Q: I have a question about keeping email synchronized across different devices.

I have three Comcast POP3 email accounts that I access from my iPhone (using the native MAIL app) and via Outlook through Microsoft 365 on my laptop. One of the accounts is the primary Comcast account, and I have the account on my iPhone configured to delete emails from the Comcast server whenever I remove them from my inbox on my iPhone. That function does not work with the secondary email accounts. For all three accounts, if I access email through Outlook on my laptop, the messages are removed from the Comcast server and are not available on my iPhone. Is there any way to have the POP3 accounts synchronized between the two devices? When I delete them from one device I don’t want them to show up on the other.

— John Milberg, Bainbridge Island

A: I’m afraid that’s how POP3 email accounts work. When any email client downloads messages they will be deleted from the mail server.

For the functionality you want you’ll need to convert your Comcast accounts to IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). IMAP is designed to do exactly what you’re after. IMAP keeps your messages on a server and synchronizes them across devices. If you delete a message on one device it won’t appear on other devices. And if you respond to a message on one device it will show up as responded to on your other devices.

You can find step-by-step instructions for converting those Comcast accounts here: https://www.xfinity.com/support/articles/pop-imap-windows-live-mail.

Related Tech Q&As

Read more from Patrick Marshall here >>
Advertising

Q: I’m using an HP Envy Laptop with Windows 10. All of a sudden Google Chrome stopped working. I tried to uninstall it to reinstall a new version but it wouldn’t install. It kept telling me that there was still something running preventing me from installing it. The Task Manager didn’t show anything. I searched the web and found several discussions on the problem and it seems that I would need to go into the registry to delete some things. I’m hesitant to do this. Do you know of an easier way to get rid of Chrome or a trusted method to edit the registry to accomplish it?

— Mike Rich

A: It sounds like a Chrome process didn’t shut down and is stopping you from uninstalling and reinstalling. To shut that process down right-click in the system tray at the bottom of Windows and then select Task Manager. If you don’t see tabs across the top of Task Manager, click on “More details” at the bottom of the window. Then click on the Processes tab and see if there is any listing of Chrome, including in the Background Processes section. If so, highlight it and then click on the End Task button.

If that doesn’t do the trick for you, you might have more success trying a third-party uninstaller program such as Revo Uninstaller.

Q: Comcast/Xfinity is discontinuing its free Norton anti-virus protection. I signed up for their Advanced Security. As I understand it, that protects my computer while I am on my Xfinity Gateway (their modem). I use my computer on other networks when traveling. So, do I need separate anti-virus software on my computer? If so, are there no-cost or low-cost options that could keep my computer safe enough while traveling?

— Brian Ito

A: While I used to recommend third-party anti-virus software, the Windows Security anti-virus and anti-malware software that is built into Windows 10 is so much improved that I now rely on it.

Also, I recommend using a virtual private network (VPN) when on public networks. VPNs encrypt your traffic over the internet so that even if someone taps in they won’t be able to make any sense of your communications.