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Readers’ pop-up-killer suggestions

Oct 27, 20034 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Applications you use to stop pop-ups from popping up

A few weeks ago I wrote about my frustrations with pop-up ads.  I apparently hit a nerve for many of you, because that article generated more reader mail than I’ve seen in a long time.  I now know that I don’t suffer alone.

I asked for advice on how to kill these nuisances for good, especially for an enterprise computing environment, and numerous readers responded with suggestions.  I tried a few, and maybe some of these ideas will work for you.  Then again, maybe not…

Chris suggested his approach to killing pop-ups.  “I turned off messenger service in WinXP and no pop-ups trouble me,” he says.  Well, Chris, I tried your method first, and it seemed to have no affect for my system – the pop-ups kept coming.  And so it was on to the next tool.

Several people advised me to use the blocker that comes with the Google Toolbar.  Frank wrote “I have two words for you: Google Toolbar.  If you’re like us and are [Microsoft]-centric and stick to IE for your browser, then it’s free and it works well.  I am now installing it on client machines as I hand them out.”  He also cautions, “Be aware that it will ask you if it’s OK to send information back to Google.  I just say no.”

Apparently Troy agrees with Frank.  He writes, “Believe it or not, Google has a decent pop up blocker on their toolbar. I hardly see pop ups any more!  I would consider either the Google bar or the Alexa bar for enterprise-wide distribution/use. They are both very unobtrusive and seem to be effective.”  Troy says he also uses the toolbar. 

Dale likes the Google Toolbar, too, but he warns that some users may have a problem with the system requirements:

* Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP.

* Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or later.

* The pop-up blocker requires Internet Explorer 5.5 or later.

Dale also says he used to use “Pop-up Stopper” from PanicWare before this.  Pop-up Stopper is available as a free or a premium version (see

For the record, I did activate the Google Toolbar and have seen reduced pop-up traffic. Check it out, if you haven’t already, at

A few readers advised me to try a different browser than Internet Explorer.  Rich asked, “Have you tried Netscape 7.1 as your browser?  It has a built-in pop-up manager/blocker that I’ve configured with a sound when a pop-up comes up that is blocked. It does not display the pop-up, but you can click on the pop-up manager icon in the lower right corner of the Netscape screen, and then add the site to be permitted for all future pop-ups [if you want it].  (Works great for, which uses pop-ups all over the place.)”  On the down side, Rich has learned there are several sites that just won’t work with Netscape.  “Most of them use some special Java code,” he says.  “For those sites, I’m forced to use IE.”

I followed Rich’s advice and installed Netscape 7.1.  I could hear the pop up killer in action all day, especially when I visited sites most likely to generate the annoying ads.  Three cheers for Netscape.

Willem prefers Mozilla.  “When browsing the ‘Net, use the Mozilla browser. You can simply tell it to reject any pop-up windows (‘edit preferences,’ then unfold ‘privacy and security’). Works great, and Mozilla is ‘quite compatible’ these days even with Web sites that have a built-in IE preference.” 

I questioned his advice to install Mozilla in an enterprise, where the corporate standard is IE.  I mean, you wouldn’t want users to simply dump a corporate standard because they feel like it.  According to Willem, “You can install Mozilla very well next to IE; they don’t bite each other (I have it here). Highly recommended for browsing outside the intranet.”

Paul wrote me with his simple advice:  “Try Privoxy to kill pop-ups.”  He didn’t elaborate on his experiences with it, and I didn’t try it so I can’t vouch for this tool.

Based on these readers’ advice, I’ve put a few of the tools and techniques to work for me, and so far they seem to help.  However, I’m sure that ad writers will get savvier and will soon find a way to intrude on my viewing space once again.

Linda Musthaler is vice president of Currid & Company.  You can write to her at