Q: Some mysterious malware has infected the Edge browser on our Windows 10 laptop, and none of our security programs can get rid of it. When we start Edge, it goes to the MSN login page, which has a scenic view of a small city along a bay. Then dark gray “smoke” begins to cover the picture and the field for logging in. We cleared the browser cache (a data repository), but it made no difference. Everything else on the PC works fine. What can we do?

Walt Thomsen, Plymouth

 

A: Your Edge browser has been compromised by malware, probably acquired during a legitimate download. It has taken over the initial page you view when going online.

The infection can be eliminated through the successive use of several anti-malware programs (see tinyurl.com/y8ngkwzq). But the fix doesn’t guarantee that the browser won’t be affected by the same or other malware in the future.

For an easier fix, try this very temporary workaround: Make sure Edge is set as your default browser. Then store a Web address that you trust on your PC, say in a Microsoft Word file.

When you start up the Edge browser and the screen darkens as you described, close the browser. Then click on the trusted address stored in Word. That will reopen Edge, but the trusted website will appear in the main browser Window. The infected web page will still be present, but it will have been pushed into the background, and will be visible only as a labeled tab across the top of the browser. Click the “X” on the tab for the infected web page, which will cause it to close. You can now resume browsing. The downside: You have to repeat this each time you use Edge.

A better solution is to switch from Edge to the Google Chrome (see tinyurl.com/qbud93e) or Mozilla Firefox (see tinyurl.com/bsxs3kt) browsers, which don’t have this problem.

 

Q: The Chrome browser on my Samsung Galaxy S7 phone previously worked well, but now it freezes and crashes. I’ve tried to uninstall Chrome, but I can’t because it’s part of the Android operating system. I’ve cleaned Chrome’s cache and data, but it didn’t help. What can I do?

Chuck Weinblatt, Sylvania, Ohio

 

A: Your problem is likely caused by another app or by an Android update gone awry.

Because you have already cleared Chrome’s cache and data, the next step is start the phone in “safe mode.” That temporarily disables apps you have added to the phone, allowing you to see whether Chrome will work without them.

To start the phone in safe mode, press and hold the power key until the Galaxy S7 logo appears, then release the power key and press and hold the “volume-down” key. Let the phone restart. When “safe mode” appears on the screen, release the volume-down key. If Chrome works, you can delete recently installed apps one at a time until you find the one causing the problem.

If that doesn’t work, the problem is likely a flawed Android update. The solution is to erase and replace Android’s “system caches” by starting up the phone in “recovery mode.” (See tinyurl.com/y7t8n83y and scroll down to Step 3.) If that doesn’t work, reset the phone to its factory settings (see Step 4 on the same page.) But back up your data, because it will be erased.

 

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Include name, city and telephone number.