Thursday, September 06, 2012

Major sports, news, banking sites serve complicated ads that can cause Windows 7 to stall briefly and then give unwanted popup link


I’ve noticed an annoying problem on all my Windows 7 laptops.  After rebooting, and only once before the next boot, the machine will hesitate about thirty seconds when it encounters certain kinds of ads on certain sites (especially newspaper sites and Major League Baseball and, curiously, Suntrust Bank).  The machine freezes, and the mouse pointer or trackpad will not operate. Finally, the machine “releases” (the Dell XPS laptop, which was converted from Vista, beeps a few times), and goes to a full link of the unwanted ad. 
  
Tapping the trackpad will get the machine to release (but using the wireless mouse, an attachment, will not), but causes a link to the ad, which then fills the screen as an unwanted visit.  The advertiser will be charged for the ad display by the site, which the user may not have intended to visit or have a legitimate interest in.
   
Perhaps there is a problem with the startup procedure in W7, and the ad is using an application (like some part of Shockwave) that requires additional memory allocation. Or perhaps it is “unsafe code”  (in java or C#) on the site.

This morning, I had the problem with Rosenthal Nissan Honda when visiting the Washington Post site.  I’ll give the link for the ad, which may cause a Windows 7 machine to hesitate.  This problem does not seem to happen on my MacBook, mi iPad,or  my smartphone,  and it doesn’t happen in the older XP operation system.  Here’s the link

I suppose I could get rid of this by playing with the Popup blocker (in Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer – it happens in all of them in Windows 7).

The problem does not seem to occur on any ads served by Google. 

Update: September 10, 2012

Today the hang occurred while the Washington Post was open to a complicated page when I went back into Word to copy the URL.  Once in Word, the computer would freeze if I tried to use Word.  On restart, it gave the usual warning an invitation to use Safe Mode, which can be skipped.

Microsoft Control Center tells me that I need a fix for a Dell memory driver that is used by some media applications.  I just installed it.  We'll see if this fixes it.

I fixed the Word file by hard-copying to another file with a different name.  

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