Hot Stuff: Cheap & Easy Pop-Up Blockers

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With Windows XP Service Pack 2 getting ready to ship—which features a built-in and pretty effective pop-up blocker in Internet Explorer—companies and individuals have lots of options for preventing pop-up ad windows from taking over browsers, and for blocking banner ads and other inline stuff most users don’t want to see. In addition to the IE pop-up blocker, most rating sites give the Google and the Yahoo toolbars fairly high marks for blocking pop-up advertisements (and in Yahoo’s case, blocking spyware as well).

Who cares about pop-up or other Web browser ads? Most people do; none more than those who’ve been victims of what some call “ad flooding” where rogue sites go berserk inundating users with pop-up ads (some from sites that specialize in prurient materials can be problematic for all kinds of reasons), or who get infected with adware or spyware that invites ads onto their desktops. Most users find them anywhere from mildly to extremely irritating, depending on how often (and hard) they’re besieged with advertisements.


If the small, simple, well-behaved and -rated pop-up blockers already mentioned don’t tickle your fancy for any reason, you can find lots more toolbar ratings, rankings, test data and even assess your browser’s ability to handle pop-up ads at these Web sites:



  • Three batteries of tests, plus a single check that runs all three sets in sequence will help you rate your browser’s current ability to block pop-ups. You’ll also find links to, test results for and information about 14 pop-up blocker add-ons and three Web browsers with built-in pop-up blockers (and please note that the built-in IE pop-up blocker is the only one to garner a perfect score).
  • Pop-Up Killer Review: Sergei Kaul has put together one of the most comprehensive pop-up rating, ranking, classification and review sites anywhere. (As I write this he now includes 116 items in his coverage, but does not yet rank the Windows XP SP2 pop-up blocker built into Internet Explorer; applying his tests, however, I rank it at as 100/87 using his own metrics.)


Among all the items listed here, you should be able to select a browser or an add-in tool that will make the ads on your (or other) desktops simply disappear!

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