Category: Email (Page 2 of 2)

Unify Your AOL Inbox

AOL users may be used to a bifurcated inbox, that shows New Mail and Old Mail. Not everyone is happy with this inbox behavior, because as soon as you view and close a new message, it vanishes. The now-closed message automatically hops from New to Old, and you’ll have to switch folders to find it again.

AOL allows you to unify your inbox, so that it shows all of your mail in one Inbox, just like most other webmails. Here’s how to turn that option on:

  1. Go to your AOL Mail in any browser.
  2. Click Options in the upper-right corner, and then click Mail Settings.
  3. Scroll down to find Inbox Style, and select the bubble for Use Unified Inbox Style.
  4. Scroll to the bottom and click Save Settings.

With one folder for all your inbox emails, every message will now stay put in the list, after you close it.

Hide Google Meet in Gmail

Google really wants everyone to try out Google Meet. So they built it into their Gmail page design, some months ago. Google Meet probably roosts in the lower-left corner when you visit on your computer.

But not everyone uses Google Meet. And some people want that valuable screen real estate back, for their email folder list! So here’s how to remove Meet from Gmail:

  • Open your computer’s web browser and go to
  • Click the Settings cogwheel icon to the upper-right, and then click See All Settings.
  • Look across the sections headings, and click Chat and Meet.
  • Click the bubble next to “Hide the Meet section…”. (And if you don’t use Hangouts, you can turn that off here, as well!)
  • Click the Save Changes button, and then reload your Gmail page.

If you make use of this tip, you can still use Google Meet. Simply go to the Google Meet website, or reverse these steps to bring back Meet to your Gmail page.

Recovering Permanently Deleted Emails

It is common for a scammer to delete things after they compromise someone’s email account. After recovering a stolen email account, you may notice that your Inbox is empty, or your address book has nothing in it. Checking the Trash folder, you’ll probably find nothing there, as well. They’ve covered their tracks, adding more insult to injury.

But in some cases, there is a chance to recover what’s been deleted, even though the Trash folder has been emptied. Each email provider has different avenues for you to try to “roll back time” or resurrect your lost items. In all cases, time is of the essence, so take immediate action for the best chance at recovery.

Google offers this Gmail Recovery Tool that may undelete messages from the last 30 days.

Yahoo Mail users may Send a Restore Request to get back messages deleted in the last 7 days.

Microsoft offers these steps for people with, and email addresses.

I can’t tell if AOL offers any such recovery service, but they do detail how to recover deleted Contacts. It is possible that AOL could help with email loss, if you upgrade to their paid service, but you might want to call them at 1-866-265-8990 to see if it’s worth paying up ($5/mo.).

AT&T can recover their emails that have been deleted within 7 days, if you submit a restore request.

Comcast/Xfinity customers should reach out to their tech support, and ask to restore the affected email account to an earlier date. They should be able to “roll back time” to a previous day’s backup of emails. They may not be able to recover your addresses, though.

If your email is with a different provider or host, reach out to their support and explain your situation. Let them know that you’ve already checked your Trash/Deleted Items folders, and that what you want may have been removed from there. Ask if they have any process of recovering your account or restoring it to a previous date. It is fairly certain that they back up their mail servers…. The big question is: Are they nice enough to offer those backups to their customers?

What to Do When Your Email Is Compromised

If your email gets hijacked, you’ll figure it out quickly enough. People will start calling you to ask why you sent those out-of-character messages…

Scammers steal their way into email accounts every day. If your email gets stolen, the first and best thing to do is: Reset your email password.

But that may not be all that’s needed. Changing your password is often not enough.

Once you’ve secured your email and changed that password, you should test your email. Ask a trusted friend to send you a message. Reply to their email and send them back a message. Both of you should look closely to make sure the emails go through and look normal upon receipt.

If any abnormal messages show up, or if any emails vanish and never arrive, then the problem is only half-solved. The scammer may have made other changes to your account, in the hopes that you wouldn’t notice.

