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!