Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Questions and answers relating to the tool we all perhaps use the most: our web browsers.

Chrome won't load my home page on the first attempt, but will on the second. Why?

There are several steps to try, including clearing the cache and then restarting the browser.

Do YouTube downloads slow internet loading?

I think the fact that you downloaded these videos is probably coincidental, unrelated to something else going on with your machine.

Do new browser features offering privacy really work?

Google Chrome offers Incognito mode, and IE8 offers InPrivate browsing. We'll look at how they work, and how private they really are.

Does a sandbox or virtual machine help protect your privacy?

Sandboxes and Virtual Machines can help isolate you from certain types of threats. We'll look at what they are and how they might, or might not, help.

Does leaving tabs open in my browser eat up bandwidth?

Having multiple websites open should have no impact on your internet bandwidth usage, unless those sites are actively uploading or downloading data.

Does private browsing or stealth mode count as anonymous surfing?

Private Browsing modes protect your privacy on your machine, while Anonymous surfing protects your identity on the internet. They're not related.

Does the Flash Player store things in my computer? Is that safe?

Flash Player can store information on your computer much like your browser stores cookies. We'll look at the risk, and how to manage the settings.

Does this email address that shows for auto-complete mean my computer or account has been hacked?

Autocomplete, or "suggestions" made when filling out a web form can be misleading, even frightening, until you realize where the suggestions come from.

Hotmail displays wrong under Safari. Is there anything I can do?

If Safari displays Hotmail pages wrong, it could be a problem with Safari itself. There are a couple of steps to take to clear the problem.

How can I get rid of Ask.com?

You should be able to remove any toolbars or browser settings that have been added to your computer.

How do I Java-enable my browser?

Several online chatrooms require you to have java enabled in your browser. Using the tutorial linked in this article will show you how to enable it.

How do I delete cookies?

Cookies can be used to save your password, or your logged in state, when you visit some web sites. I'll walk through clearing them.

How do I disable https?

You don't want to eliminate https. That's eliminating the security that you want. There are better ways to deal with website security warnings.

How do I download Picasa without getting an additional toolbar?

If your download is getting an additional toolbar, you may need to check Advanced options before allowing the files to download.

How do I get my browser to download where I want it to by default?

This is a very common setting, so there should be good information in the browser's help guides to assist you in changing the download default.

How do I get my login ID and password to stop showing on sites that I log into?

Web browsers include features that will remember your login ID and password for various sites for you. We'll look at how that works in Firefox.

How do I get rid of these new banner ads and tabs that pop up on websites?

Pop-up blockers are designed to catch new pages from popping up off a website, but sometimes, they might not be able to grab ad features that are a part of the website itself.

How do I get rid of this social media sharing pop-up on a site?

Social media links that are programmed to float on top of the page are a design element and can't be prevented with pop-up blocking.

How do I get rid of toolbars in my browser?

It's all too easy for browser toolbars to accumulate to an almost unusable collection. We'll look at how to prevent, and remove, browser toolbars.

How do I stop QuickTime from playing audio files in my browser?

QuickTime Player, a popular player for various formats, has a nasty habit of inserting itself into your browser, and being difficult to remove.

How do Java and Javascript relate to each other?

Recent vulnerabilities and exploits relating to Java have people scrambling to turn it off. Unfortunately, because of another unfortunate choice of names, many are turning off the wrong thing.

I have to minimize and restore my browser to see the page display. How do I fix this?

Restoring a browser to see the display is the sign of a video driver problem. You can avoid the problem by using a different browser or take a few steps to fix it.

Is it possible to recover web pages accessed by a computer on a specific date?

Recovering browser history from a machine that is being used can be tricky as the necessary files could be deleted and the space that they occupied overwritten.

Is my browser tracking me?

Yes and no. Logging into Chrome allows you to use your settings on other computers. Your browsing history is another matter.

Is there a way to prevent toolbars from ever downloading to a computer?

Many software vendors offer a download for browser toolbars... whether we want them or not. Sometimes, the offers are hidden.

My browser disappears while typing an email. How do I fix that?

"Desktop suddenly appears" means that a window has crashed. My belief is that this is a browser issue.

Recommendation: Popup Blockers

Should I take the latest Flash update - and what update method should I choose?

Adobe has updated Flash player. It has an important change to how future updates work, as well as perhaps something that should be AVOIDED at all costs.

What is a Meebo bar? And is it bad?

Websites often add toolbars to their pages that do not install on your computer. They will show in your browser whether you sign up for the service or not.

What's a "mht" file and how do I reliably share them with others?

Web browsers can save the web page that you're currently viewing to your computer in a handful of formats. I'll look at each and what I do instead.

When does a download stop if I close my browser?

Closing a browser will certainly stop a download, as long as you close it completely.

Why are there only six asterisks in the password field when my password has more characters?

The number of asterisks that are hiding a password, an email address, or secret question might not represent the size of the answer.

Why are you using Chrome instead of Firefox?

It really boils down to personal preference. Today, I really have no problems with people using any of the big three browsers.

Why can't I download PDFs in IE9, but I can in Chrome?

To help diagnose the problem, try a two-step approach. Separate downloading the file from opening the file with Adobe Reader and watch for error messages.

Why can't I set my internet home page to what I want?

If you can't change it, your browser home page could be protected by anti-spyware software or it could be spyware itself getting in the way.

Why do I end up in the wrong place when I click on a link?

Redirects can be caused by various forms of malware and adware. There are also many legitimate reasons why a webpage may be redirected in the browser.

Why do I get new pages in tabs when I leave a site?

Many websites try to create operating revenue through ads in pop-up windows. This, however, sounds like a pop under.

Why do I need a default browser?

The default browser is the application Windows uses to handle web and .html pages. There are ways to specify that a different application be used.

Why do I suddenly have another toolbar in my browser?

Browser toolbars come from two places: the browser, and addons or toolbars you ask for. It's easy to ask for toolbars without realizing it.

Why do navigation buttons not show up on some websites?

This sounds like your screen resolution is set smaller than the minimum required for those web pages to work, or it's pushed off the screen.

Why do some web pages not update like they should?

Every so often we run into web pages that don't stay up to date, displaying old information. We'll look at causes and possible solutions.

Why does Save-As... not work in my web browser?

Save As works differently in different browsers. Printing to pdf might be a better solution.

Why does a web page redraw several times before it's done?

When a web page flashes and redraws, it's usually a result of the code for that page. There may not be much you can do about it.

Why does copying text from some sites cause a program to stop working?

Copying text from websites shouldn't cause a "stopped working" error. This will take some investigation.

Why does my browser show I'm still downloading a webpage even though I've read to the bottom?

Web pages are designed to display content elements first to give you a quick visual representation of the page. Other things might take awhile or get stuck. There is a quick key you can tap to stop this behavior.

Why don't more websites fit in an 800x600 screen resolution?

Websites often have problems displaying in smaller windows, and 800x600 is increasingly considered to be small. There are a couple of things to try.

Why don't toolbars installed in IE show up in Chrome?

Adding a browser after toolbars have been installed can cause some unusual behavior that is tricky to diagnose.

Why is the Maxthon browser always setting itself as the default browser, and how do I stop it?

There may not be a way to turn that off. If you're not using Maxthon as your primary browser, I'm not sure there's a reason to have it on there at all.

Why isn't my browser remembering my usernames any more?

Remembering passwords in a browser is not secure. They can be recovered very easily. Rather than turn the option back on, let's look at some other solutions.