Frequently Asked Questions

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  Pop-up Ads - Windows, Macintosh, and Linux

Links on this page:  What are pop-up ads? | What is ad-ware/spyware? | How do I block or remove pop-up ads/spyware? |


  What are pop-up ads?

Many websites and "free" programs support themselves by selling advertising space.  This advertising often is in the form of a "pop-up ads" or "pop-ups".  Pop-ups are tiny windows that appear seemingly out of the blue.  These ads annoy most, if not all, Internet users.  You can usually click out of a single ad or two; however, pop-up ads can, at times, flood your computer.  Closing one ad generates another and then another.  Pop-ups can even appear when the browser is not open or when the user is not connected to the Internet.  These are often generated by what is commonly referred to as "spyware".


What is ad-ware/spyware?

Spyware and ad-ware are programs that track a person's Internet usage reporting information back to the companies that made the programs.  It will sometimes generate pop-up advertising, or do other annoying things like change a person's homepage to some new page resisting the users' attempts to change it back.  Spyware ranges from mildly annoying pop-up ads to extremely malicious, personal information-stealing software.  Malicious spyware can track not only browsing habits but personal information as well i.e., credit card numbers, passwords, bank account numbers, etc.  Some spyware can hijack your computer dialing a long-distance, possibly an international phone number charging users exorbitant fees.

How does spyware get on your machine?  Sometimes people install a program thinking it will do something they want or need, yet they are unaware of what it is doing in the background.  The spyware can also come with another program that you install.  Perhaps a checkbox went unnoticed for "Would you like to install (some spyware program) also?"  Some websites might pop up a box asking you to install something (cleverly worded, of course) and you don't realize what it's doing.  You'll need to remove these spyware programs.


How do I block it and/or remove it?

If a person simply doesn't want to see pop-ups, many browsers include pop-up blocking capability as a standard feature preventing the ads from well... "popping up".  These browsers include, but are not limited to:

Windows:   Macintosh:   Linux:
Internet Explorer 6 SP2   Safari (For OS X)   Mozilla Browser
Avant Browser   Mozilla Browser   Mozilla Firefox (Firebird)
Mozilla Browser   Mozilla Firefox   Netscape 7
Mozilla Firefox (Firebird)   Netscape 7   Opera 6 & 7
Netscape 7   Opera 6   Galeon
Opera 6 & 7   Camino    

Note:  Internet Explorer 6 (with Service Pack 2) does come with a pop-up blocking feature.  This functionality, however, is only available for Windows XP users with SP2.


BrowseBlast Web Accelerator:

BrowseBlast for Windows now includes a pop-up blocking feature as well as speeds up your browsing 5 to 6 times faster.


You should check if your current browser offers pop-up blocking capability.  If it doesn't, you can always download a browser that does.  A couple of the popular search engines offer a "toolbar" that can be added to the Internet Explorer browser that have pop-up blocking capability.  Below are links to the most common toolbars:

The Google Toolbar
The Yahoo Toolbar
The Dogpile Toolbar
The Vivisimo Toolbar

Important:  Not all pop-up blockers are good.  There are pop-up blockers that track your usage just like spyware.  Always study up on the pop-up blocker you intend to use.

Note:  One thing to be aware of when using pop-up blockers, though, is that there are good pop-ups too.  For example, when you try to compose a new e-mail message using Web-based e-mail, a new window pops up.  A pop-up blocker, however, would prevent this.  Pop-up blockers can, at times, interfere with NetFAQs as well.  You'll want to use a pop-up blocker that you can turn off and on easily.

Spyware Removal:

Having pop-up blocking capability doesn't mean you don't have or won't get spyware.  You may want to install a spyware removal program.

Spyware removal programs find and remove known spyware and some can even prevent spyware from being downloaded.  Because only known spyware is removed, you need to update the definitions file for the anti-spyware program periodically just like you would an anti-virus program.

Some of these anti-spyware programs are free and others cost money.  Yet even the purchased versions often include a free demo to evaluate the software for some time period.  A few of the most reputable and reliable free anti-spyware programs are:

SpyBot-Search & Destroy


Note:  Unlike Spybot-Search & Destroy and Ad-aware, SpywareBlaster does not remove spyware from your system.  When updated regularly, SpywareBlaster prevents much of the known spyware from infecting your computer.

Important:  We do not support these products and take no liability for your use of them.  You may, however, find them extremely helpful.  You can also search for spyware removal programs with your favorite search engine, or check websites such as or to see what spyware removal or pop-up blocking software they have available.  Research the program before installing it.  Many spyware removal programs are spyware.


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