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by JB Burke

Q. My laptop appears to be connected to my router, because I have been getting updates to my system (Windows 7). However, starting recently I can't get to any web sites with Internet Explorer. Have I got a virus or something?

A. It's possible you have a virus on your system. You've told me that you are running Avast and it's up to date, so a virus is less likely. You've also run Malwarebytes and it didn't show anything amiss. The problem could be that Internet Explorer has been messed up by a recent update. I ran across another situation recently that sounds very similar to yours. We tried a bunch of things, including a full Malwarebytes scan with no luck. Then I noticed that the system was running Version 10 of Internet Explorer.

I went into the Control Panel, and opened Programs and Features. Then I clicked on View installed updates. It turned out that Internet Explorer 10 was installed as an update just about the time that the problem began occurring. That system was set for automatic Windows updates, and I expect yours probably is as well. I prefer to set it for automatic downloads and then have it ask me when to install them. I then uninstalled Internet Explorer 10, and lo and behold the system was back to IE9. And IE9 worked just fine.

That wasn't the end of the story, however. I then suggested strongly that my friend download Chrome, the browser from Google that is now the most popular browser in the world. You won't be able to get rid of IE9 – Microsoft has that tightly integrated into Windows 7, and it's necessary for your Windows updates. But otherwise, you can use Chrome for just about everything. When you install it, tell it to copy your favorites and other settings from IE9, so you'll be up and running in no time.

Published: Courier 5/19/13 - Page 3C