Table of Contents
    Home / Development / How To Deal With Pop-Ups
    Development 4 min read

    There are different types of pop-ups and different ways to keep them from popping up on your system.

    What Are Pop-ups

    In the late 90s, advertising on the Web changed with the introduction and widespread usage of JavaScript language for programming on the Web. In the language was an option to enable you to open a new browser window. This lead to the steady development of what we now call pop-up advertising, which is offered through means other than JavaScript, such as ActiveX. As your surf the Web it is increasingly common to have a browser window with advertisements pop up at you.

    Formally called a pop-up advertisement, most people now just call these annoying little windows pop-ups and something as simple as a mouse click, a mouseover, or simply loading or exiting a Web page in your browser can trigger pop-ups to appear. There are different types of pop-ups and different ways to keep them from popping up on your system.

    General Browser Pop-ups

    Basic pop-ups can appear as your surf the Web. These advertisement windows will pop-up (and under) your browser window as you view Web pages. In some cases multiple windows will appear, often interfering with your ability to read the Web page.

    Many browsers offer a built-in tool or way for you to disable pop-ups as you surf the Web.

    FireFox (Windows)

    Tools > Options > Content > Block pop-up Windows.
    You can also set “exceptions” by specifying Web sites that are allowed to open pop-up windows by entering in the Web site address in the Exceptions tab and clicking Allow.

    Windows Internet Explorer

    Tools > Pop-Up Blocker > Turn On Pop-up Blocker.
    Under Tools > Internet Options > Privacy you can also change the settings for the pop-up blocker and allow pop-ups for some Web sites where you enter in the site address and select add. You can also adjust the filter level with high to low settings.

    Spyware Pop-ups

    Spyware is considered a malicious program and is similar to a Trojan Horse in that you unwittingly install the product when you install something else. A common way to become a victim of spyware is to download certain peer-to-peer file-swapping products as well as some freeware like games or other applications. There are even malicious people who actually hide spyware in “anti-spyware” programs. Here people install the program, thinking it will remove existing spyware from their compute, but, in fact, it actually installs spyware.

    In addition to privacy issues (e.g., some spyware can transmit every bit of information you enter on the Web back to a third party) it could also monitor your surfing habits, install unwanted toolbars and change your browser settings and homepage. Some spyware can flood your system with so many pop-ups that it uses large portions of hard drive space and system resources to the point of notably slowing it down, or worse yet, rendering your system unstable or unusable.

    Keeping your system free of spyware pop-ups requires ongoing PC maintenance. It’s far easier to protect your system on a daily basis than it is to recover your system if it is already infected with pop-ups. Here are six tips to help you keep your computer pop-up free;

    • Be sure you keep your operating system up-to-date and download recommended patches.
    • If you encounter unexpected windows and pop-ups while surfing the Web, quit the pop-up or tabbed browser window and do not click any hyperlinks from within it.
    • Don’t download freeware or shareware unless it is coming from a trusted source. Be especially suspicious of free entertainment software like games or music and video-sharing freeware. Web accelerators, free browser toolbars, spam blockers, pop-up blockers and similar seemingly useful applications should be avoided when they are not being downloaded from a well-known company’s Web site.
    • Adult entertainment Web sites and other sites offering free (illegally pirated) versions of software are usually ripe with spyware and browser pop-ups. Avoid these sites completely.
    • Ensure you keep an anti-virus program on your system and that it is frequently updated and is used to scan all files you download.
    • Install a reputable anti-spyware program and ensure it is kept updated (see related links below).

    In the first half of 2007 spyware infections prompted 850,000 U.S. households to replace their computers. One out of 11 surveyed had a major, often costly problem due to spyware. (Source: Consumer Reports, State of the Net 2007)

    Based in Nova Scotia, Vangie Beal is has been writing about technology for more than a decade. She is a frequent contributor to EcommerceGuide and managing editor at Webopedia. You can tweet her online @AuroraGG.

    This article was originally published on March 06, 2008