How to deal with pop-ups and other annoying ads

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Now let us talk about those annoying pop-up ads and those frightening warnings that jump up on your screen telling you that your computer is in imminent danger. How many times have you been interrupted by urgent messages urging you to download some software immediately to protect your computer from something? How many times have you seen a message saying if something is blinking (and that something always blinks) you have won something? Click here to claim your prize!

The Internet is an excellent medium to get information about virtually anything. You can get information right from your computer, immediately, anytime, and virtually at no cost (or let us say at a very nominal cost). That is why more and more people are using the computer today, throughout the whole world. It is for the same reason that commercial organizations and advertisers are so keen to advertise their products or services through the Internet. Advertising on the web has become so popular and extensive, and so many different methods are utilized, that it has become a nuisance to the general public or the Net surfers. In fact a newbie to the Internet is often intimidated, misguided, and trapped by these advertisements that literally keep on jumping on the screen seemingly endlessly.

The best way of counteracting these "attacks" is to install a pop-up blocker. Pop-up blockers are software that prevent pop-up ads to show on your screen. There are many brands available. Some are just pop-up blockers (e.g. Stopzilla), some are a combination of anti-virus, personal firewall, and pop-up blocker (e.g. Norton Internet Security). Before you buy or install any hardware or software (for anything), it is a good idea to read review about it and look for the Editor's Choice in sites like cnet.com or ZDNet. And, of course, before installing any software, be sure to read the section Installing Software.

But until you install a pop-up blocker to kill those pesky ads, just close them as soon as they appear on your screen. To close the ads, click on the X button on the top right corner of the window in which the ads appear. Sometimes, because of the position of the advertisement window on your monitor, you may not see the X button. In that case, with your left mouse button click anywhere on the title bar of the ad window, and while pressing down the mouse button, drag the window towards the center of your monitor until you can see the whole title bar of that window including the X button on the right. Now let the mouse button go, bring the mouse button over the X button, and click on it to close it. Some ad windows may have a Close button as a courtesy. You can click on it to close it. But do not click on anything else (unless you want to). If you do, you will trapped by the ad. And do not download anything just because the ad asked you to do so. Your computer is not in any danger (please read Internet Safety ), and you really have not won anything - that is just a bait to trap you.

Sometimes, the pop-up ads may go underneath the main web page. If you look at the taskbar (on the bottom of your monitor), you will see their buttons. Right-click on these buttons, one at a time. A little menu will appear. Click on Close on the menu. That undesirable window will close.

If you install Google toolbar or Yahoo toolbar, or latest version of AOL browser, they have built-in pop-up blockers. Internet Explorer 7.0 and Firefox 3.0 come with built-in Google toolbar and hence built-in pop-up blocker. Consider upgrading to IE 7.0 or Firefox 3.0. These browsers will also protect you from spyware. Some pop-ups are almost impossible to close and they can literally drive you crazy. These are actually adware. To get rid of adware and spyware, you need to install special programs like Ad-Aware. I have installed a free version of Ad-Aware called Ad-Aware SE Personal in my home computer and I am very satisfied with it. You can download a free version of Ad-Aware SE Personal from the web site of its maker Lavasoft or from Download.com. You can also find a very good tutorial on how to use Ad-Aware SE Personal here.

Just installing an anti-virus and a personal firewall software is not enough these days. You must also have a good anti-spyware program running in your computer to protect you from growing threats of hackers stealing your valuable personal information from your computer, and also to block those pop-up ads. Ad-Aware, Spybot - Search & Destroy, and Spy Sweeper are some of the renowned brand names for anti-spyware applications. Alternatively, you can install one of those all-in-one programs like Norton Internet Security or McAfee Internet Security Suite. These last named two programs are anti-virus, anti-spyware, and personal firewall all in one. Sometime ago, when I upgraded my computer system, I installed Norton Internet Security and I am very happy with it. I also have Internet Explorer 7.0 with Google toolbar and AOL 9.0 Optimized as my browsers. (I am thinking of getting Firefox 3.0 also). So I am doubly protected from pop-up ads and spyware. I suggest you do likewise to enjoy the remarkable things the Internet has to offer with safety, security, and privacy, and without those annoying ads jumping up on your monitor from nowhere, often not willing to go away.

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