Can I prevent emails from downloading to a PC? | Q&A with Patrick Marshall


Q: I’m one of the old guys (pushing 80) mentioned in your recent article. I have several problems with our computers. Our 2 year old Dell laptop with Windows 10 downloads emails when turned on. It’s not the main computer. I would like it to only download emails when instructed to do so.

The Dell also refuses to recognize our Canon Pixma printer. I tried to download the data from the printer to the laptop.

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We also have a 2019 Mac and recently moved from Catalina to Big Sur. I have Malwarebytes on both computers and McAfee on the Dell. I’m told the Mac doesn’t need anything else for virus protection. Is it true?

Bill Barnes

A: The steps to disable automatic email downloads depend on the email client you are using. In Microsoft Outlook, for example, you need to click on Send/Receive in the main menu, then on Send/Receive groups, then on “Turn off scheduled send/receive”.

Of course, if you access your email through a web browser, there’s no way to turn off automatic downloads because the messages you see aren’t actually downloaded to your computer.

When it comes to the Canon Pixma printer, you’ll want to visit the Canon website, select the specific model of Pixma printer you have (and there are many models) to download the appropriate drivers for the operating system with which you want to use it. The drivers will guide you through the installation.

And when it comes to antivirus protection, I would say you are ready, but if you are using Malwarebytes on the Windows computer, I think you can ditch the McAfee antivirus software. Malwarebytes, which started out as an anti-malware program, now also includes antivirus protection.

And, of course, I’ll add the usual caveat: no antivirus program offers 100% protection, especially against new viruses and other malware. It is therefore very important to follow safe online and email practices. Don’t visit sites you don’t trust. Do not click on links or attachments in emails unless you are sure of the identity of the sender. And don’t let your email program automatically download images embedded in emails.

Q: I’ve used the RoboForm password safekeeping program for years. It stopped after a while, so I had to enter the master password several times a day. It was well remembered. I also had it written. Then one day it stopped working. I was still logged into RoboForm on my desktop computer, but the password failed on my phone. I would have liked to save the list of passwords on the computer. I assumed it was a problem with my phone, which I’ve had a lot of.

I tried to contact RoboForm, but for that you need to have the master password. Resetting the password erases all your data.

I switched to LastPass because they have a way to recover a lost master password. It’s complicated, but they have a way. But I am still upset about the sudden and inexplicable loss of my access to RoboForm.

Do you have any idea what could have happened? Have you heard of this happening?

Ross Carey

A: I haven’t found any cases other than yours where a RoboForm master password stops working.

By the way, with RoboForm and LastPass, you can designate an emergency contact so they – and you – can access them if your master password is lost or forgotten.


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