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- This Week's Free Computer Tip -

109 -What to do about Pop-Ups

Pop-ups are those really annoying advertisements that “pop up” while you are trying to open a web page you want to see. There is good news and bad news regarding this subject. The good news is, you can do something about them. The bad news is, the authors of pop-ups are relentless in their quest to catch your eye, and your dollar. They continue to work hard to beat the counter measures.

The newest wrinkle is the “Pop-Under”. Advertisers learned that many people were clicking the cancel button to close the window, as soon as they saw it was an advertisement. To keep you from doing this, the pop-up folks started opening their windows underneath the window you are looking at. Except for wondering what is taking so long to download the page you are waiting for, you don’t even know its happening. When you go to exit, there’s the fully downloaded ad staring you right in the face. The Internet is still in the “Wild West” stage of development, so you will need to be patient for a while.

What can you do –
I have two suggestions here. First, make Google your search engine, if it’s not already. Google works harder to eliminate pop-ups than any other popular browser. Better yet, in my opinion, they are the best of the search engines. Their search formulas seem to find more pages about what you are really looking for than the other search engines do.

I actually make Google my “home page” in Internet Explorer. Their home page is simple and downloads quickly. In the competition for your business, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cram their home pages with customized information such as headline news, today’s weather, movie times where you live, how the DOW is doing, etc. That’s fine except it takes a long time to download and open those pages. Most of the time, I’m only interested in getting on the Internet. Google has a very fast download time and I can always click over to my big home page if I want to see the other information. Google can be found at:


Second, and more importantly, you can download free pop-up stopping programs from the Internet. There are several out there, but the one I use is called Pop-Up Stopper, from an company called PanicWare. Their web site is:


They have a commercial version but the free version performs the desired function and is easy to use. Just look around their web page for the link to the free version. I have used it with Windows 98 and Windows XP with no problems. It should work fine with all current and older versions of Windows.

What follows is a review of how to use it. You can skip it if you’re not interested right now, but it will give you a good idea of how it works if you are about to try it out.

Review of Pop-Up Stopper and how it works –
Once you install Pop-Up Stopper, its icon appears in your system tray. (The system tray is the box in the lower right corner of your screen which shows the current time.) Pop-Up Stopper’s icon has an “X” across the front of it. If you still can’t tell which icon is which, just rest your pointer on the icon and a name will pop open to tell you. Here’s why it has an “X” on it.

If the “X” is red, that means that Pop-Up Stopper is activated. If the “X” is black, the program is deactivated and not blocking unexpected windows from opening. You can switch between red and black by double clicking on the icon at any time.

Pop-Up Stopper offers you two configuration choices. You can get to these by right clicking its system tray icon and selecting “Preferences”.
1. The first is whether you want to open Pop-Up Stopper when you first turn your computer on. You DO want to do this.
2. The second is whether you want a sound to be played when Stopper blocks a window, or just have the icon flash at you? I suggest that you elect to have the sound ON. The default sound is great. It sounds like the “wrong answer” buzzer on game shows. The only time you will hear it is when the program blocks a window from opening. You need to know this has happened because sometimes Pop-Up Stopper blocks a window that you actually mean to open.

It depends on how a web site’s code is written, but many web sites provide links to other pages. The Pop-Up Stopper program can’t always tell if you meant to open that new page or if it is an unwanted advertisement. So, it blocks it. Without the buzzer sound, you would sit and wait, not realizing the new window is not going to open. When this happens, just hold down the Shift Key and click the link again. Stopper is designed so that you can override the block at any time, by holding down the Shift Key. And, you can always temporarily turn off Pop-Up Stopper by double-clicking its system tray icon.

That’s basically how it operates. You may be surprised at how many unwanted windows try to pop up. The price is right on this product and when the ads are flying in on you, it works quite well.

Quick Reminder -
If you don’t understand any of my instructions, please get in touch with me. I’ll be more than happy to help you with any issues like “How do I do a download?” or “What’s a search engine?”

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