1. News

Solutions: How to deal with email spam

Is it possible for a person to have tons of spam mails sent to someone else's email account? I just deleted 719 emails from more companies/organizations from unsubscribe than I ever knew existed. I am buying a new laptop and will get professional help to set it up, but I've always liked Yahoo, and if I close the current account, can I open a new one and be free of this nuisance?

People can certainly give your email address to anyone or any organization. That doesn't mean they have control of your account; they just know your email address. But by all means, close out those old accounts and create new ones when you move to the new PC.

I always recommend setting up at least two different email accounts (or aliases within the same account) — one for personal/family correspondence and one that you give out in public (stores, Web forums, etc.). Almost all email programs (Windows Live Mail, Hotmail/, Gmail, Yahoo) have junk mail filtering that is always being fine-tuned. Learn how to use the features of the one you use.

Also, when setting up a new account, use a difficult password, a mixture of letters, numbers, case and punctuation. And here's the most important part: Don't give logical answers to the security questions most email programs use to help you recover a lost or forgotten password. Guessing high schools and pet names can be very easy to do. Answer with something completely unrelated and nonsensical. This will make it much more difficult for someone to hack your email account.

Write down your answers and keep them in a safe place in your house. If someone breaks in and finds the paper, they'll have to know what it is, and also, at that point, email is the least of your problems.

Since Microsoft pushed Outlook Express onto us, with no tutorial or help available, we can't open our Contacts list to send emails. We are running Microsoft Windows XP Home.

I had to double-check that this was not a recycled question from 2008 because it has been that long since Microsoft started to discontinue Outlook Express. If it's a matter of viewing your contacts, click "View," "Layouts" and make sure "Contacts" is checked.

I use Microsoft Office Outlook for my email client. I suddenly started to get email messages from my ISP that I have "exceeded my quota." I've deleted and emptied many emails and folders, but I'm still receiving the "exceeded quota" message, and I am not able to send/receive emails.

The quota in question here is on the server side. Your Outlook setting is most likely set to leave copies on your ISP's server. Deleting them in Outlook will not make a difference. First, using your browser, access your email through your ISP's website. Delete the emails from there. Once you free up some room, return to Outlook and change your default setting to delete emails after they are downloaded from the server: From the Outlook menu, click "Tools," "Account Settings." Select your email account and click "Change." Click the "More Settings" button, then the "Advanced" tab. Uncheck the box labeled "Leave a copy of messages on the server."

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