How do I turn off all the adds and other junk that appears when I click?
Suddenly my screen is full of the most annoying adverts (ones that shake, cover parts of the screen, etc.) and when I try to click on a link on the page I am actually working on, I get pushed into an advert site that I have to close so I can work on the linked page I wanted. This all started very recently. Did I screw something up without knowing and can I fix it? (Also, the non-essential question is why these people think annoying me in this way will get me interested in their product or website)
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You may have installed some software that bundled a bunch of crap.
As a starting point, you could check what was installed recently at the Windows level. In the Windows Control Panel, Uninstall a Program, click the "Installed on" column heading to bring the most recent items to the top. This often reveals that numerous extras were bundled with something you actually wanted. Remove anything you do not want here.
Second, restart Firefox in Safe Mode so you can use it without being tormented by add-ons. You can restart Firefox in Safe Mode using
Help > Restart with Add-ons Disabled
In the dialog, click "Start in Safe Mode" (not Reset)
Third, use some "on demand" malware cleanup tools to supplement your regular security software. This article lists programs other Firefox users have found helpful: Troubleshoot Firefox issues caused by malware.
Fourth, root out bad extensions that remain after the previous steps. Open the Add-ons page using either:
- orange Firefox button (or Tools menu) > Add-ons
In the left column, click Extensions. Then, if in doubt, disable or remove.
Usually a link will appear above at least one disabled extension to restart Firefox. You can complete your work on the tab and click one of the links as the last step.
Does that help get rid of the ads?
If there is residual damage, please post back with specifics, e.g., home page, new tab page, search engines, etc.