Two weeks ago, I wrote about the e-mail problem faced by international travelers (see tinyurl.com/ z5chbsg). But there’s more to the story.
For security reasons, some major e-mail providers require what’s called “two-step verification” when someone logs in to an e-mail account from outside the U.S. In addition to a password, a traveler will be required to enter a special access code that is sent to a cellphone or an alternate e-mail account.
I wrote about a workaround that Microsoft’s Outlook.com provides, in which a computer designed as “trusted” could bypass the two-step verification — a big improvement for international travelers. But for a simpler alternative, I suggested getting a Yahoo Mail account and having Outlook.com mail forwarded to Yahoo.
It turned out to be a bit more complicated than that. Jan Carlson of Oak Grove, Minn., said that Yahoo Mail also requires two-step verification, and that she had been locked out of her e-mail during an international trip for lack of a phone or access to an alternate e-mail. Yahoo doesn’t have a “trusted” computer option.
Fortunately, there’s a solution that works for all three e-mail services. Microsoft, Yahoo and Google’s Gmail all offer the opportunity to turn off two-step verification before your trip abroad. This has an obvious advantage over setting up your computer as “trusted”: You don’t need to carry a specific computing device with you in order to access your e-mail, and can instead use whatever computer is available in a hotel or elsewhere.
To turn off two-step verification, see tinyurl.com/h8fcqv6 for Outlook.com, tinyurl.com/gsqo7th for Yahoo Mail and tinyurl.com/ogrxffj for Gmail.
For those who plan to travel with a computer, Gmail (like Outlook.com) gives you the option of creating a “trusted” computer that can bypass two-step verification (see tinyurl.com/jrdjvsc).
Q: I use Microsoft’s Windows Live Mail program to access my Yahoo e-mail account. While the program continues to work, I’ve recently been getting this error message: “There was an error when attempting to connect to the Windows Live Calendar service. If the error persists, check to see if there’s an upgrade of Windows Live Mail available or contact a service representative.”
I don’t use the Windows Live Calendar, and I’m not aware of any software upgrade. I can choose to “hide” the error message, but it reappears the next time I log in to to my e-mail. Can this be fixed?
Charles Gauck, Plymouth
A: No. The error message reflects a Microsoft software obsolescence problem that you can’t fix.
What’s wrong? Microsoft stopped updating Windows Live Mail in 2012, which means the program is now technically obsolete and has trouble connecting properly to newer Microsoft programs, such as the online calendar.
Microsoft knows that consumers are receiving this error message, and suggests abandoning Live Mail in favor of Microsoft’s Web-based Outlook.com or its PC app called Mail (included in Windows 8, 8.1 and 10.) Either will allow you to view your Yahoo e-mail. An easier solution is to log into Yahoo Mail directly at tinyurl.com/m8jz2mv.
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