Popup Blocker Techniques

Advertisers are constantly trying to draw attention to their products. Popups are now used to thrust an ad in your face that you have no choice, but to at least acknowledge. Regardless of the nature of the ad, popups are a nuisance and there are now many options available for keeping them off of your computer screen all the way around. Listed below are five ways to block popups on your computer.

1. Internet Explorer on Windows XP with Service Pack 2

The Service Pack 2 for Windows XP has brought about a few significant changes to the operating system. One of the most noticeable is the addition of a popup blocker to Internet Explorer.

The popup blocker is integrated into the browser and can be customized by browsing to the Tools menu at the top of the program. Like many popup blocker applications, personal preferences can be set to allow/block popups from certain Web sites, as well as, providing customization for how the user is alerted to the fact that a popup has been blocked.

For those using Windows XP, upgrading to Service Pack 2 is an excellent idea for your system’s security as a whole, but specifically for the additional convenience of an integrated popup blocker. For those with a Microsoft operating system other than XP, I’m sorry, but this one is not available to you.

2. Alternative Web Browsers

There are other choices for Web browsers available and many have included a popup blocker long before Microsoft decided to include one with Internet Explorer.

Mozilla Firefox has already received a great deal of acclaim and has become quite popular as an alternative to Internet Explorer. Firefox is a highly customizable Web browsing application that includes an effective popup blocker, tabbed browsing and many other features.

Crazy Browser is another option that was released in 2002, which is not as much an alternative browser, as it is a skin for Internet Explorer. In order for Crazy Browser to run, a system must have Internet Explorer 5 (or greater) installed, along with Windows 95 (or greater) installed as the operating system. The Crazy Browser application then takes the base functionality of Internet Explorer and adds features similar to Firefox, such as the popup blocker and tabbed browsing.

3. Browser Toolbars

A growing trend is for Web sites to offer a downloadable toolbar for use with Internet Explorer. Many of these toolbars offer unique features intended to enhance the user’s Web browsing experience in different ways, but they generally also include a popup blocker. Although there are toolbars available from dozens of Web sites, Google, MSN and Yahoo! are some of the more reputable names with one available.

The installation of these toolbars is quick and easy. The most difficult part may only be reading the fine print in the license agreements.

Although these toolbars may do an excellent job blocking popups, they may also be retrieving data on your Web surfing and search habits. If you feel a toolbar may be the right solution for you, stick with one from a trusted name and just be sure to read the fine print.

4. Popup Blocker Software

Stand alone popup blocking software is available from hundreds of different sources. With various interfaces and prices ranging from free to $30 (and higher), choosing one can be a difficult task. Many of the programs that are not available for free do come with a free trial download, so you can at least get a sense of whether the program is right for you before committing. Some of the options in this category include STOPzilla, Secure IE, Zero Popup and Pop Swatter, just to name a few.

The main drawback to this type of popup blocking solution is that you now have another independent application running on your computer. Although they are generally not resource intensive, why run a program to do something that can be handled by one that is already running anyway? Additionally, with so many reliable solutions available to eliminate popups for free, spending money on one is hard to justify.

5. Internet Access Software from Select ISPs

Some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) now incorporate a popup blocker with the software they provide to subscribers for accessing the Internet. Earthlink, Optimum Online and AOL are just a few of the larger providers that add value to their packages by adding a popup blocker. Bundling this functionality with the ISP’s base software definitely makes things easy for the subscriber, as there may be no need to find one elsewhere.

In general, these blockers are effective, but are not the most feature rich and may have limited options for customization by the end user. One draw back with ISP provided popup blockers is that some only work with their service. So, if you ever switch to a new provider, you’ll need to be prepared to switch to a new popup blocker as well.

Popups are a fact of life on the Internet, but that does not mean you need to put up with them. Among the five general solutions presented above, there are literally hundreds of options available for eliminating the clutter of popup ads, allowing you to enjoy only the content you intended to see in the first place!

How to Configure Popup Blocker Settings in Internet Explorer

The following popup blocker settings can be configured:

Allow Web Sites List

You can allow popup windows to open in a Web site by adding the Web site to the Allowed sites list. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Click Start, point to All Programs and then click Internet Explorer.
2. On the Tools menu, point to Popup Blocker and then click Popup Blocker Settings.
3. In the Address of Web site to allow box, type the address of the Web site and then click Add.
4. Click Close.

Block All Popup Windows

To bloc
k all popup windows, including the popup windows that are opened by a user, follow these steps:

1. Click Start, point to All Programs and then click Internet Explorer.
2. On the Tools menu, point to Popup Blocker and then click Popup Blocker Settings.
3. In the Filter Level list, select High: Block all popups [Ctrl to override] and then click Close.

Override Key

To open a popup window yourself, even though you have set the filter level to High: Block all popups [Ctrl to override], keep the Ctrl key pressed, and then open the popup window.

Configure Sound

To play a sound when a popup window is blocked, follow these steps:

1. Click Start, point to All Programs and then click Internet Explorer.
2. On the Tools menu, point to Popup Blocker and then click Popup Blocker Settings.
3. Select the Play a sound when a popup is blocked checkbox and then click Close.

And there you have it. Several easy ways to stop those popups from invading your computer!

~ Shantala Ramamoorthy