When you start up Internet Explorer do you see the statement “Speed up startup and browsing by disabling add-ons.” Then click “Ask me later” because you aren’t sure what you are supposed to do? Then you are not alone as it is one of my frequently asked questions.

An Add-on is a piece of software that can be added to your internet browser (IE, Chrome, Firefox etc) to increase its capabilities. Google Chrome calls them Extensions. These bits of software could make online poker games work, allow you to watch and download videos or translate pages from foreign languages. Some are good, some are bad and some just corrupt your internet experience altogether. Some can even inject adverts into the sites you visit, or track your entire browsing history—possibly without you knowing.

When you start getting toolbars across the top of your browser, pop up adverts and your homepage changing, you could have unwittingly installed add-ons and consequently malware. Examples of such unwanted programs are Babylon and Conduit. These are the most frequent ones I come across in my troubleshooting work.

You can manage your add-ons by clicking onto the settings inside your browser and choosing the manage add-ons or similar button depending on which version you are using. If you are having problems using Internet Explorer you can use “Internet Explorer (No add-ons)” which is on your start menu under Accessories to establish if add-ons are indeed the source of your problems.

When asked for my professional opinion as to whether you chose to run add-ons or disable them I say it is personal choice but The ‘PuterTutor home computer doesn’t run any add-ons!

Happy ‘Putering