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I think I fixed my computer

Guys, I think I partially fixed it. I found a bogus program that drives popups, something called “highlightly” and uninstalled it.
I feel much better now. Thanks for all the support.

TSM … one thing I’ve done when wondering if unwanted programs running, I’ll look what’s running using the task manager, then I’ll Google each, one by one. Google usually knows what they do, and you can usually determine based on what Google says whether the should be there on your computer or not. This is what Google says about highlightly:

Highlightly is an adware program that displays advertisements and sponsored links via a pop-up box on Youtube, Google, Amazon, Best Buy and other websites that you are visiting.
Highlightly ads will be shown as advertisement banners or pop-up boxes containing various coupons that are available or as underlined keywords, which states that this ads brought to you by Highlightly.

Go to and download Autoruns and Process Explorer. Autoruns will display EVERYTHING that runs at startup and allow you to do a right-click web search on each item if you’d like. You can also disable or remove startup entries. *Note-- be careful what you disable. Don’t disable anything you don’t fully understand or you can and will screw up your machine to the point that it may no longer even boot.

Process Explorer is like Windows Task Manager on steroids–it gives you much, much more than the myopic view of what’s running that Task Manager gives. It also has right-click functionality and features that only an IT guy like me will love :slight_smile:

Note, these are totally freeware and are hosted by Microsoft–the developers that wrote all of the utilities on the site work for or have worked for MS and created them for their own debugging and troubleshooting of Windows during development.

You can run msconfig.exe and it will allow you to delete auto startup programs and processes.

I should point out to the web folks that this site is where I’m picking these things up. I’m not having problems on other sites I visit.

The computer is working a lot better now, with an occasional popup. I can live with that for now. Perhaps at some point I’ll take the time to go through the list, but I know that won’t guarantee that the baddies won’t get reintroduced.

Someday perhaps even cars will be subject to these problems. “Smart” systems may someday connect the car’s ECU to the internet. The new S class already has a system that uses satellite signals combined with onboard cameras to constantly adjust the suspension. It’s only a matter of time before someone hacks into such signals to have popups displayed on the car’s monitor. And the popup programs just may unintentionally mess with the car’s operations.
I rue the day. Another qualm I have about self-driving cars.

It will be cool when everyone else has a self driving car.

In case you don’t have this free software, I urge you to install it.

There is a “paid” version as well as a free version, but I have found that the free one works as well as I need.

I run a scan with this software every couple of weeks, and it is absolutely amazing how many different unwanted cookies it finds and eliminates. And, it does occasionally find a piece of malware and it eliminates that also.

@mountainbike…if you are using Windows IE then you should be running (MSE) Microsoft Security Essentials (it’s free from Microsoft). It runs in the background and is not a memory hog. I’ve used it the past few years with no other virus or malware programs at all. No problems so far and no pop-ups. Automatic updating is the best mode. IE 11 does have problems with Flash 11 but Flash 12 is available now and they fixed the problems (fingers crossed).