To find and reverse these changes, you’ll need to access your email through its Webmail site or through your web browser. You can’t fix these things within mail client programs like Thunderbird or Outlook 2019. These settings might also be hard to find through its app on your mobile devices.

Once logged into your email in a web browser, you’ll want to go into the Account Settings or Mail Settings area, and look for these items:

  • Mail Forwarding: Check to make sure your email is not forwarding to another address. If this feature was enabled, all of your new messages may be sent on silently to the bad guys’ email, and they can attempt new scams based on the messages rerouted from you. Turn it off!
  • Reply To: Settings: Another change the bad guys might make is with the “Reply To:” setting. They can stick another email in there, so that when people reply to your messages, the replies are diverted to the scammers, and not you! This setting should typically be empty or set to your exact email address.
  • Rules: Email invaders may also set up Rules that train your email to auto-delete incoming messages or send auto-replies to anyone trying to contact you. If you are not getting any new messages, they’ve likely put in a Rule to trash everything new that arrives. This makes it so that you don’t get any emails from people offering to help you.

If you have trouble finding these settings, call someone for help. Your ISP might offer some free tech support, or you can consult with your friendly neighborhood computer tech for detailed help.

Why Would Anyone Want to Hack Me?

I get this question all the time. Someone surveys themselves and sees nothing “worth hacking”. Because they just send a few innocuous emails a week, they do a little Facebooking with family, they play some solitaire. What could be worth a hacker’s time with their modest computer usage?

What makes them (or you) worth hacking is Legitimacy. If a hacker can get into your email or Facebook account, that is what they are stealing: your legitimacy. The hacker has no real identity to you or those you know, and has little power to steal into your lives and grab anything of value. But if they can get into your accounts, all of that changes.

Let’s say a scammer gets into your Gmail account. Once inside, he will probably change the password and recovery methods, so you are locked out and he can get comfy. He can now enjoy “being you” through your Gmail account. Since people trust messages coming from your Gmail, he has stolen a legitimate piece of your identity and can now:

  • Send scammy emails to everyone in your Contacts list, while bypassing all spam-filters.
  • Attempt password resets on your social media accounts, so that they can try scamming there.
  • Use your email address to logon to websites where the scammer has previously been blocked or banned.
  • Rifle through your Sent Mail to see where you shop, then attempt password resets at those sites, for some quick holiday shopping.

This kind of identity theft happens everyday and can really catch you off-guard, if you don’t think ahead and take it seriously. Your email and other online accounts are valuable, to the right crook. Please make sure to use strong passwords, so that crooks can’t easily guess them. And think twice before giving passwords out to anyone asking for them.

Windows Live Mail Keeps Breaking

I’m sorry to say it, but it is time that we move past using Windows Live Mail. Many of you still use it and love it, as your primary email client. But despite how awesome this program has always been, it is no longer reliable. Microsoft sunsetted this program back in 2012, but users were allowed to keep using it. Now in 2020, it is becoming clear: every time Windows 10 receives a biannual update, Windows Live Mail may stop working.

When Microsoft breaks WLM, you’ll know it because it will

  1. Not allow you to view your individual messages
  2. Not allow you to send/receive messages
  3. Claim you are low on memory or disk space

This breakage can be fixed, but I’m now seeing that the fix is short-lived. Because a repair on Windows Live mail may only last you 6 months, give or take, I must now a) recommend you move away from using Windows Live Mail and b) describe the fixes. I don’t want to “make work” for myself, and doing anything else would be unconscionable.

Since the fixes are more than many people can undertake, again, I encourage you to get ready to move to different email access. Instead of using Windows Live Mail, you could move to Mozilla Thunderbird or Windows Mail. But in many cases, switching to the Webmail site for your email is the best and most direct option. Please consider that option first!

