Q: I have a mysterious problem that seems to be recurring with relative frequency despite “fixes.” Three times in recent months, Google Chrome has stopped working. I cannot access it as a search engine nor can I open any documents or email attachments that are in Chrome. In my files these documents and photos have the Chrome icon on them and I cannot open them if my Chrome is not working. So, as I understand it, when I open such a file I’m not accessing a website, but rather a saved file. Do the attached documents open in Chrome when you open them?

When this has happened, my very computer-savvy nephew has walked me through removing Chrome and then reinstalling it, but within a few weeks it again ceases to function. Everything else is working fine and I’m using the Firefox browser temporarily, but not being able to access documents in Chrome is frustrating and worrisome. Help!

— Sandy

A: The files you attached to your email were actually PDF files. Since you see them with a Chrome icon and since you can’t open them when Chrome isn’t running, I’m figuring you have an extension or add-on in Chrome for reading PDF files.

Add-ons and extensions to web browsers are also a prime suspect when it comes to misbehaving browsers. First, if you continue to have problems with Chrome, the first thing to try is disabling all add-ons and extensions. They are not well-screened and often misbehave. Then, if your problem disappears, you can add them back in until the problem recurs. Then you’ll know the culprit.

Also, I suggest installing the free Acrobat Reader from Adobe. That’s a program that can open PDF files and it should reset the Windows default program for opening PDF files. If you download Adobe Acrobat Reader, however, make sure to disable the default download of McAfee anti-virus. It may conflict with other anti-virus software you have installed.

Related Tech Q&As

Read more from Patrick Marshall here >>

Q: I read that you use and recommended Ad Block Plus for blocking advertisements in your web browsing. And it’s free. Which settings do you use or recommend? The default setting allows some ads and social media and other tracking.

— Michael Goldenkranz

A: I’m going to do a little fudging here. I don’t actually recommend products unless I’ve recently done a comparative review of the product and its competitors. That said, I don’t mind mentioning that I use certain products myself. And yes, I use Ad Block Plus. Since I haven’t done comparative reviews in quite a while, however, I can’t warrant that it is “the best.”

And yes, Ad Block Plus let you eliminate social-media tracking, and it allows you to allow “acceptable ads” — those it deems not annoying and that don’t interfere with the content you’re viewing.


For my part, I block everything. I especially don’t like third-party tracking of my web visits.

Yes, many websites depend on advertising for revenues. As a result, if it’s a site I want to return to I’ll whitelist it to allow “acceptable ads.”