Home | Menu | Contact Us
Mandate Media Logo
Mandate Media: Digital Strategy for People Changing the World
Our Blog for Tips, Tricks, and News: Politics + Technology

Overwhelmed with pop-ups?

Recently, I've had a number of friends and clients complain about pop-ups overwhelming their ability to get any work done. At the height of campaign season, these minor annoyances become a major hassle for campaign staff. So, here's a 30-second primer - and a possible ten-minute fix for the problem.

The basic problem is this: There are two kinds of pop-ups. 1) Ones that websites pop up on you for advertising purposes. These are annoying, but not everywhere. 2) Pop-ups that come from software living on your machine.

The first kind are easy to get rid of. Download and install the Google Toolbar. In addition to the pop-up blocker, it'll put a Google search box right on your browser. Pretty nifty.

The second kind are tougher. The class of software is called "spyware" or "adware". You may have installed some of them intentionally. Some free software, especially file-sharing software, comes with those kinds of things built-in. That's how they make money. Other times, that stuff appears on your system when you visit a website, and it asks you to install a plug-in to view their video, play their game, etc. Basically, they're taking advantage of our impatience - and willingness to rapid-fire click on "OK", "OK", "OK" to get to what we want.

To prevent those, read the little messages before you click OK. If you don't trust the site you're on, don't click OK. You can always click CANCEL - if you really need it, it'll be back.

To get rid of ones you've already got, you'll need to scan your machine for the little buggers.

First, visit the DoxDesk - which will scan your machine and give some advice.

Then, go down to the free resources and try some of the tools. In particular, look for LavaSoft's AdAware - it's free, and well known for doing a good job in finding the little nasties. This was the key for one of my clients - he found 462 nasties on his machine and says of LavaSoft: "someone should give them a medal."

If that doesn't work, you'll likely need professional help. (Not me, but I'm happy to refer.)

Posted on September 18, 2004 in
tech advice.