Several readers were confused about last week’s column dealing with backing up e-mail to avoid losing it ( They wondered how to copy an e-mail folder to a Windows PC or Macintosh hard drive, as suggested by IT expert Dennis Fazio.

The answer is to install a type of program called an “e-mail client.” E-mail clients for PC, such as Microsoft Outlook ($110,, Windows Live Mail (free, and Mozilla Thunderbird (free, can automatically import your messages from your e-mail provider and store them on your hard drive. For a list of Macintosh e-mail client programs, some of them free, see For other free PC e-mail client programs, see

Is there another backup method besides using an e-mail client? Yes, but it’s time-consuming. You can copy each e-mail message and paste it into a Microsoft Word file. This is less practical if you have a huge backlog of e-mail.

If backing up your e-mail to your computer seems too daunting, consider this: Have a copy of your e-mail automatically forwarded to another e-mail account, preferably one at a different provider. (In addition, many e-mail providers will allow you to import, or copy, all the old messages from your original e-mail account.)

To set up e-mail forwarding for Gmail, see For Yahoo, see When you set up e-mail forwarding, specify that you want messages to remain in your original e-mail account while being copied to the second account.

The drawback to e-mail forwarding is that you’re still depending on an Internet company to safeguard your e-mail instead of backing it up on your computer (and from there to an external hard drive or flash drive). But it’s safer to have two online copies of your messages than just one.


Q: My Microsoft Word 2010 program can’t open a corrupted file stored on my PC’s external hard drive. I’ve used three different file recovery programs, but none has worked. Is there any other way to recover this file?

Rich Osborn, Edina


A: Considering that you’ve already tried three file recovery programs, the data is probably lost. But you can try two Word features called “open and repair” and “recover text from any file.”

To use the former, choose the Word “open” command to get a list of files. Select the corrupted file from the list and then click the arrow next to the “open” button below the list. From the drop-down menu, click “open and repair,” which may bring it back.

To use the latter, click “open” to get a list of files. In the box directly above the open button, click the arrow. From the resulting menu select “recover text from any file.” Then select the corrupted file from the list, and click the open button below the list, which may bring it back but without images.


E-mail tech questions to or write to Tech Q&A, 650 3rd Av. S., Suite 1300, ­Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.