Q: In April, I canceled a paid AOL subscription by phone, but opted to continue using the free version of AOL e-mail for another six months. In October, I tried to go through my old saved e-mail messages to find any attached photos, and discovered that the old e-mails were gone.

The person at AOL never told me that my old e-mails wouldn’t be saved. I called AOL back, and was rudely told that for $9.99 for one month they would give me instructions on how to obtain my old e-mails. They also wanted my credit card information.

I feel like they are holding my old e-mail hostage. Is there any other way to retrieve my old e-mail messages?

Jan Thompson, Richfield


A: Before you pay AOL to recover your old e-mail messages, try a workaround method (step 5 at tinyurl.com/n4x8ywx). The workaround should transfer the e-mail, settings and contacts from your old for-pay AOL e-mail account to your new free AOL e-mail account.

Besides not telling you on the phone that your old messages would disappear, AOL also makes no effort to tell you on its cancel-your-paid-account website (tinyurl.com/kzjdrr8), which says you’ll no longer have access to certain unspecified e-mail features if you cancel. (The only specific warning is that you’ll lose access to your address book.)

Whether you get your old e-mails back or not, you should find a new free e-mail provider. I suggest Google’s Gmail or Yahoo Mail.


Q: The spelling correction in my Windows 8 browser, Internet Explorer 10, worked for both of the Windows 8 interfaces (Metro tiles and traditional desktop). But now it’s quit working for the desktop. Any suggestions?

Bill Boatright, Jacksonville, Fla.


A: First, reboot your computer to see if that solves the problem. If it doesn’t, you can try some Internet Explorer 10 adjustments using directions at tinyurl.com/qfuljz3 or tinyurl.com/ox2xmkx. Or just use another Windows 8 browser such as Google Chrome (tinyurl.com/9ccbkzr) or Mozilla Firefox (tinyurl.com/cxvxuff). Both have a spell-checker.


Q: I would like to uninstall the “Delta Search” program on my Windows XP laptop PC, but I can’t find a way to do it. Any suggestions?

John Widvey, Worthington, Minn.


A: Delta Search is a malware program that piggybacks on other free downloads, such as DJ music-mixing software. It can replace your browser home page, install itself as your default search engine, insert its own ads in your search results and keep track of the search terms you use. To get rid of Delta Search, see tinyurl.com/bqmvdhn. The process uses the free anti-malware programs AdwCleaner, Malwarebytes and HitmanPro, all of which I’ve used and can vouch for.


E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com or write to Tech Q&A, 425 ­Portland Av. S., ­Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.