Q: My Gmail account suddenly stopped sending emails. I can receive emails, but any I try to send never go. This is happening on my phone, my tablet and my desktop computer.

— Bill Skelly

A: Are you accessing your Gmail account using a web browser or an email client such as Outlook?

Whenever encountering a problem with an email account sending or receiving, the first step is to try accessing the account with a web browser, preferably one that doesn’t have extensions or add-ons installed.

And make sure to turn off your virtual private network if you’re using one. (Your VPN may be running your connection through an IP address that is blocked by your mail server. That often happens if that IP address has been identified as a source of spam.)

Related Tech Q&As

Read more from Patrick Marshall here >>

If you don’t have any problems sending from your Gmail account when using a web browser but you are generally using an email client such as Outlook, it’s time to check how that client is configured. First, you’ll want to make sure the account is set up as an IMAP account. Then you’ll want to ensure that all the outgoing server settings are correct. You’ll find those settings here: st.news/checkgmail

Q: In a recent column, a reader asked about opening Word documents, only to get a pop-up dialog box: “The command cannot be performed because a dialog box is open.”


I have been having this problem ever since Windows 10 came on to my HP 655 Notebook. No other Word document is open. Period. And it happens every time.

I also get a dialog box pop-up when I try to shut down the computer. It says I have a program running, and I do not. Annoying, a time suck if I try to track it down to make it stop. Now, I just close the boxes and carry on. Technology. Am I right?

— J.L. Shirer

A: I hear you. It’s frustrating for me, too, especially because I haven’t been able to replicate the problem.

That said, I’ve been searching more for answers and I have a suggestion for you to try.

Voice-activated software assistants — like those from Amazon, Google and Apple — live on smart speakers, mobile devices, computers and more. (J.D. Biersdorfer/The New York Times) XNYT156 XNYT156
More Tech Reviews and Tips


Temporarily turn off your antivirus software and see if the problem goes away. What may be happening is that your antivirus is checking the Word file and causing Windows to think a dialog box is open.

In one specific report I found, turning off the “Microsoft Office Automatic Scan” feature in the Norton 360 antivirus program caused the problem to go away.

Please let me know your results.

Q: I currently have Microsoft Office 2007 for most of my docs. Starting a few months ago, every time I click on a doc a pop-up comes up stating “Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007” and below that it states “Configuration Progress” and then the usual thermometer running across. I have a Dell laptop and Microsoft 10 software. Why me?

— Bob Lalande, Tacoma

A: According to Microsoft, the most likely cause of the problem you’re having is a corrupt setting in your Windows registry. The easiest way to correct that corrupt setting is to reinstall your version of Microsoft Office.