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Dealing with Unwanted Pop-ups

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Where are all these pop-ups coming from? Are you annoyed with pop-ups everywhere?

The first thing to do is to make sure these pop-ups are not being generated from within. That's right ... many parasites, adware enabled software downloads and P2P files will create pop-ups. They do this for various reasons including trying to entice you into purchasing some other type software such as pop-up blockers, or "IE cleaners". However the big trend now is to entice you to run a (in most cases a bogus) freeware "Anti-Spyware" scan. Don't get fooled by these tactics .... remove them by scanning your system for spyware and parasites.
Note: using a HOSTS file can help prevent these parasites from infecting your machine in the future.

Preventing Messenger Spam

Next make sure these pop-ups are not "Messenger Service Spam". Messenger Service is now turned off (disabled) in XP SP2/Vista/Win7. These pop-ups are generated by the same type sleazy characters (parasites) however they take advantage of the fact that the user does not have a Firewall installed or not setup properly. Make sure your system isn't vulnerable with this one-click test. A Firewall is a must-have if you are on a broadband connection.

  • Test Your Shields by Gibson Research
    Even Windows XP/Vista Firewall can be "stealth" if setup properly! [more info]
  • Note: you'll find most of the spammers are targeted (blocked) by the HOSTS file.

Preventing Browser Pop-ups and Unwanted Web Site Pop-ups

You can prevent many of these browser pop-ups by using a HOSTS file and placing many of these 3rd party ad pop-ups in the "Restricted Zone".

Many of these web site operators try to generate revenue by bomb-barding you with "click-thru" pop-ups. They use a variety of tricks such as javascript pop-ups, delayed pop-ups, pop-unders, and what they call "Show Behind". All this just to generate a few cents-per-click. You'll find that many of these actually lead to adware, spyware and parasites installs (hijackers).

Once you update your XP version to SP2 or Vista, you can use the new built-in pop-up blocker. So there is really no need for a 3rd party pop-up blocker. Uninstall or turn off those 3rd party options.

How to configure the Pop-up Blocker in Internet Explorer (XP SP2)

Does your pop-up blocker pass the test? IE with SP2 does!

PopUp Killer Test - Test your pop-up stopper here!


Editors Note: be very careful downloading programs, some are now adding themselves to the "Allowed sites" list for IE's pop-up blocker. C2Media/LOP and a few others are known to use this method.

At this time none of the "Anti-Spyware" scanners detect these unwanted sites in this location.

If you find any unwanted or unknown sites listed in the "Allowed sites" list, highlight and click Remove. If you find these sites return after a reboot, then scan your system for adware/spyware.

The "Allowed list" can also be managed via Group Policy in XP.

Start | Run (type) gpedit.msc (click Ok)
Navigate to: +User Configuration
 +Administrative Templates
   +Internet Explorer

In the right pane highlight: Pop-up Allow list


Various Troubleshooting Articles

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