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Block pop-up ads in various browsers Web Browsers
With the recent proliferation of pop-ups (unders, overs, arounds, throughs, etc.) on Mac-related websites, I thought it might be worth a few minutes to let people know how to disable these most annoying of intrusions. I've got nothing against ads in general (although I prefer not to use them here), but the pop-ups and -unders are among the most annoying and intrusive objects on the web.

Read the rest of the article for a few pointers on various means of disabling them...

Kill all pop-ups no matter which browser you use:
Head over to and read their excellent article on creating and using a "hosts" file in OS X to isolate and block those sites that create the pop-unders.

Mozilla 0.99:
Disabling pop-unders in Mozilla, my personal browser of choice, is amazingly easy. Just open the Preferences panel, then open the Advanced section, and click on "Scripts and Windows". Here you have total control over what the site is allowed to do to your windows. In the "Allow webpages to:" section, simply uncheck the first item, "Open unrequested windows". You can also change the other options to further restrict those items the sites can control. Similar functionality should exist in Netscape 6.2, as it is based on Mozilla.

OmniWeb 4.1b2:
It's similarly easy to disable these ads in OmniWeb. Open the Prefs, go to the JavaScript section, and under "Scripts are allowed to open new windows", select "only in response to a link being clicked".

iCab 2.7E:
I'm not certain of this one, but I think you could do it with Prefs -> InScript -> Filter, then check the "Use InScript filters" and then uncheck the "open windows" option. There are also image blocking filters which you could enable once you've identified the source of the offending ads.

Opera 5.0 preview:
Under Preferences, select "Windows" then uncheck "Allow documents to create windows".

Internet Explorer 5.1:
IE has no pre-defined method of blocking either images or pop-ups, but Larry Rosenstein posted a genearl method of working around this problem on Macintouch today. Adding some detail to Larry's instructions, you need to choose the Security Zones area of the Prefs, then switch the Zone to "Restricted sites zone". Next click on "Custom" for the security setting, and then scroll to the bottom of the next dialog box that appears. In the "Scripting" section, change "Execute scripts" to disabled. Hit "OK", and then select "Add sites..." and enter the URLs for sites that are serving pop-up ads. The downside to this message is that all JavaScript will be disabled when you visit those sites, but it should be the end of the pop-ups.

If you have other thoughts on methods of disabling these annoying ads, please post them...
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Block pop-up ads in various browsers | 16 comments | Create New Account
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Yeah mozilla is #1
Authored by: obi-1-kenobi on Apr 05, '02 02:11:12AM

I would have to agree with you their, Mozilla is number one. I have only used it for a couple of weeks and I decied to remove my last personal choice I.E. Thoes advance options you can choose from are pretty neat. Thanks for the tip.

I can't wait for Mozilla 1.0

( Do i dare say FP :p )

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Yeah mozilla is #1
Authored by: JKT on Apr 05, '02 06:36:42AM

My (biggest) problem with Mozilla at the moment is that it's image filtering system sucks badly. It desperately needs the flexibility of iCab or OmniWeb. In OS9, 0.9.9 is also incredibly buggy and has hard crashed my system quite a lot too. I don't know how bad it is in OSX as I can't bring myself to use it due to the limited image filtering and the ugliness factor relative to OmniWeb. At the moment the only really compelling feature it has over other browsers is tabbed browsing (which you can semi-emulate with the other browsers in OSX by maximising all windows and then minimising them to and from the Dock).

Anyway, it is good but still not that great IMO. Hopefully, version 1.x will bring it up to a par.

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Image filtering...
Authored by: robg on Apr 05, '02 08:56:35AM

I guess I don't see the problem with control-clicking an image and saying "Block images from this server." But then again, my needs are probably somewhat simplistic in comparison to others.

Regarding the crashes, I haven't ever had Mozilla lock up OS X. I had some unexpected quits for a while with one of the early 0.99 builds, but those stopped when I trashed my Mozilla folder and let the browser rebuild its files (I also downloaded a newer nightly, so I'm not quite sure which action fixed the problem). Since then, it's been rock solid.


