Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week.
Q: Recently, I signed into Outlook.com to use my Hotmail account and found an announcement that a new version of Outlook was in place — “no more beta.” While the update still had a junk folder, under “Settings,” there was no way to list safe senders or safe lists. Previously, there was under the subheading of “Options.”
I’ve written you before about the difficulty of rescinding emails from “spam” status with Outlook.com. Now it appears there is no way to do that, save for going into the message — assuming the email makes it to the junk folder.
— Terry Parkhurst, Seattle
A: Actually, the new Outlook.com still has a “safe sender” list. It’s just in a different place. To list a sender as safe, click on the Settings icon in the upper-right corner, then at the bottom of the window that pops up click on “View all Outlook settings.” Next, click on Junk Email and then scroll down to “Safe Senders and Domains.” You can enter any domains or addresses that you want to mark as safe.
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To mark items in the Junk Email folder as not junk mail, simply right-click on the item and select, “Mark as not junk mail.”
Q: I have a follow-up question to your answer to Don Schmutz regarding Windows 7 updates. You recommended upgrading to W10 to keep the computer secure.
In my accounting practice I use one Windows 7 and one Windows 10 computer for different, incompatible computing tasks. My tax and accounting software both perform poorly on Windows 10 — a typical problem according to my software vendors. Because of these negative experiences I am reluctant to upgrade my Windows 7 computer to Windows 10. Can you tell me what security risk I’m taking with the Windows 7 computer by not upgrading it to Windows 10?
— Mary Hollen, Greenbank
A: It sounds like the provider of your tax and accounting software has decided not to update their programs for full compatibility with Windows 10 and is trying to spin the blame off onto Microsoft. I have not heard anything about Windows 10 having inherent problems with tax and accounting programs.
Microsoft ended “mainstream support” for Windows 7 in January 2015. That means the company is not updating Windows 7 features. In January 2020, Microsoft is scheduled to no longer provide security updates for Windows 7. At that point, even if vulnerabilities are discovered in the operating system, security patches will not be provided.
In my humble opinion, due to increasingly sophisticated malware and computer viruses, it would be unwise to connect a computer to the internet that is not being regularly updated as vulnerabilities are discovered. If your software provider doesn’t choose to update their software for Windows 10 I’d recommend moving to a different tax and accounting program.
Q: I will be on a cruise ship with shore visits in Cuba soon. My iPhone will be my camera and I want to be able to iMessage or email from shipboard Wi-Fi. What are the best tips to avoid roaming charges and international unpleasantness?
— Susan, Seattle
A: There are three basic ways to avoid roaming charges while traveling. First, you can simply turn off roaming. That, of course, may mean you also don’t have service. Second, you can select a plan from your service provider that covers international roaming. Third, you can buy or rent a local SIM card to use in your phone. You’ll find more detailed options for your phone here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201643.