Q: My PC’s hard drive crashed last year, causing me to lose all my data. I bought a new PC and used Microsoft’s Outlook 2007 to download e-mails from my Comcast account (I like to save some attachments and archive receipts on my PC.)

But I’ve discovered that recent e-mails are disappearing from my new PC, which never happened with the old one. Did I do something wrong setting up the new PC’s e-mail? Is there a way to restore my old PC’s hard drive so I can use it for e-mail again?

Shahnaz Coyer, Minneapolis


A: A data recovery firm will charge hundreds of dollars to retrieve only fragments of data from your old PC’s hard drive, so keep the new PC and we will focus on what happened to the e-mails. There are two possibilities:

• The e-mails still exist on your new PC, but you can’t see them. If you are viewing Outlook mail in “read-only” mode, the message is hidden from you once you read it, or after it’s been displayed for a certain amount of time. To find hidden e-mail, change Outlook’s “views” setting. In the Windows 10 search box, type Run. In the resulting box, type “Outlook /cleanviews” (don’t use quotation marks, and keep a space between the Outlook and the slash mark.) Click OK.

• The e-mails have been accidentally deleted from your PC and your e-mail account hasn’t been set up to retain copies on Comcast’s mail server. That means the messages are permanently lost. Why doesn’t the mail server have a backup copy? You’re probably using an older POP3 (Post Office Protocol) mail account that is not set to automatically retain a copy of an e-mail on the server after you download it to your PC. To prevent this problem in the future, change the POP3 account’s settings to “leave a copy of messages on the server” (see tinyurl.com/grxqkff.) That way, your mail will be in two places (server and PC) instead of one.

You could move to a newer type of e-mail account called IMAP (internet Message Access Protocol.) It doesn’t download e-mail to your PC at all; you read the messages on the server. (If there’s an e-mail or attachment you want to save on your PC, copy and paste it into a Microsoft Word document that stores on the hard drive.) IMAP has the additional advantage of being easier to use on multiple devices, such as PC’s, tablet computers and smartphones. To switch from a POP3 to an IMAP e-mail account, see tinyurl.com/hnhx72l.


Q: My Windows 10 PC is telling me that my Gmail account settings are out of date. When I log into my Gmail account as instructed, it says Windows would like to manage my mail, calendars and contacts. I also use Windows Live Mail and its calendar, so should I do this?

Shirley Kalck, Lakeland, Fla.


A: You are being asked if you want to access Gmail and its calendar through the Windows 10 mail and calendar apps rather than by logging in to the Gmail website. Because Microsoft’s Live Mail is being phased out (see tinyurl.com/zkkaa9c), you might find it useful to access both the Microsoft and Google information in the Windows apps. (To set up the mail and calendar apps with two different providers, see tinyurl.com/zgmk2oh).

If you would rather get rid of the Windows 10 message, go to Settings and turn off “tips, tricks and suggestions.” See tinyurl.com/zqb4sez.

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Include name, city and telephone number.