Block pop-ups and banner ads

A while back I posted a story here about Mozilla (the web browser). I maintain a small network at work of around 35 PCs [update 2010: this is now 120+ but we’re still using Mozilla, though now it’s Firefox] and we’ve been running along just fine with various flavours of Netscape/Mozilla for years. This is why I am aften baffled when I hear folks complain about pop-ups ads and see advertisements for programs that ofter to block them. This is built right into Mozilla! An additional bonus is that if you put a specially formatted (css) text file in the right place, you can filter out all the annoying banner ads too! Find out how!Assuming you’ve already visited the links from the story linked above and have downloaded and installed a nice new Mozilla, begin by blocking all those unrequested pop-ups: Go to Edit | Preferences | Privacy & Security | Popup Windows and put a check mark next to “Block Unrequested Popup Windows”.

Don’t worry, you can make exceptions for those sites you visit that need to open a new window for full functionality of the site (online banking, etc.). Just click the “Allowed Sites” button next to this check box and enter the web site address to allow popups from.

The quickest way to get going with ad blocking is to visit and copy the latest userContent.css file there into the chrome directory deep inside your mozilla profile. In Windows this is something like C:WindowsApplication DataMozillaProfiles John Smithlm34qgkq.sltchrome. In linux, its in the ~/.mozilla/ directory. In MacOS try ~/Library/Mozilla/Profiles/.

The userContent.css file is just a css (cascading style sheet) which you can edit and craft to block or allow any specific file types that get by the default settings. Some example edits are shown on this site. More info on user profiles in Mozilla can be found here. Customizing Mozilla is the official page and gives a good overview of the process.

Installing Mozilla does NOT break your Internet Explorer installation (All the machines at work have both installed and we have no problems, though I have deftly removed IE shortcuts from everywhere and practically no one knows its still there). Hopefully this stuff will help those folks out there who want a more pleasant browsing experience get one!

2 Replies to “Block pop-ups and banner ads”

  1. I love mozilla, it’s my browser of choice. I have had some problems with the spam filter going nutty and not running or seemingly becoming very regressive in it’s learning cycle, but overall I say A++. (I’ve since switched to the OS X canned mail app)

    I hear an audible *ping* when I block a pop-up and I still smile over it. I don’t have time for that crap.

    My favorite thing in mozilla is the ctrl-click background-loading-tab browing option. It’s like, "I pick this.. this… this and this…". Then I go see what I have chosen in a clear and orderly fashion. Clean and nice. No window switching.

    Mozilla just keeps getting better. Nightly builds, frequent releases. It is an open source force that even the borg may not be able to deal with. And a web browser is the single most important piece of software that exists today. When a technology matures it takes an army of smart, tireless, ants to chip away at the big guy and hurt him. A startup threat will always be assimilated. Open source is the way this could get going.

    1. Microsoft’s plan is to replace the browser with “smart” client side apps that better harness the power of the processor (or so the MS-speak goes). The fracturing of the web has been discussed elsewhere, so I won’t harp on it, but generally I see all that as a BAD thing for all of us. Viva la Moz!

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