Q: I get more junk email than real email. I’m never sure to just delete it or block it. I’ve heard by blocking it, you let them know you’re a “live” address. Help!

— Mac Williams, Covington

A: Actually, what alerts some spammers that your address is “live” is when you click on the phony “unsubscribe” option. So unless you know the sender is legitimate don’t try unsubscribing.

The first thing to do is to try your email program’s junk mail feature. They generally snag half or more of the spam emails. You may, however, want to check your junk mail every so often before deleting just to make sure an email you want wasn’t seen as spam by mistake.

If you don’t have too many contacts who might be trying to reach you, another strategy is to open up a fresh email address. About a year ago I opened a new account that I use with family and friends and it is still spam-free. And if you want to keep your new mail account spam-free, I recommend not entering it in websites or using it as a contact point with any commercial entity. Once that email gets on any marketer’s email list it becomes a spam magnet.

Q: Recently I installed Google Chrome on my Dell desktop using Windows 7 Professional. It seems like after installing Chrome I’m getting pop-up ads all over the place. I do not understand why the unwanted ads are constantly showing up on the monitor, and the interference with my using the machine is unwanted. Also, most of the ads are repeats. Is there a reliable ad blocker, or some other item that can allow smoother uninterrupted operation of my machine?

— John Marthens, Bellingham

A: It’s not Chrome that is causing those ads to pop up. But the good news is that, yes, there are several ad blockers you can download for use with Chrome, as well as with other browsers. I haven’t done a comparative review of ad blockers, but I use AdBlock Plus and I’ve found it to be very effective. Just go to https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions?hl=en-US and search for “ad blocker.”


The fact that you say most of the ads repeat, however, leads me to suspect that you may also have malware on your computer. Some malware will result in ads for specific products repeatedly popping up.

With that in mind, you may want to consider downloading an anti-malware program as well. I use Malwarebytes, and they offer a free version you can download at www.malwarebytes.com.

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Q: I have a Dell Inspiron with Windows 7 Professional. About every seven or eight logins, the keyboard does not work. It takes one or two restarts to overcome. A tech guy said “drivers” and walked away. Is there a fix for this? Where do I get drivers?

— James Wingard

A: Unless this problem cropped up just after a Windows update, I’d be surprised if the problem was out-of-date drivers. But, yes, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’ve got the most recent drivers. You’d do that by going to the Dell website, clicking on “Drivers and Downloads” and then entering the model of your computer. If that doesn’t solve your problem I’d figure it’s most likely a hardware issue.