Tech Q&A

The mystery of the disappearing email


Minneapolis Star Tribune

Q. I received nine emails with photos from a relative in Puerto Rico. When I opened the first one, it suddenly disappeared from view. I thought that I had inadvertently deleted it in some way and checked in the “trash” file, but it wasn’t there. So I went back to the “inbox” to open the second email, and to my surprise, none of the eight remaining emails were there. But all other emails I had received were still there, and my computer is otherwise working perfectly. What happened?

Andy Fuertes


I suspect that a computer glitch at your email provider caused your email to disappear.

While your email provider is, it is owned by AT&T, which in turn outsources its consumer email accounts to Yahoo. Yahoo’s email software was upgraded in April, and following that there were scattered reports of people mysteriously losing email from their accounts.

You can take your particular problem directly to Yahoo by typing in “email is disappearing” at Yahoo’s Answers site, at You’ll be asked to sign in to your email, then allowed to describe your problem in more detail.

Yahoo also offers a help page for people who have lost emails, at, that suggests ways to search your other email folders for missing messages. It also tells you what to do if you believe your email account has been hacked.

Q. I had problems with your explanation two weeks ago of how to get rid of the browser hijacking program “” When I went to the website you recommended and downloaded the “free” software there, it turned out to be software that cost me $30 and showed that I had 553 errors on my computer. When I called to “activate” the software, a technician urged me to pay another $200 to clean up the computer problems.

When recommending software, you should check out these people.

Dewayne Moss

Mishawaka, Ind.

I’m afraid you downloaded the wrong software, but it’s partly my fault. I should have warned readers that these free advice websites are often cluttered with advertisements for related software, not all of it reputable. As a result, it’s easy to click on the wrong software download, as I believe you did. I apologize for that.

The free download on the website I suggested, at, is the legitimate free program Malwarebytes. A safer way for you to download the software is to go to, scroll down to “Malwarebytes Anti-Malware” and click the green “download now” button on the right. You should get a pop-up box that says “mbam-setup-” You’ll be asked to run or save the program, depending on which Web browser you’re using. If you save it, go to your browser’s “Tools” menu, choose “Downloads” and double-click the program to install it.

Contact Steve Alexander at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55488-0002; e-mail

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