The rest of this post describes the fixes for when WLM misbehaves. Please do NOT attempt these steps if you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the advanced techniques therein. BlueScreen Computer cannot accept any responsibility for any damages/data loss that occur from attempting the following repair tactics.

WLM Repair Option #1

Remove your Email Account and re-add it.

For this method, you will need to know your mail server names and other account settings. Comb through your email account screens and take notes before you proceed, or call your ISP or email provider afterwards for info and help.

Also note that this is intended for IMAP account setups. If you have previously setup your email in WLM as a POP account, you may irrevocably lose emails or folders in this process.

Open WLM and dismiss any error pop-ups.

Go to File -> Options -> Email Accounts.

Select your email account and click the Remove button.

Once your email address is gone from this window, use the Add… button to set it up again.

WLM Repair Option #2

Delete the App Data for WLM

As in Option #1, you will need to re-add your email account after these steps. Take note of your account settings in advance, or be prepared to call someone for help with the settings. And if your email account was set up as a POP, this may cause the loss of your current emails and folders..

Press the Windows Key and the ‘R’ key to open a Run window.

Type %localappdata% and click OK.

Enter the Microsoft folder, then enter the Windows Live Mail folder.

Delete all files and folders inside.

Reboot, reopen WLM and go to File -> Options -> Email Accounts to re-add your email account.

WLM Repair Option #3

Use a Windows Registry Reset

This option involves editing the registry, and you almost never see me recommending this to anyone. A mistake in the Windows Registry can harm your entire computer, and no one wants that. Do not attempt this unless you are uber-confident with your computer skills.

Press the Windows Key and the ‘R’ key to open a Run window.

Type regedit and click OK.

Drill down to Computer \ HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows Live Mail

Right-click on the Windows Live Mail folder and (one at a time), create the following DWORD entries:


As you create each new entry, open it and change its Value Data to 1.

If for any reasons these values are already present, do not recreate them, but open each and change the Value Data to 1.

Reboot and reopen WLM.

Informed Delivery by USPS

The 2001 Anthrax Attacks led the USPS to begin scanning and tracking our postal mail. All USPS mail is photographed and/or scanned as it passes through sorting machines and sent on its way. This mass surveillance program is called Mail Isolation Control and Tracking, or MICT for short.

Eventually (in 2017), the USPS decided to share this bevy of information with its customers, in the form of a program called Informed Delivery. If you sign up for Informed Delivery, you can get a preview of your mail that will arrive later that day. This service is free to all eligible addresses, and you can sign up at this site. Typically, you will receive an email each morning, showing an image of all mail arriving that day, but they also appear to offer a text notification option, too!

I can see so many uses for this tool. If you have a problem with missing mail, it might give extra information about where it is getting lost. If you aren’t at your residence every day, it can give you a heads-up when something important has arrived. It might also help you intercept a birthday present that’s arriving for your spouse. And so on.

It even works for some PO Boxes, but you must try to sign up at their website to find out if your address is currently eligible.

Email Safety Tips

Right now, government agencies are warning about a significant ransomware attack being directed at US Hospitals. And I hear that the ADA is reaching out to dental offices, telling them to be alert and to make sure their data is backed up. As the current threat expands, any healthcare-related office needs to be on guard, as do you. Ransomware or viruses usually ignore geographic and other man-made boundaries. The next computer hazard could arrive in your inbox at any time.

But please don’t get too anxious, because your antivirus and other software security is going to help keep the threat at bay. What you should consider is: The bad guys know you’re already well-protected, so they will use mind games to get you to defeat your own security. Here are some basic tips to keep you safe and help you not get tricked into a computer infection:

