Five Outlook Nightmares (and How to Fix Them)

You use Microsoft Outlook to manage your email, your appointments, your contacts, and your to-do lists. In other words, you use it to manage your work life. So when this program doesn’t behave the way it’s supposed to, you have a nightmare.


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You’re Apparently Spamming Your Friends

Your contacts may be receiving unwanted mail that appears to be coming from you. Dont worry: Youre not spamming people while in a hypnotized trance. And neither is your copy of Outlook.

Remember that your copy of Outlook and your email account have no real connection, other than the fact that you use one to access the other.

In all likelihood, your email account has been hijacked for spamming purposes. To get it back, try changing your password (and make your new password a strong password). If you succeed in changing the password, and if hijacking is the problem, youve just solved it.

But if you cant change your password, the account has definitely been hacked. Contact your email provider about how to reclaim it; Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo each outline the steps for reclaiming an account.

A hijacked account isnt the only possibility, however. A malware-infected PC with access to your email address may be part of a spam-spewing botnet.

It could even be your computer. To find out, scan your hard drive with one or more security utilities other than your regular antivirus program. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware Free, SuperAntiSpyware Free Edition, and the AVG Rescue CD each do a good job.

If your computer isn’t the culprit, then a friends PC is–especially if the people receiving your spam all know one another. Malware can spoof (forge) any ‘To’ address in the outgoing spam, and typically it picks a random address from the infected PCs hard drive. If the friends who are complaining are all part of the same social circle, suggest that all of them check their PCs for malware.

Email on Your Office PC Doesnt Turn Up at Home

If you have Outlook installed on two computers, and you try to download mail on both of them, youll likely to run into problems. The mail you download to one copy of Outlook likely wont be available to download to the other.

You havelutions to choose from, but the simplest is to change the way Outlook accesses your mail. If you use the POP3 protocol (Outlooks default), Outlook will download your new mail and then delete the messages from your mail providers server. As a result, the messages arent there anymore for you to download. You could tell Outlook not to delete the mail, but that causes its own problems.

The better solution is to switch to the much smarter MCITP Online TrainingFree MCTS Training – IMAP protocol, which synchronizes the mail on the server with the mail in Outlook. That way, the messages will remain in sync on every computer you check them with (as well as on your smartphone).

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August 2011
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