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Fri, Dec. 06

Clean up your bookmarks with free application

Q: I spend quite a bit of time online, and I frequently bookmark sites I enjoy. Over the years, my bookmark file has grown substantially, and I have trouble finding ones I'm looking for. Is there an easy way to clean up my bookmarks?

A: Many of us have been browsing the web for years, and all the while marking our favorites (IE) or Bookmarks (Chrome, Firefox and others). And over time, many of those sites disappear, and many will be bookmarked more than once, because we forgot we did it the first time.

There is a solution to all this. There's a free program available online called AM-DeadLink. It can be found at http://aignes.com/deadlink.htm. The download is small at 1.8 MB. Download and save it to your hard drive - somewhere you can find it. When you double-click to open it, say yes to the install question, and yes to any "Should I run this software" questions you see. Click "next," click on "I agree (etc.)" and "next" again. I just install it as a normal Windows application, but you can install it on a memory stick, if you like, for portability. You make all the normal choices - where to install it (what folder), do you want a desktop icon, etc. There are no "free extras" offered to gum up the works.

In order to run it, you must close your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc.). When AM-DeadLink starts, it presents you with a list of all your bookmarks/favorites. Then you can do two things. First, click the Green Checkmark at the top, and it will check all your bookmarks to see if they are still "live." After that's done, click the red Up Arrow and it will bring all the dead links to the top. You can then delete them as you wish.

After you complete that, click on the icon next to the red up arrow, and it will bring up a list of all the duplicates. Highlight and delete the ones you don't want. The result is a much cleaner and easier to use Bookmarks/Favorites file.

Q: I needed to print a form available online as a pdf file. When I tried to open it, a box opened but remained blank. I was using Google Chrome as my browser. I tried Firefox, and the form opened. Should I switch to Firefox?

A: Google Chrome and Firefox are competing to see which browser will become the most used browser in the world. Internet Explorer has been number one for several years, but, in the last three years, that browser has dropped by 30 percentage points to about 40 percent of users. During that time, Firefox has been number two with about 25 percent. Google Chrome has grown rapidly from 0 to a virtual tie with Firefox. (These percentages are based on reports by StatCounter, a company that compiles Internet usage data for a series of clients.)

With this competition, each browser keeps adding new features and refinements. Recently, Chrome added its own software to read pdf files. They also included an updated version of Adobe's pdf reader with their own reader as the default. Depending on the code on the website, a pdf can be misread by both programs. The easiest solution is to disable these readers by typing "about:plugins" into the address bar where you normally indicate what website to visit. Tap "enter." A list of Chrome plug-ins will appear. Under each, it will say "disable" if that plugin is working and "enable" if it is disabled. Go to Chrome PDF Viewer on the list and click on "disable." Next, go down the list to Adobe PDF Viewer and disable that plugin too. Now, the pdf form should open with whatever pdf reader is already on your computer. Future updates should resolve this problem.

The website toptenreviews.com compares the browsers and gives Chrome its top ratings because of its speed, its security, and the fact that its operation is more intuitive. They view Firefox a close second and Internet Explorer third. I would evaluate Chrome based on the factors mentioned in that review rather than a minor problem that can be resolved.

The Prescott Computer Society (PCS) is a PC-based users group located in Prescott. We hold several entertaining and educational meetings each month to show you how to get the most out of your computer. For further information, visit www.PCS4me.com. Email questions for future columns to PCSquestions@gmail.com.

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