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Q: We just went through an email upgrade with Comcast for our Outlook Express account. After many setup efforts, we have gotten it to work, but we still have a problem.

We have our main PC and a laptop. Before the upgrade, we got all incoming emails on both computers. But now if we receive the new emails on the main PC, we cannot receive those same emails on the laptop. We only get “No New Messages” when we use the laptop.

Can you give us some direction on how to achieve this? We are afraid to do anything more now and risk losing everything.

— Ron Self, Covington

A: It seems Outlook Express on your main PC has been configured to delete the emails on the server once they are downloaded to the computer.

To change this, go to Select Tools/Accounts and click on the Mail tab. Select your account and then click on Properties. Next click on the Advanced tab and, in the Delivery section, select the checkbox next to “Leave a copy of messages on server.”

You can also specify that messages on the server be deleted after a selected number of days.

Q: In order to inventory my extensive book collection, I purchased a software program from It’s been very useful, as I can input books either using a bar code scanner, with the ISBN, or manually if they don’t have a bar code or ISBN.

The software has made the whole inventory process faster and easier. However, after the company recently upgraded the program, I’ve been having problems. Sometimes, when I open Book Collector, I get a message telling me that there was an “Error reading from file” and referencing the file name as it’s stored on my computer. It then lists the number of items that can be “recovered from the corrupted file” and asks if I’d like to restore the automatic backup file of this file created on [date/time].

No matter whether I respond “yes” or “no,” Book Collector restores the file … but with a bunch of books missing.

The software company advised that I should uninstall the program via the Start menu, using a 10-step process that involved editing the Windows registry. Because I’m not a technical whiz, I had several computer-savvy friends review this fix, and they have all advised me to stay away from the registry, so I’m now terrified to try to fix this problem.

Do you have any idea what could be causing the corrupted files in the first place? And should I go ahead and try the fix, even though I’m afraid to get near the registry? — Debra Nelson, Edmonds

A: I agree with your friends that generally you want to stay away from editing the Windows registry. If you make mistakes, you can bollix up other programs. And I’m surprised that the software company would propose a fix that involves the customer editing the registry file.

Still, it sounds like the corrupt files are almost certainly the result of a problem with the upgrade of the Book Collector program. So if you want to keep using that program, I’d go ahead and follow the manufacturer’s instruction.

Before doing so, however, make a copy of the Windows registry file. That way, if anything gets screwed up you can simply go back to your old registry file.

Q: Every time I check my email, a message comes up and says: “Some errors occurred while processing the requested tasks.” The task is to check for new messages on EarthLink.

I always have to go into Send/Receive and click on “Update All,” then everything comes in at once, including news feeds. How can I get rid of the error message and have everything come in all the time or at least when I start email?

Also, on my Dell laptop I’ll be typing away and all of a sudden the cursor will jump to somewhere else. Is there anything I can do to stop the cursor from jumping?

— Liz Burnaw

A: I’d contact EarthLink support. It sounds like they’ve got a misbehaving script.

As for your laptop problem, I’m guessing that you have a touch pad? The most common cause of jumping cursors on laptops is the user inadvertently stroking the touch pad with the heel of the hand. If that’s the cause, and if you don’t often use the touch pad, you can turn it off.

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by email to or, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at