Q: I use Google Chrome to access the Internet. Recently, when I opened that program, I got a message saying "Your profile cannot be opened correctly." This message kept me from connecting to the Internet, and it comes back each time I restart that program. What can I do?
A: Before I respond directly, let me suggest that when you encounter a message like this, you go online to Google or another search engine and type in the message you received. You will usually find several other people who reported the same problem, and someone will usually add a message suggesting what to do. If you normally use Chrome to connect to the Internet and cannot get online because of this message, open up another browser to do this search. For example, you usually have Internet Explorer automatically installed, or you may want to install another browser like Firefox just in case Chrome does not work.
The developers of Chrome note that this problem occurs because a separate program attacks the files in which Chrome stores your data. These files are called "Web Data" and "Web Data-Journal." Most often, it is an antivirus that assumes the Chrome files are malicious and corrupts them. The only solution is to delete those corrupted files. When Chrome starts again, it will recreate those files and work. You will lose any passwords or history that you asked Chrome to save. You can do a search of your computer to locate those files in order to delete them.
Chrome indicates that it has made changes to avoid this problem, but it has reappeared when certain antivirus programs change their way of hunting for malware. They note that the antivirus program AVG has been the most common problem for them. If you continue to experience this problem, it might be necessary to change your antivirus or change to a different internet browser.
Q: I've been looking for a new laptop, but I see a lot about the new tablet computers. Which should I invest in?
A: There are fundamental differences between laptops and tablet computers. How you plan to use it will determine which is right for you. One definition is as follows - laptops (and desktop/towers) are for content creation, whereas tablets are for content consumption. Laptops and towers have keyboards and mice, sometimes scanners and other input devices that aid in creating images, documents, presentations, etc. The tablet computer generally has none of these, though some of them can be added. The keyboard for a tablet computer is on the screen, which makes typing beyond a search query or a brief note a chore. A keyboard can be added to a tablet, via Bluetooth, but now you are taking away some of the tablet size and weight advantage.
The premier tablet today is the Apple iPad, running on Apples iOS operating system. Introduced in April, 2010, the iPad quickly created a whole new computer market segment. Today the iPad is in its third iteration, and is among the best (and most expensive) tablets available. Now there are a plethora of competitors, largely running on the Google Android operating system. They are from such manufactures as Samsung, ASUS, Google (the Nexus 7), Amazon (the newly announced Kindle Fire HD), Lenovo and others.
The iPad has the lion's share of the market, and consequently there are more apps (programs) that run under iOS than under Android. However, there are hundreds of thousands of apps for both platforms. Just keep in mind that they are not interchangeable. Many apps are free, and many cost from $.99 to $2.99 each, much less than for typical laptop software.
So - tablets are small and light, easy to carry and use, with convenient touch screens. You can watch movies, listen to music, read books (there are Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook apps for Android tablets), surf the web, and search using Google and Bing. But creating content is not the tablet's forte.
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.