Q I was recently the victim of a hacker, but only found out about it from a neighbor who received the same e-mail scam that you wrote about last week: It falsely said I was mugged and stranded with no money or cell phone, and asked for help.

Afterward, I was able to reset my Yahoo e-mail password to take control of my account, and Yahoo was able to restore my missing contact list.

Since then I've been trying to correct my e-mail return address, because anyone who replies to me has their e-mail sent to a fake address that is just one letter different than mine. I tried to change the fake address in my account, but it didn't help.

What should I do?



A Yahoo acknowledges that its accounts get hacked sometimes. For useful advice on dealing with a hacked Yahoo e-mail account, go to tinyurl.com/3nqanyx. To ask Yahoo for help with your specific problem, go to the "Yahoo Mail Abuse Form" at tinyurl.com/433ycdz.

Q About a year ago, my Windows Vista PC began to freeze when I tried to open a Microsoft Excel or Word file within the first 10 minutes after starting the computer. The hard drive can be heard running a lot when this problem occurs.

If I try opening a file later, it works.

Is something in the start-up sequence getting in my way?


A Your PC probably doesn't have enough random access memory (RAM) for the software you're using.

The continuous running of the hard drive probably indicates that the PC is making up for the shortage of RAM by temporarily storing some files on the hard disk, which slows down the start-up process.

If you try to open files while all this is going on, the PC freezes for lack of "working memory" -- the memory that has to be left unoccupied so the PC can carry out its tasks. When you wait until the flurry of start-up activity is over, you can open your files normally.

You can check your PC's RAM by going to Start, Control Panel and clicking the System icon. If you have less than two gigabytes of RAM, I'd say that's your problem.

If you want to add RAM yourself (not difficult if you consult your PC owner's manual), you can buy it online at websites including kingston.com and ramseeker.com (choose your computer model to get the right type of RAM.) Otherwise, take it to a repair shop, which will supply the RAM chips and the installation.

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.