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Why does my URL text become garbled?

Abner from Boynton Beach, FL writes:

Whenever I type a URL, instead of the letters I wanted to insert, I get a garbled set of letters that resemble nothing I entered or anything else that make sense.

In normal circumstances your web browser should always display whichever letters or numbers you happen to be typing, so if your URL bar is displaying garbled nonsense that doesn’t reflect what you just typed, the culprit will nearly always be an extension or add-on that’s affecting the browser. Add-ons offer many useful features, but unfortunately not all of them work properly, and even add-ons that were working previously may become troublesome after updating to a newer version of your browser.

The quickest way to troubleshoot the problem is to simply turn off all add-ons automatically and then work backwards to figure out which one in particular is messing up your URLs. Your browser includes an option to load without any additional software specifically for troubleshooting issues like this. If you use Internet Explorer, open the “Start” menu and navigate to the folder labeled “Accessories.”

Accessories Folder

Open the “System Tools” sub-folder, and then click the icon labeled “Internet Explorer (No Add-Ons)” to open Internet Explorer without any third party programs active.

Internet Explorer Without AddOns

If you are instead using Firefox, the process is slightly different. Open the “Start” menu and type the word “Run” into the search box.

The Run Tool

Click the blue “Run” icon at the top of the search results and then type the phrase “Firefox -safe-mode” (without the quotes) into the text box and click “OK.”

Launching Firefox

Click the button labeled “Start in Safe Mode” to launch Firefox without any additional extension programs.

Firefox Safe Mode

After loading your browser without add-ons, the garbled text problem should be resolved. You can either continue to load the browser without any extra programs, or instead simply close and re-open your browser and then disable the specific add-on causing the problem.

To remove individual add-ons in Internet Explorer, click the “Tools” button at the top of the screen and select “Manage Add-Ons.” Click the name of whichever add-in you most recently installed (or most recently updated) and click the “Disable” button.

Managing AddOns

In Mozilla Firefox, instead click the orange “Firefox” button at the top-left corner of the window and then click “Add-Ons.” Open the “Extensions” tab, click the name of your most recently installed add-on, and then choose “Disable” to prevent the program from opening with Firefox.

Firefox AddOns

In some extreme cases the problem may not go away after troubleshooting your add-on programs. In this instance, you could get around the problem entirely by simply downloading and installing a different web browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

~Ty Arthur