1. What Are Pop Ups?
The words "pop up" refer to any internet browser window that is launched without your specific permission - they are almost always flashy advertisements trying to either sell you something, or get you to type in information, such as your email address or zip code. They have become the Las Vegas of the internet.
Pop-up's come in a variety of flavors, depending on how they are triggered on your computer. Those flavors are:
These are your average, run of the mill advertisements that pop up when you visit certain web pages. Some people who run websites get paid for every popup they deliver to their site's visitors. We don't and will never use popups on this site, so if you are noticing popups while browsing HowToGetRidOfStuff.com, they are probably caused by something installed on your computer. Those are covered further down the page.
Popunders are pretty much the same as popups, except they will launch a new internet browser window underneath of the window you are currently using. You may not even notice these until you close your browser window to see them hiding underneath. Once again, these are usually advertising methods employed by the operator of one of the websites you recently visited.
Exit consoles are just pop-ups that appear when you either close a page, or leave a web site.
Floating ads are very similar to pop-ups in that they appear over the page you're trying to read, but they are triggered by more advanced mechanisms. Usually special code embedded in the webpage you are viewing - these appear more graphical in nature and can hover or zoom around your screen.
2. What Causes Pop Ups?
All pop-ups are triggered by computer programs either run from a web site that you are visiting, or running on your local computer. Here is how to identify which type is bugging you.
Pop Ups from Websites
Some people who run websites choose to advertise using pop-ups. These pop ups are limited to specific pages, so you can identify this type by reloading that particular page. When you do, you should get another set of them 'popping' up.
Spyware and Adware
Spyware is a term used to describe any piece of software that is meant to be installed locally on your computer that is then used to send behavioral data back to the company that created it. Adware is similar, except instead of sending information back, its purpose is to shove advertisements in your face. If you are seeing pop ups regardless of the web site you are visiting (This one for example, uses no pop ups) then you likely are inadvertently running a program on your computer that is throwing these annoying pop ups at you.
Viruses are also sometimes used to deliver advertisements and popups. They are called 'viruses' because they spread from computer to computer without the consent of the person using it. Most viruses that deliver advertisements are picked up and removed up by but it's a good idea to also run antivirus software on your machine to block any other viruses which may be lurking on the net. Avast is an excellent (and free) antivirus product which requires no technical knowledge at all to use and updates itself without you having to do a thing.
3. How to Get Rid of Popups Caused by Web Sites
If you've identified the popups that plague you as originating from web sites, there are several options available to get rid of them.
Update your Internet Explorer Browser
If you are using Windows XP, go to WindowsUpdate and make sure your computer is up to date. The most recent updates include better pop-up protection so this can help you fight them off.
Upgrade to the Mozilla Firefox Browser If you are up to date and still seeing tons of pop-ups consider installing a different internet browser. Mozilla Firefox is a very easy to use internet browser with built-in popup protection. It will also import all of your internet explorer favorites automatically after installation making it very easy to get started with. .
Add a toolbar
Be vary wary of the toolbars you choose to install onto your computer - 95% of them are riddled with spyware and will actually worsen the problem. If you have extra toolbars, they may be the source of your pop-ups and you should scan your computer for spyware. There are however, a few toolbars that are safe to use and help block those wretched popups. Those are:
* Google Toolbar * Yahoo Toolbar * Windows Live Toolbar
Once you've taken one or more of the above actions, visit this and run your computer through some of the tests to see if any pop-ups make it through your new safeguards.
4. Getting Rid of Popups Caused by Software
If you're seeing popups no matter what you are doing, you've got spyware or adware installed. Don't panic! In most cases the removal of these programs is very easy and will also improve your computers performance. Make sure you run through both of the following steps to locate and remove any malicious software installed on your PC.
Check for viruses
If you're using antivirus software, make sure it's up to date and scan your entire PC. If you're not yet using any (shame, shame) then head on over to Avast and download their free antivirus software - it's very easy to use and will keep itself up to date automatically.