A hyperlink is a word, phrase, or image that you can click on to jump to a new document, a new section within the current document or a website. Hyperlinks are found in nearly all Web pages allowing users to click their way from page to page. Text hyperlinks are often blue and underlined, but don't have to be. When you move the cursor over a hyperlink, whether it is text or an image, the arrow should change to a small hand pointing at the link. When you click it, a new page or place in the current page will open. Hyperlinks, often referred to as just "links," are common in Web pages, but can be found in other hypertext documents.
Just by opening attachments or clicking into a link can deliver a harmful virus, render a computer inoperable or worse. Besides viruses and malicious threats, stealth programs can be downloaded and installed unknowingly onto your computer. These programs are meant to transmit every keystroke you make back to their home base, this is called Keylogging.
There are ways to avoid clicking directly into links or opening attachments, particularly in Outlook Express or Windows Mail, but still view the content online. Copy and paste is a useful tool for computer users. This method is utilized to place a link from within an email message into your browsing engine. If the material is malicious the web browser will either not be able to locate the site or, depending upon your settings, block access. A good antivirus/anti-spyware, anti-malware protection program will issue a warning preventing you from going further as well.
Email: here’s how to copy and paste a link into your browser’s search bar but be sure to follow the instructions carefully and not left click directly into it:
Hover over the link and Right Click with the mouse, a pop-up window will appear. Then left click on Copy Shortcut from the menu. Open your browser and left click in the search bar to set the cursor. Then right click and choose Paste from the pop-up menu.
If you are having difficulty with this method, or if it is not an exclusive hyperlink as in black print, there’s another way to copy and paste a link into your browser:
Hold down the left button on the mouse and drag it over the link from beginning to end thereby highlighting the text you want to copy, then release. Hover over the highlighted text and right click then choose copy from the pop-up menu and paste as mentioned above in your browser.
You could also jot the information down and type it into the browser but the techniques mentioned are easier and faster. Practice and you will be surprised at how copy and paste can be used in other computer applications.
If there is no link description within the email message but something such as “CLICK HERE”, “YOU MUST SEE THIS” or perhaps an icon or a picture, be cautious as it could be malicious. A way to check where it may take you is to hover over the wording with the mouse and look for the actual link description at the bottom left of the email page. You can then jot it down and type it into the browser. You might need to move the cursor and hover again as time may expire but you will eventually be able to capture the text.
Attachments: sometimes attachments, such as media, originate from the internet and instead of opening them directly from your email you can jot the wording down and type it into your browser’s search bar. In Outlook Express or Windows Mail click on the paperclip but don’t open it then write the description and type it in your browser. Media such as Windows Media Video, WMV, typically will be shown in YouTube online.
If the search engine shows multiple links on a page, look for the authenticity of the site which will be indicated in green directly below the main link title and description. Many sites try to entice you into opening their link with words or titles that appear authentic but a way to tell is the link description underneath in green.
It’s highly recommended that you perform routine maintenance on your computer, preferably weekly, and in doing so you should first run disk cleanup then scan with a good antivirus/anti-spyware and anti-malware software. Microsoft has a decent disk cleanup program and you can find it by going to “Start” – “All Programs” – “Accessories” – “System Tools” – “Disk Cleanup”. It may take a while to calculate but when finished it will have pre-checked which folders to clean. It’s essential to clean Temporary Internet Files but others such as Recycle Bin and Temporary Files can be checked for cleaning as well.
BTW (that means “By The Way” for non-techies), just prior to clicking onto the words “Disk Cleanup” you can hover over the wording, right click and choose “Send To Desktop” so to have a readily available icon on your display.
If you have any questions or need help with you computer please contact me, Peggy Pope c/o CAppTech, Computer Applications and Technology Service, at 702-346-6149.
Written by Peggy Pope with assistance from Joe Williams