  • Don’t open attachments or click links that you weren’t expecting, or are from unknown people. Especially keep this in mind for when you receive a scary or alarming email! Ransomware is often contained in messages that claim you have an overdue account or large bill attached. By sending you unpleasant news, they hope to distract you and compromise your judgment for just long enough for you to open that viral attachment.
  • If your gut is telling you something, LISTEN TO IT. Did you just get a message from your CEO that seemed a little off? Is your friend emailing you for something that isn’t in character? Don’t second-guess yourself, don’t struggle to get in their head. Step away from the computer and pick up the phone. Get confirmation through other means before you trust that email on your screen.
  • Believe in your antivirus and other protections. Don’t be tricked into disabling any protections. I just received an Excel attachment and Microsoft Office opened it in “Protected View”, since it was obviously from somewhere foreign. But the file itself directed me to disable that Protected View feature and try again. If I had followed those steps, I would have infected my computer.
  • Badly grammar and mispellings used to be the hallmark of malicious emails, but not anymore. But there are other clues you can look out for. If you can spot the sender’s email address, be critical of the spelling and exact domain name. If you see an obvious mismatch between the email address and sender name, then trash that email immediately. Examples: Fred Rogers, Microsoft Support with the address of or Beatrice Snodgrass from Amazon Refund Agency with the address .
  • Don’t reply to emails that seem suspicious. Don’t call any phone number listed in an email that urgently calls you to action. You must not trust the contact info presented in the email! When verifying any email, use contact information from some source other than the email itself. For example, if you get a weird message from your boss, Forward the message to his email address from your address book, and maybe Cc: his boss. Or if you get an alert from your bank, grab your last paper statement or bank card, and call the phone number printed there.

Be safe out there, folks!

The Thank-You-for-Your-Purchase Scam

thank you for your purchase scam

A common email scam starts with a message, stating you made a purchase, when you truly didn’t. The Thank-You-for-Your-Purchase Scam may appear to come from Microsoft or any number of well-known companies. Click here or here to view some examples of this scam.

$500 for “Microsoft Windows Defender Firewall Online”? Many people will miss that that doesn’t make much sense, nor does the From: address. The panic from an unwanted $500 credit card charge often causes people to jump for the phone, but please don’t call or respond to this message! Also do not click any links inside the email. Remain calm and recognize this for the ploy that it is.

The bad guys want you to pick up the phone and dial that shady number. They want you to ask for a refund, because once you ask for anything, they’ll try to manipulate and feed you more false info. If the caller cooperates, they stand to lose a lot of money through remote control trickery. And if a caller wises up and ends the phone call, the cybercriminals will snag the phone number from their CallerID. They inevitably share that info with other scammers, which leads to more scam calls later on.

It’s best to disregard this email, if you get it. Just delete it. If you need further peace of mind, simply call your credit card company and talk to them about it. Review your statements and you’ll see that this charge never happened.

I’ve written about many different flavors of this scam. Familiarity will help you dodge these, so please check out my other blog posts:

Apple App Store Purchase Scam

The Norton Auto-Renewal Scam

The Geek Squad Scam

The Microsoft 365 Renewal Scam

Accidental Payment Scams

The Hybrid Paypal Scam

The McAfee Renewal Scam

And one last thing: if you or someone you know has fallen victim to one of these scams, I am here to advise and help. Please reach out to me for advice or remote support!

Windows Live Mail

An email client is a program that is used to view your email on your computer. There are many email clients, like the Windows 10 Mail app, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Microsoft Outlook. But the one that many just can’t give up is Windows Live Mail.

Microsoft made that program as a successor to Outlook Express and Windows Mail, and it was fantastic for its era. But it stopped getting updates in 2012 and was officially shuttered in 2017. Microsoft has removed it from its free downloads. If you go looking for it, they will steer you hard to use Mail in Windows 10.

These days, more and more people don’t need an email client, as web-based email is easy enough to use. And Windows Live Mail is a bit dated and may refuse to work with some modern email addresses (like Hotmail and Gmail). But if you insist, you can still install and use Windows Live Mail. WLM is available in this download at CNET:…/3000-20418_4-10805747.html

And just in case they ever take that down, I’ve got an archival copy of the installer in my Google Drive, here:

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