Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

How to block ads (updated)

I have to confess something to you, Dear Reader — I am not a fan of banner ads. Those of you who are loyal readers will remember my recent post on this topic (hint: laser hair removal. I am pleased to report that someone at Hotmail Command read my post and removed that omnipresent ad… or, those folks finally ran out of money). In twenty years of using computers and the Internet, I have clicked on (maybe) two of them.

Tip of the day: Fight back; take steps to eliminate (or reduce) advertisements in your web browser. First of all, I need to point out that there are a few different “types” of Internet advertising presented when you browse the web. The most well-known type is the “pop up” ad, which is relatively easy to block. And there’s an ‘imbedded’ type, which frequently uses Flash animation and is a type of ‘feed’.

To deal with pop ups (and “pop unders”) in IE, make sure the pop up blocker is enabled. Click on the grey gear icon’s (“Tools”) down-arrow and select (click) “Internet Options” and then click on the Privacy tab.
Make sure there is a check in the checkbox labeled “Turn on Pop-up Blocker.” By default, this tool is set to “Medium” strength — which is designed to let you browse as you’re used to (ie: pages/tabs open when you click on links), and yet catch and eliminate advertisements. This is somewhat effective; if you want to crank up its power, click the Settings button.
You can use the down-arrow to set the level to High. This will vigorously limit Java Script calls, and will be perhaps a little too effective… you will have to get into the habit of holding down Ctrl+Alt when clicking (hyper)links.

For those of you who have installed a toolbar, you probably have a pop-up blocker working here too. (See my post “toolbar madness”) The Google, Yahoo, and your ISP’s toolbars all have them. These can be “toggled” on and off, and some of them let you adjust the setting (High/Med/Low) somewhat too. That is one of the ‘selling points’ of these toolbars — “protection”. You may want to try one, if you’re not already using one.
But none of these suggestions work tremendously well (unless you set them too high, which quickly becomes annoying) at removing advertising, and do not even try to deal with imbedded ads, but are certainly better than doing nothing. If you have done the above, and are still getting pop-up ads, or if your machine(s) are in an area where the kids can use them, you should consider downloading a 3rd-party app dedicated to pop-up blocking — such as CleanMyPC Popup Blocker 2.1 (free).
For more on Pop-ups, click here.

The other (major) type is much more difficult to thwart, (which we geeks call “ad filtering”) which is understandable from an advertiser’s or marketer’s point of view. I know of no free program that does a good job of this for IE.* (If any of you, Dear Reader does know of one, please let me know.) Firefox user can download the Add on called “AdBlock Plus”. This gives a “blacklist” feature to block known ad servers (like, and the ability to right-click on an ad, and add it to the “block this” list. This embedded ad blocking is a big factor in Firefox’s popularity!

There are alternatives, if you’re willing to pay. Google (search) “ad filtering” to get some direction. There’s also a method that uses a “proxy”server to download your page request, strip out the ads, and then send it to your browser. For more on that, click here, and scroll down to “External Programs”.

Today’s free link(s): If you were expecting a listing here, you didn’t read the article! Please scroll up two paragraphs.
* update: at the time I wrote this, I wasn’t familiar with SelectView, which is a  free plug-in for IE that simply performs ad-blocking miracles. If you prefer to stick with IE, this tool is for you. It is configurable, and can enable/disable on either a page, or Site basis.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul, All Rights Reserved

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August 31, 2007 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, IE 7, PC, privacy, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | 6 Comments