Eradicate computer nags and popups (part 2)

Last post, we covered popups and nags that come from your operating system itself–that is, from Windows. Now, let’s cover a few nags and popups that come from specific applications.

The goal, again, is to get rid of any and all popup messages that are useless and unhelpful. Getting rid of these isn’t necessarily IT “support” but it is certainly an IT enhancement, as it gets you back on track with efficient and streamlined computing for greater productivity. That’s what Backpack Tactics is all about. Also, these things are just plain annoying, so we’re trying to reduce your stress level, too.

application updates

Every application will receive occasional updates–it could be once every few weeks or every year, depending on the program. There is seldom a reason not to do these program updates, since most of them will increase the security and/or functionality of the application in question. So, you should always do them.

Many applications, thankfully, can be set to automatically update instead of interrupting and prompting you for updates. This allows for minimal intervention on your part. For example, Adobe Reader, a very common tool, needs updating pretty often, and normally it prompts you about this. Instead, you can set it to update automatically. Open Adobe Reader and go to: Edit (in the menu bar) > preferences > updater, and select the option to automatically install updates.

The location of this setting will vary from program to program. Another common place to find the setting is in Tools (in the menu bar) > Options > then look for “Update” or something like that. It might be under an “advanced settings” option. You should be able to do this for the “biggies,” like your browser (Firefox, Chrome).

Alas, some applications aren’t so easy and friendly. For example, consider the Java application. You probably need this app, and you need it updated for security purposes, but it’s super annoying. Here’s how to minimize the annoyance: Go to [start button] > Control Panel > then look for “Java” (it might be under a “Programs” category).

Once you’re in the “Java Control Panel,” go to “update” tab > set the “Notify Me” to “before installing“, check the “check for updates automatically“, click “Advanced…” and set it to update monthly. This won’t get rid of the prompts, but it will make them less frequent. See more details on this procedure, if you need to.

In short, some applications you can fully automate while others you can only semi-automate.

crash reports

We’ve all had applications crash on us, and, adding insult to injury, you have to deal with an additional popup about sending crash information to [insert company here]. Just when you’ve lost a bunch of work, your computer gives you one extra little task to do. Frustrating, right? I’m not sure whether these crash reports actually improve the software or not, but here’s how you can automate or disable them.

  • in Windows XP, go to Control Panel > System > Advanced tab > Error Reporting button, and you may opt to disable here.
  • in Windows 7, go to Control Panel > Action Center > look under the “Maintenance” category > click “settings” > then select to either automate or disable.

third-party app: ClickOff

Finally, for those of you that want to take a more aggressive approach because you find yourself flustered with all the nagging popups, an independent programmer created a small application called Clickoff. It’s a little crude and not all that user friendly, but, if you’re willing to play with it a little bit to figure it out, it can be really helpful and save you a lot of clicks.

Do you have any annoying nags that you’ve found solutions to? Do you have any other nags that bring you technological woe and would like us to address? Leave a comment.

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