Q: I visited a new business in Sumner and paid on its Square device using my Alaska Airlines credit card. I did not opt for a receipt nor did I at any time give them my email address. The next day I received an email with a coupon for my next visit. I know privacy is dwindling fast, but is there any way to protect from businesses getting your email other than paying with cash?

Charles E. Bernasconi

A: There are a couple of ways that business may have connected your credit card to your email address.

First, if you gave your email address when using that credit card on Square, Square will store the connection and will allow other merchants to send to that email address.

Square offers Square Profile (https://profile.squareup.com), an online portal that allows you to view and manage your personal information. If you log into your profile you can opt out of receiving digital receipts or promotional communications from businesses you purchase from.

Another possibility is that credit agencies such as Experian and Equifax, along with other companies, collect and connect such data and sell it to merchants and others who want to reach you.

Yes, our personal data is out there and is being connected in a lot ways we may not like. I’m fully in favor of strengthening U.S. laws to protect personal data. Europe has set an admirable standard in this regard with its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


Q: I am not an expert computer user, but I’m sure my problem isn’t rare. I purchased a Dell laptop about 15 years ago. It got set aside for a few years and now I cannot access it because I can’t recall the password. I have tried everything I could think of. I am ready to give up and throw the thing away, but I can’t remember what’s on it, and feel like I should wipe it clean before disposal. Of course, I am unable to do that. Should I just throw it in the garbage? What do you recommend?

Kym Morgan

A: Don’t throw out that computer! If you don’t want to bother with it anymore, drop it off at a computer recycle service. They generally wipe the drives clean.

I haven’t had occasion to try it yet, but there is a program called Kon-Boot that claims to allow you to boot Windows XP through Windows 10. There’s also a version for Macs. You can learn more here: https://kon-boot.com/index.html.  The cost for personal use is $27.

You’ll also need a USB thumb drive with at least 16 gigabytes of space to use Kon-Boot.

Once you’ve booted you can create a new local administrator account.

I’ll confess that I feel two ways about this. Obviously, the big plus is you access your computer. The downside is that so can someone else who gains access to your computer.


Q: I am using Outlook 2016 Pro and have two email accounts. The first one, for work, has had no problem. It is a Post Office Protocol (POP) account. The personal email is a Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) and for some reason, will take emails from the inbox and move them to trash. I have some emails from August 2021 that are still in the inbox, but a few days ago, I had four or five emails that I received just two days before and they were moved to Trash. Some of these were read and some unread. Is there a setting that I’m missing? I’ve asked friends and they have no idea. I’ve gone online also, but haven’t found anything that works. There doesn’t seem to be a timeframe for them to be moved. I just want to move them when I want to.

E. Woo

A: Are you accessing that IMAP account from another device as well?

The main difference between POP3 (the third version of POP) and IMAP is that IMAP will synchronize emails on multiple devices. So, for example, if you delete some emails on your phone, when you check that account on your computer those emails will be in the trash.