The computer situation is getting worse. It all started when Verizon announced it was stopping its email service. You could switch to their new partner AOL (and keep the Verizon email addresses) or go get your own (and start with new email addresses). I started the procedure to switch to AOL; I can always get a new email service later, and the only assistance Verizon was providing was the transfer to AOL
It has all gone horribly wrong. I mentioned the hours online with Verizon's overseas call center techs, but it is worse. Well, yes, I can receive email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org on AOL's simple and unhelpful system.
But I have been using 3 sub-accounts on my Mac email where previous emails were sent to Verizon and forwarded to my Mac email. Except 2 of them seem incapacitated now. I may have caused that myself, but I'm not sure how. Just know that the passwords in my "keychain" don't seem to work anymore. And Verizon says they can't help me with anything on my Mac email.
So, I decided the only thing to do was restore my hard drive completely from my backup system (called Time Machine on Mac). I've used it before for specific files and folders, even recovered my Word and Excel for Mac, and once to completely copy back the entire drive. It takes time but it works.
Time Machine backs up new files hourly, saves weekly, saves monthly. Older backups are deleted when the external drive it saves to is filled. There are dozens.
Except yesterday when I tried to restore the entire drive, there WEREN'T. All gone except the most recent 2, which were from AFTER I switched my email from Verizon to AOL.
It may have been a new security program I purchased (and highly recommended at several sites). It made some small annoying changes (like setting my security to demand a password everytime I opened the computer even after it merely went into sleep mode after 10 minutes. But the first time it ran, I had it do a complete scan and cleaning of duplicate files. If that allowed it into my backup drive, it might be why all the old ones disappeared.
I don't know the cause for sure, but it doesn't seem to be reversible. All my backups are lost, just when I needed them most.
My Mac email is perfectly willing to let me into to my subaccounts (cavebear2118, marksmews2118, and yardenman2118 - those are my personal email, my cat email, and my gardening email respectively). IF I can type in the passwords. Which I haven't had to do for years to access them, so something ELSE has changed.
I found a file called Keychain that stores passwords for every website I visit, my email accounts, and some various other kinds of sites. Entering my Admin password allows me to display the specific passwords one at a time.
There were upwards of a dozen email accounts with different passwords on various dates and I do recall having struggled with email accounts before.
None of them worked, or they did and I didn't know the right place to go after that.
The strange thing is that email@example.com seems to work for receiving emails, but I can't send from any account or receive from the other 2. I can receive emails at my new AOL page, at least from some sites. But I can't send any to myself.
My Mac emails are still stored in my accounts, so I haven't exactly lost them. I just can't seem to send anything.
I'll fight with this for a few more days before doing anything drastic.