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Issue #541: December 3–9, 2017

Q: In Firefox, every time I put a term in Google’s search bar and hit enter, the results that return are always, YAHOO! atop the right corner. Yahoo is not in my short list of search engines. When I use Chrome, same search term, the results are completely different and Google’s logo appears top-left of the page. By all appearances, Yahoo has hijacked Google searches, at least when using Firefox. Chrome is not compatible with Outlook 2013 so I prefer to use Firefox.

– William R.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: Considering that Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer are most likely also loaded on your PC, you have the start of a fine browser collection there, William. Understand though, that although all web browsers share the same basic function of fetching, rendering, and displaying website content, they are fully independent from each other. As such, their configuration will probably be different, including which Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) and other add-ons are loaded. Since that is the case, the fact that searches in Chrome use Google, and searches in Firefox are redirected to Yahoo! is largely irrelevant. It simply means that one browser is behaving, and the other is not.

As for the search results being different, you can chalk that up to the algorithms that various search providers use to determine which search results to deliver to you. For example, Google delivers paid advertising content first, even though that content may not be the most relevant given your search parameters. Each search engine has its own heuristics and its own rules.

I suspect your misbehaving browser has some piece of so-called helper software loaded that is causing your problem. That could also account for how this is happening even though Yahoo! is not in your list of search engines. To solve this problem, you will need to examine the Add-ons that are being loaded by the browser and disable or remove the one that’s causing the problem. Start by running Firefox, and in the address bar type “about:addons” and press [Enter]. This will open the Add-ons Manager. On the left-side, select “Extensions.” Look for anything that has Yahoo in its name, and remove it. While you’re in there, you might want to take a look for the names of other add-ons that are known to interfere with – or even hijack – your browser’s search functionality. This includes Incognito, SearchLock, SafeSearch, SearchAssist, and anything else with names that imply they’re going to help out with searching, especially if you don’t remember installing them. For any of them that you don’t feel comfortable with, select it and remove it. Hopefully, your problem will go away.

• • •

Q: I have a HP ENVY 700 PC on Windows 10 and I cannot turn off Airplane mode. I can’t connect by Ethernet nor wireless.

– Bill F.
Freeport, Florida

A: I think you may be under a false assumption that your system is in Airplane Mode, Bill. The actual condition you’re describing is No Network Connection. Airplane mode is only one of many possible causes of this condition, but from your description, I don’t believe it’s what’s going on. I say that because Airplane Mode is a simple toggle. There’s not a lot that can go wrong with it, so it shouldn’t be possible to get to the point where you “cannot turn off Airplane mode”.

I think that your network adapters have somehow become disabled – essentially turned off in Windows. For more comprehensive information on this topic, I’m going to refer you back the first column of 2017, (I.G.T.M. Issue #493, Jan 1, 2017) in which reader Dennis W’s laptop lost access to his router, much like yours.

If you want to go straight for the fix, here are the steps to check and re-enable your network adapters. Press the keyboard combination [WinKey]+R to bring up the “Run…” box. In the field marked “Open:” type “ncpa.cpl” and click Ok. This brings up a dialog box containing a list all of your computer’s network adapters. It should be fairly obvious by examining the entries which ones are your active adapters and their current status. For any that are disabled, right-click on their icon and select “Enable” from the context menu to bring it back online.

Of course, there are other things that could be wrong. If the above steps don’t get you connected, you’ll need to check any cables between this device to the router. You’ll also need to check the router itself. Make sure its settings are not excluding the device somehow, and that your computer is configured with the correct Wi-Fi password. If you know how to do it, check each adapter’s IP settings, and make sure they’re set to “DHCP” and not some static address that might conflict with something else on your network.

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