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Solutions: Beware of offers for free software fixes

I cannot get Adobe Flash Player installed and running on my PC. I have Windows 7, and a 64-bit computer. The file needed to activate it is an ENC file and my computer says it cannot open it. I can find many programs that say they will fix it for a price. Are there free fixes available? Can you point me in the right direction?

Something doesn't sound right, but whatever you do, don't ever follow any of those links that say they can "fix" your problem for a price. There shouldn't be any file required to "activate" Adobe Flash. Make sure you are getting clean scans from both your antivirus program as well as something like MalwareBytes antimalware (www.tinyurl.com/2fwj868) or Windows Offline Defender (http://tinyurl.com/TBT01). Once you are past this stage, go to Control Panel, Programs, Programs and Features. Find and uninstall any version of Adobe Flash that may be listed. Go to www.adobe.com/downloads and click the "Get Adobe Flash Player" link button on the right and follow the instructions. That's all it should take and is the only way you should install/update Flash player — directly from the Adobe site. Many viruses or malware will try to trick you into clicking a link under the guise of upgrading Flash Player. If you don't pay close attention, you can get fooled.

All of a sudden, the buttons I used on Lands' End and Amazon.com failed to display. On Amazon, I could work around and get a book into my cart/bag by selecting the book through Amazon Prime and then deleting the charge during the rest of check out to make a purchase. On Lands' End, I couldn't even select the item. This occurred on my old computer which had Windows XP Professional and also occurs on my new computer purchased last summer. I downloaded all the software and documents from the old computer to the new one.

If you're using Internet Explorer as your browser, make sure you have the latest updates (Windows Update). If you still experience the issue when you're on the problematic pages, try these solutions in this order: Within Internet Explorer, clear your cache by clicking Tools, Internet Options, General tab. Click the Delete button and make sure "Temporary Internet files and websites" is checked and then click Delete.

Some pages have difficulty displaying all items if you have content filtering turned on. You can selectively turn off content filtering for a particular page by clicking the content filtering icon at the extreme right side of the address bar. It looks like a circle with a line drawn through it. Refresh the page (F5) and see if it is corrected.

If nothing has worked so far, click the F12 key. This will display the Developer Tools window. On the top menu, click Cache, and then Clear browser cache, and then confirm by clicking the Yes button. This is different from the cache clearing in step one of this answer. This last option has worked for me when I've experienced similar issues.

On a side note, Internet Explorer version 10 is set for release and will become part of the Windows automatic updates. I've used it for a few weeks and found it to be a worthy upgrade in both speed and content.

Send questions to personaltech@tampabay.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Beware of offers for free software fixes

02/15/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 8:56pm]

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