Tech Q&A: How to take your contacts along when switching email

April 6, 2015 

Q: I canít send email messages from my Microsoft Windows Live Mail program anymore, and my computer support people canít figure out how to fix it. As an alternative, they set up a Google Gmail account for me. But I canít use my Windows Live Mail contacts on Gmail except for a few email addresses I managed to transfer between the two. What should I do?

ó Paul Ehrhard, Hastings, Minn.

A: Many people have trouble with Windows Live Mail because of its complexity. I suggest that you switch to using Gmail exclusively instead of trying to use the two email systems together.

Why? Windows Live Mail and Gmail represent two different ways of handling email. Windows Live Mail is "client software," a PC program that stores your email and contacts on your hard drive. Gmail is "Webmail," meaning that it stores everything online.

But the two can work together. Windows Live Mail can act as a central receiving point for messages from several different email accounts and providers, including Gmail. The trouble is that Windows Live Mail and Gmail have only limited interaction. As a result, you canít use your entire Windows Live Mail contact list to send emails through Gmail.

The solution is to switch from Windows Live Mail to Gmail and take all your email contacts with you. First "export" your Windows Live Mail contacts to your PC as a ".CSV" (comma-separated values) file. Then log on to Gmail at (not via Windows Live Mail) and upload the .CSV file. For detailed instructions, see

Note: When you get to "Step 2: Importing Contacts Into Gmail," you may need to perform an interim step not listed in the directions. If, when you click on Gmailís "Contacts," you get a vertical rather than a horizontal menu, click "More," then "Import." Youíll be given the choice "Go to old contacts." Click on that, then resume following the directions by clicking "More."

Q: Iím having problems with my Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, a laptop that converts to a tablet PC. The battery will only charge up to 60 percent of capacity. And I canít output video to an external computer screen, even though Iíve reinstalled the video driver software as suggested. What should I do?

óJim Plantan, Bloomington, Minn.

A: It sounds as if your battery is wearing out and needs to be replaced (see Because your video output problem wasnít solved by reloading the video driver, I suspect the cause is a hardware failure. Unfortunately, the Yogaís video hardware is built into its main circuit board, so youíd need to replace that (see

I doubt itís worth spending approximately $300 on parts (plus labor) to fix a nearly three-year-old computer that originally sold for about $1,100. You could buy a new PC or a used Yoga similar to yours (about $700, see



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