Sunday, May 19, 2013


[Updated 19 May 2013]

Just like you, we sometimes wish to copy text from a web page. For the past couple of days, we have been unable to paste anything in Firefox on one of our laptops. COPY seems to work (not greyed out, acts like it normally does, no indication anything is out of the ordinary). PASTE is completely not an option (greyed out, Ctrl-V does not do the trick, no reaction to any attempt to paste something into any text field). This seemed an excellent opportunity to track down the culprit and document what happened.

There are several reasons Firefox users can no longer cut/copy/paste. One of the easiest to blame is a very old bug that creeps its way into your world occasionally (or more correctly, a series of bugs). While there may be something to it, it's very unlikely the true cause of the problem. Mozilla has more or less killed these bugs, as there have been no sightings in several years.

More likely the culprits are third-party add-ons or adware/spyware. Even if you believe you have no add-ons, it's best to double-check occasionally. Some sites will install tracking software or worse without you knowing, despite your (and your browser's) best efforts to block them.

Adware, spyware, and tracking software can interfere with the copy/paste operations in your browser. Pushow is one of these. Thankfully, it is also one of the quickest and simplest to remove. Here are the instructions for removing this specific adware program.

One-by-one, we disabled each add-on and restarted Firefox. Rather than working alphabetically, we started with the most likely candidates, including recently added or updated ones. Since we only had a few, it was a quick process. Recently updated add-on "Element Hiding Helper for Adblock Plus 1.2.3" seemed to be our culprit. Normally well-behaved and extremely useful, as soon as we disabled this add-on and restarted Firefox, we got back our ability to copy and paste. You don't have to restart Firefox when disabling/enabling this add-on, so we decided to keep it around and simply disable it until we need to copy/paste something.

Unfortunately, this turned out to be a red herring. There is no clear evidence pointing to the culprit. Your best bet is to keep the number of add-ons you use to a minimum and to double-check your search engine every time you search from the built-in search box. If you don't recognize the search provider logo, it could be Pushow. Be diligent. Early detection is the key to keeping these people from collecting and tracking your information.

NOTE:  As always, we will update this article if we find any other causes for this very annoying problem. If our current list of solutions do not work for you, we recommend you use the Check4Change add-on. Highlight the [Updated: ] line at the top of the page. As soon as we change that date, you will be notified.

HOWTO: Remove Pushow or AdvertMen Adware From Windows Machines

The adware program known as "Pushow" or "AdvertMen" is easily removed from your Windows computer by deleting the files. Follow the instructions provided below. It only takes a moment to free yourself of the annoying pop-up ads and the underlying tracking and reporting. If you're comfortable with the Command Line, it's only three lines of typing!

NOTE:  The files you see in the screenshots are fake. We created them as examples, so the file sizes and parts of the names will definitely be different. If the filename starts with the word "pushow," remove it.

1. Make notes or open a different browser to this page.
2. Close Firefox.
3. Open Windows Explorer
3. Navigate to the system directory, in bold below.
4. Look for any files with a name beginning with pushow. You should see something like this.

5. Delete those files permanently or move them to your trash bin and then empty it.
6. That's it! You're done.

1. Make notes or open a different browser to this page.
2. Close Firefox.
3. Open a Command Prompt window.
4. Type the following commands.
          cd c:\windows\system32
          dir pushow*
          del pushow*
          dir pushow*
5. Your window should look very much like this.

6. That's it! You're done.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

HOW TO: Set a Windows Program To Always Be Run As Administrator

Some programs require special administrative authorization to execute properly, no matter the logged-on user. Installers and updaters are great examples of programs that need elevated administrative permission, especially when installing something for use by all users.

Because this exposes your entire system to the program, make sure you absolutely trust the program completely before granting it administrator privileges.

Once you've decided to allow a program to always run with administrative privileges, just use the steps below to make it happen.

These steps are valid for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
1. Using Windows Explorer, navigate to the desired file.
2. Right click on the entry for the desired file. Select Properties, found at the bottom of the popup list.
3. Select (by left click) the Compatibility tab.
4. Optional Click on the [Change settings for all users] button.
5. Check the last checkbox in the dialog window, in the "Run this program as an Administrator."6. Click the [OK] button. If you chose to enable for all users, you'll need to click [OK] a second time.

It's a little more complicated in Windows XP. Keep watching this space. We'll be adding the XP version soon.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

SOLVED: LINUX - Unable to Update, Add, or Remove Programs and MaxReports is reached already

While updating Ubuntu (and many other Linux systems), the update manager crashed. The error message probably references some broken or missing dependencies. There is also a message about MaxReports having been reached. The fix is a simple 3-step process requiring you to use a terminal (command line) window. First, you must fix the package manager itself. Second, you'll need to reinstall the program that caused the problem. The final step is to remove the reports causing the MaxReports error message. Once you've done those three things, you should have no problem updating (Step 4 below).

Here are some examples of the error messages you might see. We've listed several so you can get a feel for identifying the package causing the errors.

Package dependency not met. Package Name = kdebase-workspace-data

   dpkg: error processing kdebase-workspace-data (--configure):
   dependency problems - leaving unconfigured
   dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of kdebase-workspace-bin

   sudo dpkg --configure -a

Once you've identified the name of the program(s) causing problems, use the example to remove and reinstall it. This is usually straight-forward and, once the package manager issue is resolved, runs without a hitch. The first line will produce a lot of status messages, then it will ask if you want to continue. The answer is Yes (or Y). You'll get some more lines of messages. When it has successfully completed, issue the second command. You will again see a bunch of status messages, followed by another continue question. Again, answer Yes (or Y). The package installation will continue, finishing with an installation successful message.

   sudo apt-get remove
   sudo apt-get install


If there are multiple packages, start at the top of the list. ONLY reinstall one package at at time. After each attempt, try to run an update (Step 4) until the original update problem is resolved. Since the purpose of Step 3 is just to make room for more crash reporting data, it's okay to skip it and come back later.

It's a good idea to resolve this issue, but it's not going to keep your system from running.There does not seem to be any automated cleanup here, so you'll have to clear it manually. We provide the method we used below.

Apport is the crash reporting system. The error message, "No apport report written because MaxReports is reached already:" is a little vague, and alarms you for no good reason. It does, however, prevent new crash reports from being written. If you have another crash, no relevant information will be recorded, making troubleshooting immensely more difficult.

In your terminal window, type the following commands.

   cd /var/crash

At this point, you'll see a list of the crash report files. You may choose to remove all or part of them. Older files are always a safe bet to delete, as this data becomes obsolete rather quickly. Use the examples below as a guide for removing unwanted files.

Example commands to remove files
   sudo rm *            Remove all files in this directory
   sudo rm 2012-08*     Remove only files with names beginning with 2012-08

Next, you'll want to clear the directory in which program-specific crash information is stored. Here are the commands to clean that up.

   cd /tmp
   ls apport.*
You will be presented with a list of applications that have crash data. You may again wish to remove some or all of these files.

That's it. You've successfully cleaned up your crash data directories. Now you can update your system.

   sudo apt-get update
   sudo apt-get install -f

Be sure to bookmark this page, as you may have to repeat it some time in the future.