Web PopUps, Messenger PopUps, and Spyware PopUps

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Gaye B. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I'm a newbie on the computer, and I have a big problem with popup advertisements. When I first got my PC, I let a friend use it to surf the web (unsupervised). Since that day, my computer has been infested with despicable ads appearing on the screen. What can I do to stop this from happening? "

My response:

The first thing you should do is tell your friend to mind where he surfs because it has caused you and your PC a lot of trouble! The next thing you should do is download some software that can remove / block popup advertisements from your PC. I've discussed PopUp ads in the Gazette before. And since it's such a hot topic, I don't mind explaining it again.

Recall: There are 3 types of PC PopUp ads: Web PopUps, Messenger PopUps, and Spyware PopUps.

In short, Web PopUps occur when visiting a web site and are generated as part of a new browser window. Messenger PopUps appear when the PC is connected to the Internet and only affect Windows NT, 2000 and XP machines. In contrast, Spyware PopUps can appear at any time, can affect any Windows machine, and do not require an Internet connection.

For many users, it is difficult to differentiate between PopUps. Therefore, the complete solution would be to install software that can eliminate all types of PopUps.

Type #1: Web Browser PopUps

I have used quite a few PopUp blockers in the past, but my favorite one is PopUp Stopper Professional by Panicware. I've been using PopUp Stopper Pro for over 2 years and it has been extremely effective. Some key features of PopUp Stopper include:

  • Blocks Web Browser PopUps and Messenger PopUps
  • Blocks PopUps ads *before* they are downloaded to the PC. This allows web pages to load faster and makes surfing the web a whole lot more enjoyable without the worry of bothersome PopUps.
  • Offers Privacy Protection (cleans: Web browser cache and cookies, Find History, Run History, URL history, and more).

I have written a previous article on PopUp Stopper Pro, and you can read it here (highly recommended):

Spy Sweeper Review

Type #2: Messenger PopUps

I briefly mentioned above that PopUp Stopper can remove Messenger PopUps.

One other way to stop Messenger PopUps is to disable the Messenger service (only if your computer is running Windows NT, 2000, or XP). I have already written an article on how to do that, and you can read it here (pay close attention to Solution #3).

Type #3: Spyware PopUps

Perhaps the most alarming PopUps come from Spyware.

In general, Spyware is "any technology that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge. On the Internet, Spyware is programming that is put in someone's computer to secretly gather information about the user and relay it to advertisers or other interested parties. Spyware can get in a computer as a software virus or as the result of installing a new program. Data collecting programs that are installed with the user's knowledge are not, properly speaking, Spyware, if the user fully understands what data is being collected and with whom it is being shared." (Source: cyberhome-fl.com)

A Spyware removal tool will remove malware associated with PopUp ads, plus anything that falls in the domain of Spyware. It is important to understand that in order to stay up-to-date with the latest Spyware threats, you will need to update your Spyware removal tool on a regular basis -- or get one that can update itself automatically. Typically, the automated Spyware removal tools are subscription-based (and well worth the protection)!

To protect my own PC, I use the Spy Sweeper service offered by Webroot (the same people who make Window Washer). Spy Sweeper updates itself regularly and is able to block Spyware programs from loading onto my machine *before* they can be installed and cause damage. For this reason, I wholeheartedly recommend this program to Infopackets Readers.

Compared to Spy Sweeper, many of the freeware Spyware removal tools do not actively protect against Spyware. That is, some freeware removal tools will only remove Spyware *after* a computer has become infected. In many cases, the infected computer is rendered inoperable and extremely difficult to repair.

I wrote an article about Spy Sweeper which details its features, and you can read it here:

Spy Sweeper Review

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