Q: My husband has an HP Pavilion laptop running Windows 10 and I have a MacBook Pro and we use the same email address. Our email provider is Comcast.

For years each of us could delete an email that we both had brought up on our laptops and the email would still be on the other person’s laptop until they chose to delete it. Just recently when one of us deletes an email it immediately deletes it on the other person’s laptop.

I was trying to research this problem and came across a post that said Comcast recently changed from a POP format to a IMAP format. I don’t know if that affects this problem.

What changes in settings can we make so we can each retain our emails until we each want to delete them?

— Greg and Janet Williams

A: You’re on the right track. One of the design features of IMAP is that emails are stored on the mail server and are not automatically downloaded to a local computer. That’s because many users access their email from different devices.

Related Tech Q&As

Read more from Patrick Marshall here >>

So if you delete an email while you’re working on one device it will automatically be deleted on the server and you won’t have to delete it on your other devices. In effect, the multiple devices are synced, and the same goes for calendar entries, to-dos and other data.


With POP, on the other hand, emails are automatically downloaded to the local computer when you connect to the server. If that wasn’t happening with your POP account it must be because you and your husband configured your emails clients to leave deleted messages on the server. I’m not aware of an option for doing that with IMAP.

Your options? Either use separate IMAP email accounts or open a POP3 email account with a service provider and configure the clients to leave messages on the server.

Q: This is a multi-platform question. A group of my friends email each other daily and frequently attach JPGs, or other types of images or documents, usually 1-2 MB in size. We are on PCs, Macs, use Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, private domains, etc., with no two people having the same setup.

Yet one friend — the only one using a small Chromebook and associated Google OS and software — complains all time that the images I send to him are “embedded” and “blow out my screen.” He claims that I “embed” images instead of attaching them, since they don’t show up as a thumbnail in his email.

Any thoughts on what the problem might be or a solution?

— Gary Makowski, Bellevue

A: Actually, my wife works primarily on an iPad and keeps sending me emails with photos that are so tiny I can’t make out what they are.


The thing is, email clients display embedded images – images inserted within the actual body of the email — differently. So I also ask her to attach image files to her emails instead of embedding them. Then I can download them and view them.

And there’s another reason for not embedding images. Outlook and many other email clients by default don’t allow embedded images to display at all. That’s because images can contain malware. (If you trust the source of the email, you can right-click on the message to have it display.)

In short, I agree with your friend. Attach the image files to your emails instead of embedding them.

Q: Sorry to bother you with a question you have already answered, but … Did you not say in a previous column that there was a method to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for free?

— Ken Clark

A: Yes, Microsoft’s announced free upgrades to Windows 10 officially ended in 2016. But the company is still offering an upgrade to those who have legitimate licenses for Windows 7 and Windows 8. You can find more details and a link to the site here.  https://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-how-you-can-still-get-a-free-windows-10-upgrade/.