Q: After each turn in the iPad game “Words With Friends,” an unwanted pop-up ad appears on my screen. How can I stop these pop-ups?

Chuck Massie, Chaska


A: “Free” may be the most misleading term in the world of computer games, and “Words With Friends” by Zynga Mobile is no exception. Although free to download, Words shows you advertisements between turns, and they can’t be turned off. (Zynga previously sold an alternate, advertising-free version of the game for the iPad and iPhone, but it was discontinued this year).

Why can’t you opt out of the ads? Advertising is how Words and many other mobile computer games make money for their developers. Words also uses another common moneymaking strategy called “in-game purchases,” in which players can voluntarily buy “coins” that unlock special playing features.

I’ve found two ways to deal with the inescapable ads: Turn off the sound. Or terminate an ad by closing and reopening the Words app.

The latter method may have an added value: It tells Zynga which ads people won’t watch, perhaps encouraging them to make the ads shorter.


Q: I’ve recently begun getting an error message from the Garmin Express app on my PC (which uses the 64-bit version of Windows 7). The error message reads: “D3DCOMPILER_47.dll is missing.” What’s wrong?

Al Hassebrock, Colorado Springs


A: The Garmin Express app is designed to download new maps and software to your PC, so you can then install them on your Garmin mobile GPS devices. The app includes a piece of Microsoft software, called “.NET 4.5.2”, that makes this process work.

But Windows 7 doesn’t come with the “.dll” file that it needs to work with “.NET 4.5.2”. (A “.dll”, or “dynamic link library,” file contains computer code that’s designed to be shared by two or more programs). However, you can get the file as part of a free software update called KB4019990 (go to tinyurl.com/y9oyz23e and download the fifth item, called “Update for Windows 7 for x64-based systems.”)


Q: When I took my laptop to a meeting where I didn’t have an internet connection, the PC wouldn’t accept my usual password and gave me the message, “Your device is offline. Please sign in with the last password used on this device.” I tried my usual password and the password to my online Microsoft account, but neither worked. What can I do about this?

Hans van Beek, Baton Rouge, La.


A: Others have complained about this, and noted the suggested fix often doesn’t work.

A better solution is to use a different PC login process that will work whether you are online or not. Start the PC in Safe Mode, which allows Windows to run without a password (see tinyurl.com/ybdolknn). While in Safe Mode, set up a “local account,” which will enable you to log into your PC next time you don’t have an internet connection. (See tinyurl.com/ybad74n3 and scroll down to “solution 5.”)


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