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Issue #301: April 28, 2013

Q: Some weeks ago I started not being able to get into certain accounts or pay certain bills. I finally realized I was getting this message: javascript:void(0);.  I searched on the web and followed directions for both IE and Firefox to enable javascript. However it WAS enabled on both of these. I truly don’t know what to do next.  In order to pay some bills or look at some accounts, I have to use my husband’s PC instead of my own. Very frustrating. Any help would be appreciated.

Sandra S.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

 A: JavaScript (not to be confused with Java – they’re not related to each other at all, despite the similarity of the names) is a high-level, interpreted computer language that allows web pages to control certain aspects of your web browser so they can communicate more effectively with you.  It is used by many web page authors to enhance the web experience, and make possible some of the gee-whiz features of the web we’ve all come to take for granted, like the online bill paying that you mentioned.  The specific message you mentioned is actually a tooltip, rather than an actual output message from JavaScript to you.  A tooltip is a small snippet of text that is displayed when you hover your mouse over a link or control.  It summarizes what will happen when you click on it.  The message javascript void(0);generally means that there is no action associated with that click, which can be caused by several reasons, including, as your research revealed, JavaScript being disabled.  Another possible cause is an error in the script itself.  I’m going to guess that’s not the case here, since you say you’re able to access the link from another computer, although it’s possible you have an old version of the page in question that’s being accessed from your browser’s cache.  Try clearing your cache just in case.  If you’ve eliminated all those possibilities, about the only thing remaining is that something on your computer is interfering with JavaScript’s ability to function.  For example, a popup blocker, virus scanner, or even a virus itself.  It’s also possible that your web browser’s JavaScript implementation is itself outdated or has become corrupted, perhaps by some browser add-on.  Check for updates for both your scanner and browser, and consider removing and re-installing your browser, and disabling add-ons. If none of this helps, you probably have a deeply embedded malware infection on your hands, which will need to be removed before it causes you any further problems.

TIP OF THE WEEK – Subject: Windows 8.  Many of you have written in expressing your angst about Windows 8, including the desire to purchase a new PC, but not wanting to wind up saddled with Windows 8.  Well, you’re not alone.  New PC sales have been slumping lately, and many analysts are pointing straight at Microsoft’s latest OS as the root cause.  Remember how much people disliked Vista?  Apparently Win8 is even less popular than Vista was!  Well take heart, Geeks.  Later this year, Microsoft is planning the release of Windows 8.1, which, among other features, will bring back the venerable Start button (although reportedly in a slightly new form) and will also allow you to skip the Start screen and go straight to the Desktop after logging in.  Expect to see these changes around the end of the summer.  If you don’t want to wait that long, there are already third-party add-ons available that will bring back that little button with which so many of us have a deep and abiding love/hate relationship.


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