Why Do Pop Ups Still Appear After I Have Blocked Them?

February 25, 2011

Software Problems, Windows Tweaks

I addressed the dangers of browser popups in Internet Explorer and how to block them in my post “How to Prevent Popups in Internet Explorer.” You may have followed my advice and set the popup blocker to a high setting, blocking all poipups unless you manually override it or created a whitelist of allowed sites.

However, you may still be getting unwanted popups when you browse the web! How can this be?! You may be ranting and pulling your hair in frustration! Well, before you grab the hair loss products, the problem may be easily solved. In most cases, something may be overriding your popup blocker settings. Here’s how to find out what’s going on.

Check the Internet Explorer Security Zone

The Security Zone is a little feature that assigns different security features to different websites, in “zones.” Maybe you have assigned an unsafe website into the safe zone accidentally, or maybe a “drive-by download” program did it without your permission.

1. Open Internet Explorer. Go to the menu bar and click “Internet Options.”

2. In the new dialog window, click the “Security” tab. Click the icon “Trusted Sites.” Click the button “Sites.” This will show a list of websites that are considered by Internet Explorer to be perfectly safe.

3. Look for the possible offender. In this case, it is “https://evil_popup_website.com”! Click the web address to highlight it. Click the button “Remove.” Click “Close” and then “OK” to exit the dialog windows. Restart Internet Explorer.

Now what if you saw nothing in the Trusted Sites window? What else could be causing popups? Unfortunately, spyware or viruses in your computer may cause popups. You ARE using an anti-virus and firewall on your computer, aren’t you? If not, please start! You can read about the importance of firewalls and security software in my post How to Avoid Computer Viruses and Phishing Attacks and learn where to get free software in my post Free Security Software. If spyware or a virus has infected your computer, you need to scan your computer for the offending files and remove them. Every security software has their own way of doing this– refer to your software vendor help files for how to do this.

Now, what if you do not have any spyware or viruses on your computer? Why are popups still showing?

In such a case, it may be because Internet Explorer is unable to block the more sophisticated popups. Some popups, such as popunders, can be pretty slick. If you are willing to change your browser, you can try the Mozilla Firefox browser, a free and very reputable browser (it’s the one I use). You can download Firefox at the Mozilla Firefox website.

If you just cannot bear to part with Internet Explorer, consider some addons for the browser. CNet is a reputable tech website that reviews various software products and offers downloads. Some of their recommended popup blockers include: SuperAdBlocker, Absolute Shield Internet Eraser, Ad Annihilator, and AdBlock Pro.

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About The Older Geek

Rebecca Mecomber has been a professional blogger and freelance writer since 2007. Her work and opinions on technology, travel, blogging, home improvement, and media regulation has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Salon.com, USAToday, eHow.com, iMedia.com, Chron.com, SF Gate, and the Associated Press. She lives in New York with her husband, four kids and passel of pets.

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