More Internet annoyances |

More Internet annoyances

This week, Click and Hack continue with their series on Internet annoyances.

Top on the list of Internet annoyances for many users are popups ads. Someone recently asked us for advice on how to stop popups, and we gave them our high-tech method: “Umm, you close them.”

Maybe you don’t mind popups, unlike the vast majority of the population. Maybe you’re accustomed to simply clicking on the “X” and continuing on.

Setting our high-tech solution aside, simply closing the popup window is not necessarily the best answer. Popups slow your surfing by clogging your Internet connection with advertisements. They can put inappropriate content on your hard drive that you do not want, such as cookies, cache and histories.

Fortunately, it is very easy to stop popup ads. You do not need to install special software or switch your Internet service provider to stop popups.

Here are four things you can do to stop popups now, quickly and easily.

1) First and foremost, don’t respond to the popup, whether it’s a game, a target, a test, whatever. Responding to the popup simply leads to more popups. Instead, close the window by clicking “X” or using Alt F4 (sometimes no X is provided).

2) Possibly the easiest way to stop popups before they appear is to download the Google toolbar (

If you choose to use the advanced features, Google will anonymously track what sites you go to, but you get a free popup blocker in exchange. The blocker works very well and will even tell you when you have blocked popups. You can actually turn this feature off (which is fortunate, because it can get nearly as annoying as the popup itself).

Having the ability to turn it on or off is definitely an advantage because there are some worthwhile popups, and you can choose to allow them on certain sites.

The Google toolbar utility works well and is always handy to have, so we recommend downloading it whether you use it to block popups or not.

3) Another popular method to stop popups is to turn off javascript in Internet Explorer. This will stop most popups, but it may cause some problems when you are navigating on the Net, as many sites rely on javascript for functionality.

If you want something that is free and won’t track what you are doing, then by all means try it out. To turn off javascript in Internet Explorer (with some variations by version) go to tools, select Internet options, hit the security tab, hit the custom button, then scroll down to scripting of java applets and hit “disable”.

4) If you’re not satisfied with these methods and insist on installing a popup blocking software, we recommend you consider the free downloads first. The CNET Editors’ Choice Award (November 2003) was given to STOPzilla. Download it free from

In our next column, we’ll look at another Internet annoyance – spam. In the meantime, contact clickandhack@friscocomputer with questions or comments.

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