Q: I use Chrome as my default browser and have Norton as my antivirus and MalwareBytes to scan against malware. Whenever I am in a website in Chrome and click on another link on the page, Microsoft Edge opens and then I am overwhelmed with pop-up ads, videos, coupons and such. How can I stop this from happening?
— Pam P., Vero Beach
A: In Windows 10 you can typically make a specific browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) your default no matter what URL you click on by performing these steps:
Right-click over the Start button and select “Settings” from the menu that appears. In the page that appears, click on “Apps,” then on “Default apps” in the left-hand menu on the next screen. This will bring up a list of many of the applications 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 reading “Web browser” and make sure “Google Chrome” is selected.
In most cases, this should solve this problem immediately. However, if it doesn’t, or if you find that Chrome is already selected as your default browser, then click on the line further down this same page (the “Default apps” screen that is) titled “Choose default apps by protocol,” which will take you to a more detailed approach to the same concept.
In this new page, scroll down to any web-page related file type (notably “http,” “https” and “ftp”) and make sure Google Chrome is selected for each one of those. That should prevent Edge from opening again in the future whenever URLs are clicked on — unless you specifically command it to launch, that is.
While most webpage URLs begin with the “https” prefix these days, some still start with “http” or another option — in those cases the basic default browser selection made above may not apply and because of that the computer may open Edge by default because it’s not sure what else to do when it comes across such a situation (and Edge is the native browser for the operating system, after all). By performing these latter steps you essentially take Edge out of the browser equation on your computer.
As for the videos, pop-ups and such you see when Edge opens — without seeing the problem first-hand it’s difficult to diagnose this accurately. One one hand, it may just be the welcome screen Edge has been set to visit when it opens — and in that case you can just change this to Google or another static page (so it’s not so dramatic a sight) 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 flip side, if Edge continues to open even after performing the steps above, then the problem may be malware-based and not browser-related. In that case, scan your system with your antivirus and then with MalwareBytes, deleting whatever turns up, then reboot and see if that stops it from happening. If not, then contact a technician or your ISP’s support line for additional help.
Untangling the web
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Contact Eyal Goldshmid @ [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: How to prevent unwanted pop-ups when launching your web browser