How to prevent unwanted pop-ups when launching your web browser

Q: I use Chrome as my default browser and have Norton as my antivirus and MalwareBytes to scan for malware. Every time I’m on a website in Chrome and click another link on the page, Microsoft Edge opens, and then I’m bombarded with pop-up ads, videos, coupons, and more. How can I prevent this from happening?

— Pam P., Vero Beach

A: In Windows 10, you can usually set a specific browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) as the default browser, regardless of the URL you click, by doing the following:

Right-click on the Start button and select “Settings” from the menu that appears. In the page that appears, click on “Applications”, then on “Default applications” in the left menu of the next screen. This will bring up a list of numerous apps that are set to launch by default when you click on a specific file type on the system.

In this list, scroll down to the line “Web browser” and make sure that “Google Chrome” is selected.

In most cases, this should fix this problem immediately. However, if this is not the case, or if you find that Chrome is already selected as the default browser, click on the line further down on this same page (the “Default applications” screen which is) titled “Choose default applications per protocol,” which will take you to a more detailed approach to the same concept.

In this new page, scroll down to any file type related to a webpage (including “http”, “https”, and “ftp”) and make sure Google Chrome is selected for each one. them. This should prevent Edge from opening again in the future whenever you click on URLs, unless you specifically tell it to launch, that is.

While most webpage URLs start with the “https” prefix these days, some still start with “http” or another option – in these cases the basic default browser selection made above may not not apply and because of that, the computer may open Edge by default as it doesn’t know what else to do in such a situation (and Edge is the OS’s native browser, after all). By performing these final steps, you’re essentially removing Edge from the browser equation on your computer.

As for the videos, pop-ups and the like that you see when Edge opens – without seeing the problem firsthand, it’s hard to diagnose this accurately. For one thing, it might just be the home screen that Edge has been set to visit when it opens – and in that case you can just change it to Google or another static page (so it’s not that dramatic) by following the instructions found at this URL: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/change-your-browser-home-page-a531e1b8-ed54 -d057-0262-cc5983a065c6

On the other hand, if Edge keeps opening even after following the steps above, the problem might be malware-related and not browser-related. In this case, scan your system with your antivirus, then with MalwareBytes, removing whatever comes up, then reboot and see if that stops it from happening. If not, contact a technician or your ISP’s helpline for further assistance.

Eyal Goldshmid

Unravel the web

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