How to Prevent Pop-Up Ads

By Richard Kalinowski

Pop-up ads can sour any web browsing experience with their persistence and utter obnoxiousness. Unfortunately, preventing these pop-up windows is difficult without proper protection software. No matter how many times a pop-up is closed, it can keep showing up on screen if you don't have good adware protection. Luckily, pop-up prevention programs are available for free download, able to help stop nasty adware before it starts. The right prevention software even helps change bad user habits by warning you about potential sites before you click on them.

Things You'll Need

  • McAfee Site Advisor
  • Yahoo Toolbar or Google Toolbar
  • Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free Edition

Step 1

Go to and click on the link for a free download of McAfee Site Advisor software.

Step 2

Double-click on the recently downloaded setup file to begin installing McAfee Site Advisor. Click through onscreen prompts to finish the automatic install process. This software is passive, meaning it runs in the background; with this software installed, all your search engine results will not come with safety indicators. Websites with a green check mark next to them are tested and safe, sites with a yellow exclamation point may be risky and a site marked with a red "x" is known to be dangerous. McAfee's site advisor will help change your browsing habits, keeping you away from sites riddled with spyware, viruses and, of course, pop-ups.

Step 3

Download a pop-up blocking toolbar like the Yahoo toolbar (see resources) or Google toolbar (see resources). While many people download these Internet add-ons for easier searching, they also feature active pop-up protection. With both popular toolbars, the download occurs within your browser and the installation is automatic.

Step 4

Visit CNet's Ad-Aware download page (see resources). Lavasoft, Ad-Aware's maker, offers a free edition of its Ad-Aware program. According to Lavasoft, the free edition is complete with full "Ad-Watch Live" access, but it does not have virus protection. If you already have virus protection, the free edition will work just fine for pop-up concerns. However, if you do not have virus protection, consider upgrading to a paid edition of Ad-Aware with virus protection for safer browsing.

Step 5

Double-click on the recently installed "Ad-AwareAE.exe" file to begin the automatic install process for Ad-Aware's free edition. When the Ad-Aware installation is complete, close all other programs and click "Finish" to begin an automatic check for updates and a system restart.

Step 6

Scan your computer for adware, the programs responsible for many pop-ups, using Lavasoft Ad-Aware once your computer boots back up. Open the program, click "Scan System," then click "Start Scan" to begin checking your computer for unwanted advertising programs. When the scan is complete, you'll have the option to remove or quarantine the adware files, effectively eliminating any current pop-up ads plaguing your computer. After this initial scan, Ad-Aware's Ad-Watch Live feature will continue to actively help prevent adware pop-ups.

Step 7

Rescan your computer with Ad-Aware every month just in case new pop-ups slip past McAfee's recommendations, the Yahoo or Google pop-up blocker toolbars, and Ad-Watch Live.