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Issue #271: September 30, 2012

Q: Internet Explorer Security popup keeps popping up every time I click on a site saying website wants to open web content for Adobe Flash Player – Adobe Systems Inc.  How can I stop this?

Linda L.
Odessa, Texas

A: My knee-jerk reaction to your question is to say “Well duh – install Adobe Flash Player!” but I realized that is more of a be-a-jerk reaction, and I want to help.  So, let me give you a more in-depth explanation.

It is the job of the venerable web-browsers that we have all grown to know and love (or hate) to retrieve computer gobbledygook from a website, interpret it, and display it in human-readable form.  This is done through certain languages, protocols, and mystical encoding and communication mechanisms that only a genuine dyed-in-the-wool Über-Geek understands.  Most of these mechanisms are standardized, like the common Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) of which many web pages are composed.  By standardized, I mean that an independent authoritative body has published a standard so that anyone who uses the language or protocol has a common frame of reference for what everything means.  That way, the receiver (in your case, a browser) knows what the sender (a website) is trying to say.  Now, all web browsers in use today are fully capable of decoding and displaying data that use any of the standardized mechanisms.  Unfortunately, not all mechanisms are standardized, and you mentioned one of them.  Adobe Systems’ Flash is widely used by website authors to create everything from simple animations, to games, to feature length videos, and Internet Explorer does not have Flash support built-in.  For IE to be able to display this non-standard content, you need to have the Adobe Flash Player installed, so it can perform the interpretation instead of your browser.  It is available for free at  Remember, you are making a change to your computer’s configuration and installing new software, so read carefully, and don’t rush.  Otherwise, you are almost certain to install other software besides Flash Player that Adobe Systems installs by default unless you tell it not to.

Q: I’m looking forward to your website.  I have a fairly new Gateway laptop with lots of space on the hard drive. I’m using Norton.  Lately, I have been trying to access various sites and after a slow load, I’m unable to scroll through the site/article/whatever.  I have tried defrag (drive was in good shape already due to scheduled defrags); check disk (not much – it found “45 reparse records processed” which is greek – I had trouble finding an explanation of what that means); new mouse battery; disabling some sites on startup; performance troubleshooting.  I’m grinding my teeth a lot over this.

Beth C.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: It often makes me smile at the lengths some people go to when trying to solve their problem.  I’m not quite sure why you thought replacing your mouse battery would help, but I do commend you on your thoroughness.  Unfortunately, your thoroughness did not include the possibility of a malware infection, and it sounds to me like your computer has a good old fashioned virus.  I recommend a good thorough scan with one or more tools like SpyBot Search and Destroy, AdAware, SuperAntiSpyware, or similar to see if any of them can find anything.  You can find these and more over at your favorite search engine portal.  Of course, my website is always available at (not .com) where you’ll find a custom Google search bar, but I don’t think you’ll find any articles there dealing with your specific problem.  Still, head on over and sign up (it’s free, of course) and go comment on some of the articles.  I’m looking to increase the participation over there, so I can justify adding content and new site features!

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