Q: I get a lot of spam. Some appears to be from name-brand companies and some seems to come from websites I visit. How can I set my Gmail to only let in e-mail that’s from people in my address book?

Len Hritzo, Pickerington, Ohio


A: The filters used by Gmail and other e-mail providers already block most of the spam you would normally receive. But you can block more unwanted mail with a drastic type of e-mail filtering available in the free Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail program (look at tinyurl.com/y9qyvrkl).

Thunderbird, which can read your Gmail, is able to filter e-mail so that messages from people in your address book go to your inbox; all other e-mail goes to another folder.

Note: This shuts out everyone who is not a close friend. That may mean that you may miss important e-mail from banks or others.

See tinyurl.com/y7xoklwj for directions on how to set up a Thunderbird mail filter. Then go to the three boxes in the filter menu.

In the first box, select “from” in the drop-down menu, then click the “plus” sign on the far right.

In the next box, use the drop-down menu to choose “isn’t in my address book.” Click “plus.”

In the third box, select “personal address book.”

At the bottom of the menu, choose the folder to which unwanted messages will go.

It’s possible to do something similar in Gmail, but the results aren’t as useful.

Instead of redirecting unwanted mail away from your inbox, Gmail sends mail from people in your address book (called “contacts”) to a different folder (see tinyurl.com/y92a4b8f). All other mail ends up in your inbox, which is probably not what you had in mind.

The Thunderbird and Gmail methods aren’t a foolproof way to get rid of spam. If an incoming e-mail “spoofs” — or pretends to be from — an e-mail address that’s in your address book, you will still see it.

Or, if anyone in your address book has his or her e-mail account hacked, you could receive a bogus e-mail that actually came from that person’s account.


Q: Last year I set up a repeating weekly meeting in Google Calendar, but didn’t specify an end date. I no longer need this repeating meeting on my calendar, but I can’t delete it with a single command. Somehow, it’s been converted to a series of individual meetings that I’ll have to delete separately until the end of time. What can I do?

Al Richwine, Minneapolis


A: Normally, recurring events are easily removed from Google calendar by using the delete options: this event only, today’s event plus those in the future, or all events.

But if that doesn’t work, try these methods one at a time; after each one, try again to delete the repeating meeting.

• Use a special Google link (see more at tinyurl.com/qg3nwxl) to log in to your Google calendar.

• Clear the cache and cookies on your web browser (for Google Chrome, see tinyurl.com/ycg59c54).

• Try using your browser’s “private browsing” feature (for Google Chrome, click the three dots at the upper right, then click “new incognito window.”)

If it works, disable any browser add-on programs one at a time until you find the source of the problem.

• If you have created a browser bookmark to reach your calendar, delete the bookmark.


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