Windows Tips & Tricks

F4 Is Not An Old Fighter Jet
Subtitle: "Winning At Knock-A-Mole"

(Internet Explorer 5 & 6, Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP)

While F4 may not be a designation for an antique fighter jet, it can be a fighter against malicious software which may be trying to gain access to your machine through Knock-A-Mole popups. Hmmm, you're probably thinking -"what are these guys talking about 'Knock-A-Mole' popups? They've finally gone off the deep-end." But you'd be wrong because we're still semi-sane, at least so far today! Knock-A-Mole is term which describes a series of popups, appearing one after the other, endlessly on your computer screen. These may be precipitated by adw@re or spyw@re developers advertising their wares and trying everything in their power to get you to install their slimeware - or to install their slimeware on your computer with or without your approval or consent.

Knock-A-Mole popups appear faster than you can click the "x" in the top right corner of each window (if each window even has an "X" in the corner) and soon your screen is full of windows of all sizes, flashing away annoyingly.

You've all seen the carnival games where you have to bang the mole coming out of a hole with a mallet ..the moles popup so fast you can't hit them all. If you did they'd have to give you a prize - so the object is to make the moles come out of the holes faster than you can hit them. And before you animal activists get all worked up, these are not real moles we're talking about, they're just little things which look like moles, but are not alive. Really! They're fake...anyway....

To win at Knock-A-Mole on the web, or for closing those nasty little popup windows that don't have any obvious way to close them and which open one after the other at an alarming rate (or to avoid getting tricked into clicking a "Close This Window" link and downloading spyw@re or adw@re) use the ALT key + the F4 key to close the window in focus (the one "on top"). Keep clicking ALT+F4 to close multiple windows before they get out of hand. If you can't click ALT F4 fast enough to keep up with the multitude of windows opening up, you not only lose at Knock-A-Mole, you'll lose control of your computer. If you ever get to this point, your best bet is to shut your computer off using the power switch and deal with any of the repercussions of doing that later. It's one of the few times we'll ever recommend shutting off your computer using the power switch. (Don't ever use the power switch to shut down your computer unless it is absolutely necessary. Always use the "Start" button (which seems ironic, does it not) and "Turn Off Computer".

And besides playing Knock-A-Mole successfully, the F4 key has another fine use too. Click F4 (not "Alt + F4" just plain, old F4) while your browser is open and the last 25 addresses you have typed out in your address bar will show!  Place your cursor in the address bar and hit the F4 key. Now, use your up/down arrow key to scroll to the one you want to go to. Yes, clicking the little arrow to the right of the address bar does the same thing, but sometimes it is nice not to have to leave your keyboard and use your mouse. Keyboards need love too :)

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