Q: I have an old Yahoo e-mail address that I want to cancel, but I can’t figure out how to do it. What’s the best way?

Loren Hamlin, Tucson, Ariz.


A: You can close your account, but Yahoo doesn’t make it easy.

Before you can close the account, you must disable your “Yahoo Account Key,” if you have one. (Account keys are an alternative to typing a password to log in to a Yahoo account. When you try to access your account, a text message asking “Are you trying to sign in?” is sent to your smartphone. If you tap the message and an “approve” icon, you are logged in.) To disable an account key, go to tinyurl.com/y7ngu6hc and click “manage devices or disable account key.”

Once that’s done, begin closing your account by logging in at tinyurl.com/y9ave23a. Then, in the name of security, Yahoo wants you to enter a special password that it sends to a separate e-mail account that you listed when you signed up. It then asks you to change the password on the account that you want to close. (Avoid both tasks by clicking “I’ll secure my account later.”) Then Yahoo asks you to enter your mobile phone number or add another alternate e-mail for the account you’re closing (skip those tasks by clicking the “Looks good” button.)

You will then be given a list of features you will miss out on if you close your Yahoo account, such as fantasy sports access and Flickr online photo sharing. Click “continue.” You must again type in your e-mail address and click “Yes, terminate this account.”

But wait, there’s more! If you try to log in to your Yahoo account to make sure that it’s closed, Yahoo will reactivate the account and you will have to go through the whole process again. To avoid that, wait at least 40 days before you try to make sure the account is defunct.


Q: I use the Thunderbird e-mail program, and I would like it to stop marking some legitimate e-mails as junk mail. This routes the e-mails to the junk folder instead of the inbox. What can I do?

Chris Friley, Baton Rouge, La.


A: Mozilla Thunderbird, a program that can simultaneously manage e-mail from several different accounts, tries to intercept much of the spam, or junk e-mail, that people receive. But it sometimes makes mistakes.

Fortunately, there are two ways to fix the problem.

One method is to “train” the program to sort “good” vs. “junk” e-mail the same way that you would. To do so, you click on legitimate e-mails — some that you find in the junk folder and others that are in the inbox — and label them as “not junk.” You must also mark undesirable e-mail as “junk.” (See directions under “Training the junk filter” at tinyurl.com/ores4ds). Thunderbird will eventually learn your preferences, but it could take weeks.

Alternatively, you can change Thunderbird’s mail-sorting habits immediately by creating a “rule” that overrides the program’s judgment about whether an e-mail is legitimate or spam. Do that by creating a preferred list of e-mail addresses. Every message from an address on the list will avoid being labeled as “junk,” and will automatically be routed to the inbox.

To create the override setting (you must do it separately for each e-mail account), see “Per account settings” at the same website.


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