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Issue #503: March 12-18, 2017

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Q: This is a follow-up to my question that you answered in #498 column (ed: I.G.T.M. #498, February 5, 2017). Thanks for providing the response, was elated. Neglected to mention the pop-up occurs with or without a browser running.  I do have Edge, IE11, and Firefox. I did try AdwCleaner previously but downloaded a new edition and tried that too. It listed no malware, however, it flagged 4 folders with files all over a year old as suspicious.  The same files are also on 2 other XP computers with Avast without problems, which I deleted to try to correct the fault. I ran inetcpl.cpl and confirmed the settings you recommended. Did the restart and thought it was corrected – for about 30 seconds (no browser) when the pop-up occurred. Obviously am open to any other suggestions. Thanks again.

– Corwin D.
Mary Esther, Florida

A: Well, Corwin, I’ve already given you my best advice, and I’m sorry it didn’t help.  If AdwCleaner didn’t find anything, and the same files exist on other systems without triggering a warning, perhaps you’re getting a false-positive.  It does happen occasionally.  If you’re convinced that the problem isn’t really a problem, and you just want the pop-ups to go away, then you can add an exclusion for that file, so Avast! won’t trigger on it any more.

To do this, start by opening the Avast! user interface.  Go to “Settings” then “Active Protection”.  Select the File System shield, and click “Customize”.  In the left-hand navigation menu, locate and click on “Exclusions”.  Click “Add” to create a new entry in the list, and add the exact file path and name of the file that Avast! keeps alerting on.  Once you’re done, you need to restart all of Avast!’s shields to put your changes into effect.


 Q: I am running Widows 10 which I upgraded to when it first came out. When I turn my computer on in the morning the screen has colored horizontal lines running across it then it fades to a white screen it eventually comes up but it usually takes 5-10 minutes. What is going on?

– Michael M.
Niceville, Florida

A:  Okay, everybody go back and read the first sentence of Michael’s question.  “Widows 10” – ha!  Good one, even if it was accidental.

Michael, the first thing (ok, the second thing) that I thought when I read your question was “hardware problem”.  The description of our system made me wonder whether this might be an older PC, approaching the end of its useful life; i.e., the beginning of hardware problems. The problem with trying to diagnose this is that what you see on the screen may not be what Windows is trying to display to you.  If this is a desktop computer, there is a video card, a cable with a plug on each end, and a monitor with a power supply, and other electronic guts that are all suspects.  If the computer is a laptop, there are internal card-edge connectors that could have come loose, a backlight the could fail in strange ways, and other electronics that are all potential sources of problems.

Not to fear!  I have Geeked-up a method by which you can definitively prove whether this is a software or a hardware issue.  Just do a screen capture.  That is, while the problem is visible on your screen, simply press the “Print Screen” key.  Depending on your computer, the key may be labeled “Prt Scrn” or “Pt Sc” or something similar, and you may need to use a key modifier such as “Shift”, or “Ctrl” or even “Fn” to access the screen capture function.

Pressing this magic key essentially takes a copy of everything that Windows thinks is on your screen (regardless of the inter-connected hardware) and places it on the Windows clipboard.  From there, it can be pasted into any application capable of image processing, such as Paint, or WordPad.  Do this while the problem is visible on your screen, then wait for the problem to go away.  You’ll almost surely see that the lines you mentioned are not present.  In the unlikely event that it actually was a software problem, write in again, and I’ll look for other solutions after I finish a big plate of crow.  Otherwise, check for loose cabling, a video card that’s not properly seated in its slot, or, as I said earlier, a computer that’s just getting old and tired, and takes a few extra minutes to warm up all the way.

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