Please help me rid my PC of those nasty pop-ups!

Question

I have tried to use various programs to stop pop-up ads, but it seems like they just keep coming back. What can I do to stop these darn things?

-Julie

Answer

This question was answered on August 28, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

‘Force-feeding’ ads to Internet users has become one of the predominant methods of marketing goods and services to millions of people

While the jury is still out on just how effective they are in generating sales, the relative low cost per person will keep enticing companies to continue.

Some pop-up blocker software companies are actually trying to market their software by annoying users with recurring pop-ups!

The first thing that you can do to help fight pop-ups is to never buy from any companies that use pop-ups to advertise their products Much like spam, if just a small number of people respond, they will keep doing it.

The delivery method which was once just a simple Java script that ran when you visit certain web sites, has spawned into downright infiltration of your computer from various vantage points.

There at least three major methods that your computer will receive pop-up ads

The first is the traditional scripting that is embedded into web sites that can be easily stopped with many of the free pop-up ‘killers’ The one that I have used for some time with a great amount of success is called EMS Free Surfer mk II You can download the free version at www.WebAttack.com by typing ‘free surfer’ into the search engine.

The second that appeared about a year ago takes advantage of the ‘Windows Messenger’ utility that is built into Windows NT, 2000 and XP (but not 95,98 or ME) This utility is intended to be used by network administrators to alert users that the server is being shut down or for sending general information to everyone on a local area network.

This type of pop-up is why some high-speed Internet customers are experiencing pop-ups even when they are not surfing the Internet.

Unless you are on a corporate network, you can turn this feature off In Windows NT, go to the Control Panel, then to Services Highlight "Messenger" and click on "Stop."

In Windows 2000 and XP, go to the Control Panel, then to Administrative Tools, and then to Services Highlight "Messenger" and click on "Stop." You must also set the "Startup Type" to "Disabled."

The third and most intrusive pop-ups are delivered by secretly installing software that is known as ‘adware’ If you have ever downloaded a free program from the Internet or you notice that an extra toolbar has appeared in your browser window, there is a good chance that an adware program has been installed in your system as well.

Once these adware programs get installed, they constantly run in the background of your computer and monitor your Internet access so it can pop-up ads specific to your surfing habits.

Some of the less scrupulous companies (mainly porn vendors) go a step further and pop-up ads constantly, whether you are surfing the web or not.

If you seem to have extra toolbars in your browser window, start by going to the Add/Remove programs section of the Control Panel and look for anything that has the word toolbar in the description

There are a couple of excellent free programs that will look for and remove adware & spyware programs from your computer For non-technical users I recommend using Ad-aware (www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware) and more technical users may find SpyBot Search and Destroy (www.safer-networking.org) more full featured.

These are the most common ways of getting pop-ups but they are not the only methods Instant messaging, file sharing utilities and a host of other programs are also incorporating pop-ups as a revenue source, so the battle will rage on!

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on August 28, 2003