13.3. Blocking Pop-up Ads and Other Nuisances
Windows XP's Service Pack 2 (Section 15.4) bestowed Internet Explorer with a pop-up blocker that keeps ads from jumping into your face. If you're seeing a lot of pop-ups, make sure this feature's turned on (Tools Pop-up Blocker Pop-up Blocker Settings). On the Pop-up Blocker Settings window, click the Filter Level drop-down list to change the blockers settings to Medium or High. Firefox can also automatically block pop-ups (go to Tools Options Web Features and turn on the Block Popup Windows checkbox).
Both browsers let you tailor your pop-up blocker by adding Web sites you deem friendly to an Exceptions List. That lets you call off the pop-up blocking dogs for sites that use pop-ups for good endsan online map that springs up with helpful information, for instance.
Note: If you're still seeing lots of pop-ups, even after activating these pop-up blocking features, your PC may be infected with spyware or adware. See Section 15.6.1 for help clearing out these menaces.
Internet Explorer doesn't provide a way to stifle ads that appear as part of a Web page, but Firefox snips them away with a little work on your part. Since a small handful of large companies serve up most Web sites' ads, Firefox lets you block images from those companies. When you spot a particularly obnoxious ad, right-click it and choose "Block Images from," followed by the name of the company sending the ad. Blocking images from a few big ad-serving companies can reduce about 90 percent of the ads you see, making Web sites much easier to read. If you block something by mistake, remove its name from the Firefox's Exceptions list (Tools Options Web Features Exceptions).