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Image filtering...
Authored by: JKT on Apr 05, '02 09:41:59AM

The image filtering is poor because when you block "images from this server" you can often block images that you need to see. For example, I blocked some ads at the and half the buttons and the Title image of the actual site were also blocked as the ads were from the same server as the website itself. There is no fine control - I either put up with those ads or lose half the images on the site. With iCab and OmniWeb, you can filter any image on a purely individual level or use more wide-ranging filters to catch all ads etc (just look at iCab's image filtering options to see what I mean... Omniweb 4.1's are a little more difficult to set up but are actually very powerful once you learn the syntax). If I remember when I get home tonight, I'll post the 10 or so strings in OW's privacy settings that I have set up and these block 99% of all ads I come across on the web - even before I enter a new site... I ought to submit that to you as a hint ;-)

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Here you go
Authored by: JKT on Apr 05, '02 03:11:49PM

N.B. I'll submit this as a separate hint too - that way people can add to (or correct!) mine:

These all work for me and block 99% of ads I come across (unfortunately, you'll have to copy/paste them individually into the Privacy preferences - the first few were the OW 4.1 defaults so they can be ignored):


For some ads you may find that you need to copy the url of the image itself, and not the link from the image, to be able to block it (after first editing for syntax and to reduce the specificity to catch all other ads at the same domain etc). Obviously, some of those are site specific (e.g. thinksecret, macrumors, cnet etc). Others are much more general.

Rule of thumb any . that is not immediately after a / should be proceeded by a \ ... the OmniWeb help files have a description of how to set up filters using the necessary syntax.

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Filtering Banners from Moz too
Authored by: chew_wei on Apr 05, '02 05:55:39PM

While not Pop-ups, this isn't far off topic.

There is BannerBlind @ the Mozdev site:

Which allows for filtering based on image size. Seems to work alright.

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Yeah mozilla is #1
Authored by: nycdewd on Apr 13, '02 10:22:15AM

Mozilla is by far the most disgustingly ugly bit of bloatware that has ever been my displeasure to use.

NO, skins do not improve its butt-ugliness.

Chimera, on the other hand, shows a great deal of promise. It will never be more than a browser, thankfully, with no junk such as an email app tacked onto it.

Oh yes, Chimera (uses the Gecko engine) is and will be Mac-ONLY, unlike that bloated steaming pile that is Mozilla.

I use iCab and OmniWeb (OmniWeb renders beautifully, by far the most attractive), iCab has more filtering capabilities than any browser on any platform and iCab's overall feature set is second to none. It even has a toolbar set named "Cupertino". I have a broadband connection and iCab beats the bloody hell out of every other browser out there, in terms of speed, on all my Macs. "Your Mileage May Vary."

And oh yes, these two best browsers, iCab and OmniWeb, are Mac-ONLY. Accept nothing less.

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Authored by: donvy on Apr 05, '02 02:45:33AM
I've been using the open source Junkbuster (I think it's now called Privoxy) which works as a web proxy with filtering options. The good thing is you can turn it on or off, depending on your surfing needs, through its own web interface. The main page is here: The SourceForge project page is here:

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Authored by: aiBoek on Apr 05, '02 10:32:49AM
There's another one, it's a perl script called cookie_jar. Works fine. aiBoek

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hosts file
Authored by: zephc on Apr 05, '02 05:15:02AM

if you promise not to slashdot my machine, you can see my hosts file that has over 800 ad servers blocked (not necessarily popups tho)

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much easier solution?
Authored by: plurk on Apr 05, '02 03:36:06PM
Optout! This site creates cookies which tell the popup "vendors" to not pop.

worked really well for me!

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IE now ad free!
Authored by: balderd on Apr 07, '02 12:54:22PM

The piece is terrific. Building the machines file in Netinfo Manager and installing eDexter has made IE virtually ad and pop free.

I'm *so* happy!

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Delays in main site DNS lookup?
Authored by: houchin on Apr 08, '02 06:53:30PM

do you notice that the initial dns lookup (of the desired main page) is considerably slower? The ads no don't show up, but IE now spends about 3 seconds "looking for" the initial site.

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Delays in main site DNS lookup?
Authored by: mzajac on Apr 09, '02 01:07:51PM

I had the same problem--slowed down surfing instead of speeding it up.

You have to make sure your web sharing is turned on, so that your own computer returns a result for each ad immediately.

You may also want to replace your index.html page with something simple--mine has a grey background and the word "[ad]". Loads quickly and lets me see how many stinky ads I'm missing.

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Delays in main site DNS lookup?
Authored by: houchin on Apr 09, '02 03:37:15PM

I was running eDexter, so the return of the pages wasn't the problem. The delay was in the initial IP lookup of the main site. My guess is that with 8000 entries in my machines netinfo directory, it was taking a while to get to the point where it fell through to the DNSAgent.

I've gone back to the old system for now. I'm on broadband both at home and work, and the delays for hostname lookup were worse than the time spent downloading the ads.

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IE now ad free!
Authored by: li_hao_ on May 05, '02 04:15:05PM

My shareware ADGate ( does just this but easier. I tried to make it be listed at VersionTracker, but after two submits, still no feedback - nothing. Guess my ADGate does do the job well ;-)

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