check if you have any new messages. However, with Scott's Gmail Alert 4 you can monitor you inbox, Google Calendar and RSS feeds without the need to open a browser and log-in online.

It even lets you monitor multiple Google Accounts and assign a different colour label to each account so when an alert is displayed you can tell at a glance which account it relates to.

2. SPAMfighter 7.2.50

More than 95 percent of emails are spam, a rising tide of junk messages that carries phishing scams, viruses, links to malicious sites, and more. This doesn't just waste time and internet bandwidth, it's potentially very dangerous, and every PC user needs a spam filter to help keep them safe.

This is where SPAMfighter comes in. It'll check new messages as they arrive, and any that are identified as junk will automatically be moved to the spam folder.

3. POP Peeper

Pop Peeper interrogates your mail provider's server to let you know at regular intervals whether there are any emails waiting in your inbox for download. The better programs even let you take a sneak peek at what messages are waiting, and allow you to delete them directly from the server without cluttering up your mailbox or wasting precious download bandwidth first.

4. MailStore Home

MailStore Home imports messages from multiple mail systems and software programs, stores them in a central location on your hard disk, and lets you search through everything simultaneously. The search is exceedingly fast and quite sophisticated. For example, you can search by subject, message body, folder, and attachments. Once you import all the email, you can also back it up by burning to a CD. MailStore Home imports and backs up email from Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird, Windows Live Mail, and other programs. Although, if you import from POP3 and IMAP accounts, some limitations apply - for example, you can import only your inbox. Additionally, you won't be able to import Outlook .pst files directly; instead, you'll have to import folders individually, which can take some time.

5. Gmail Backup

Gmail Backup works with both Windows and Linux and allows you to back-up the contents of your webmail inbox – just in case anything goes wrong. Gmail Backup backs up files in .EML format, which any desktop email client can open. The only drawback of Gmail Backup is that it doesn't back up chat logs - Gmail treats chat logs as a different animal, and doesn't put them in the 'All Mail' folder, which is the folder that Gmail Backup scours.