XP, Outlook Express, gmail and aol

Thread: XP, Outlook Express, gmail and aol

  1. iBozz's Avatar

    iBozz said:

    Question XP, Outlook Express, gmail and aol - my brain hurts

    First, let me declare that I am not a Windows user and know only the bare minimum about it. I have, however, been asked by a seriously untechie XP user to look at his machine because it isn't working properly in that it would be quicker to walk to websites he visits and bring back the data from the required page after it had ben transcribed by monks with quill pens than it would to access via IE!.

    He uses Outlook Express for email and had two accounts, one a gmail account and the other an aol account and he also wants to remove the gmail account which he used as an officer of a club from which he has now resigned.

    His machine hasn't been turned off for a long time, although he didn't tell me this until well after I'd started trying to see what was going on, so remains connected via broadband.

    He has Norton Security installed, although he doesn't know how current it is and things were taking so long this morning that I gave up trying to open it to see what it said.

    It would not allow me to open Task Manager so I could not see if any strange or orphan process was hogging the kit.

    Right, here is what happened:

    1) The last email which Outlook Express appears to have picked up was dated about a week ago, which accords with his view that the slow response effect started around a week ago. That may be coincidence, but I incline to the view that it may not.

    2) I closed and reopened Outlook Express, which took forever (10 minutes plus).

    3) I opened IE (the only browser he had) to confirm that we were in fact connected to the outside world. It opened around 5 completely blank windows, then eventually (after 5 minutes?) loaded a window with his home page, so we are connected.

    4) I rebooted. The close down procedure presented a series of around a dozen "process not responding" messages, each of which said that clicking Quit (or whatever) would lose unsaved changes. With the exception of Outlook Express, I did not recognise any process name as they all seemed to be a series of random alphanumerics.

    5) I opened Outlook Express after the restart, went to Accounts, deleted the gmail account, closed Outlook Express and again restarted. Again, there were many "stuck" processes i didn't recognise and there was the Outlook Express "not responding message again - yet I had just closed it! I had to click the Quit (or whatever) button and it said that I would lose all changes. Fine, all I'd done is delete gmail so i could do that again if the deletion hadn't been "saved".

    5) The actual restart took a fair amount of time (long enough for me to make a coffee!) but, when we relaunched Outlook Express, there were no emails in any folder and OE looked as I presume it would "straight out of the box" - it appeared to have been initialised. The Recycle Bin contained a mass of .bak files with names like "inbox.bak" so I closed OE and restored these by right clicking and selecting Restore. They disappeared from Recycle, but a system search cannot now find them anywhere on the HD! I then restarted Outlook Express and it was still in pristine condition with nothing but the "Welcome to OE" email which, I guess, is actually built in to it.

    6) I shut down (again, a series of odd stuck processes), came home and am posting this on my smoothly running (touch wood) iMac!

    So, apologies for the rambling post, but what do I do to:

    a) speed up the machine to a speed which is acceptable? It is many years old, so excrement off a digging implement speed is not achievable, but a system response wittin an hour to each and every mouse click would be an improvement

    !b) stop the "stuck processes" procession of close down panels unless, of course, they should be there? As I said, I'm not a Windows user so have no idea of what is normal although I'm guessing that these aren't!

    c) restore the aol email account and, if necessary for the recovery, the gmail one as well although that was what we need to remove;

    d) make the machine "idiot proof" as I spend an inordinate amount of time each visit untangling things he was unwittingly and unknowingly done! This is but the latest of a series of problems.

    Thanks in advance for your patience and, I hope, responses!

    The sooner I can get this resolved the sooner I can stop pretending to be out whenever he calls!
  2. evilsatan's Avatar

    evilsatan said:

    Default Re: XP, Outlook Express, gmail and aol

    A very long post there Go to aol via. a web browser and sign in to his account and check if his emails are there. If they are all there (or at least the important ones) I would consider backing up any data, software licences, formatting, then reinstalling XP from scratch. Create a restore point when the drivers and software are all configured correctly. When you connect Outlook to AOL it will download all the emails you saw when using a web browser.

    If the AOL online inbox is empty then you will need to trawl the current install to find the mail folders. Search for .ost or .pst files. Are you sure he doesn't have Outlook and Outlook Express installed? I have had customers get confused between the two and wonder where all of their mail has gone.

  3. iBozz's Avatar

    iBozz said:

    Default Re: XP, Outlook Express, gmail and aol

    Many thanks, evil, I'll do just that when I next see him.

    I am, speaking from the Mac Universe, a tad perplexed - I thought that Apple provided system disks and The dark Side didn't? Sprog The Elder uses Windows and once told me that MS never issued disks as the OS came pre-loaded. I confess i found that hard to believe, but I didn't annoy him by questioning him - after all, he's the one who will select which Oldies home I'll be sent to when I go even more ga-ga!.

    A very long post there - I ramble when I panic!

    I did see both Outlook and Outlook Express, but both appeared "empty".

    I asked him how he accessed email and he went straight to "Start ? Outlook Express" so, if that's what he does then I guess that that is what he uses.

    The mail was there when I started as I saw his inbox (or at least the "top" portion of it so I know that things disappeared at some stage during this morning, but whether that was pre- or post - my caffeine top-up I cannot tell!
  4. iBozz's Avatar

    iBozz said:

    Default Re: XP, Outlook Express, gmail and aol

    I rang him today to see when I could go round and look at his problem - and he tells me that his aol email has come back, but in Outlook and not Outlook Express!

    Don't ask, for I (nor indeed he) have any idea what he has done.

    He is, alas, the sort of PC user who, when scanning his various files, will think "System folder? That's not mine, I'll delete it to make some space"!

    Well, perhaps not quite so idiotic as that, but rather then leave well alone and take advice, he does tend to bumble along then yell for help afterwards!

    He says the machine is running very slowly still, so I may go and see if I can sort that out, but at least his email is back!
  5. liveseytowers's Avatar

    liveseytowers said:


    I'd just back it all up on a USB drive and pop Windows 7 on it. Should be able to help you out with a serial if you let me know what version you've downloaded. There are links on here for the Windows 7 ISOs
  6. rIKmAN's Avatar

    rIKmAN said:

    Default Re: XP, Outlook Express, gmail and aol

    Uninstall Norton and tell him never to use that POS again.
  7. danthescan's Avatar

    danthescan said:

    Default Re: XP, Outlook Express, gmail and aol

    Give us the System Specs till we see what OS it will run,then back it up and Rebuild it.And never use Nortons again.
    Or get him to buy a Mac,as you then might be able to help him.