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Solutions: Never run more than one antivirus program at a time

Thanks for the advice regarding Microsoft's antivirus products. But based on my own experience only, I think it is unwise to install Microsoft Security Essentials if you already have a working Norton antivirus program and Norton personal firewall. I tried it for "extra protection," and my computer nearly stopped dead.

You're right. Antivirus programs operate in a way in which they can be the only such program active on one system. Always uninstall the current antivirus program (even if it is expired) before installing the new one.

I left my PC with Windows Mail for a couple of hours, and when I came back, all my messages that were in the Inbox were gone. Yes, I have on "show all messages." The messages that I have in special folders are still there. Just the Inbox folder and Sent folder were empty.

Windows mail uses a file named WindowsMail.MSMessageStore. However, all the individual e-mail files that make up this message store should also be there individually with a .eml file extension. Perhaps the MSMessageStore got corrupted, explaining the disappearing e-mails. First, check these individual files. Go to C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail (replace "User" with your user name). Appdata is normally a hidden folder, but if you just click the Vista button and type (paste) the folder string mentioned above, it should take you right there in a File Explorer window.

Check the Inbox folder and see if your lost e-mails are there in .eml format. If you double-click on them, they should open in Windows Mail, where you can forward them to yourself to get them back in your Inbox, or import them directly through Windows Mail. This would be a good time to save the entire Windows Mail folder to a new folder somewhere else on your PC, since the next step involves trying to fix what may be a corrupted message store. Click the Vista button and type CMD and then hit the Enter key. This will open a command window.

To repair your WindowsMail.MSMessageStore file, type the next line exactly as shown, substituting your user name in place of "user": esentutl /p "C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\windowsmail.msmessagestore"

Hopefully, this will set things right. Windows client e-mail solution going forward is the free Windows Live E-mail, which seems to be less problematic than Windows Mail that came with Vista.

Send questions to [email protected] or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Never run more than one antivirus program at a time 02/21/10 [Last modified: Monday, February 22, 2010 1:55pm]
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