Software Review

First Published: Computer Power User
Date Published: December 2002
By Kevin Savetz
$19.95 (shareware)
Rating: 3 out of 5

Nothing puts the skids on a pleasant Web-surf session quite like a pop-up ad. These distractions appear unbidden, sometimes resizing your browser window, other times evading your efforts to make them disappear. No more.

PopUpCop is an add-on for Internet Explorer that blocks pop-up ads. In fact, the program does far more than the name implies; it gives you the option to abolish all sorts of other Web annoyances, including background sounds, pages that resize your browser windows, and flash movies that automatically play. (It doesn't, however, eliminate ads other than pop-ups.) An irritation level slider in IE's toolbar lets you choose the level of garbage suppression.

PopUpCop is generally unobtrusive; when it's doing its job, you don't have to think about it. On very rare occasions, it can get in the way of browsing. For example, if you click a link and the page doesn't appear, you'll have to reduce PopUpCop's irritation meter. The program can optionally make a sound to let you know when a pop-up is suppressed, but you may prefer to remain blissfully ignorant. A log window shows a list of the pop-ups you missed.

There are a ton of configuration options, although I found the default settings just fine. For example, in addition to customizing the irritation level settings, you can choose to let pop-ups through from trusted sites and over certain types of connections.

The program can also disable and erase cookies, but the documentation admits that it isn't a substitute for a robust cookie-management utility. The documentation also could be clearer about a few obscure features. For example, the program can disable "script timers" and "mouse tricks," but it doesn't explain what those are.

PopUpCop only works with IE; users of other Web browsers have to look elsewhere. But for IE users, PopUpCop gets the job done and makes surfing the Web a whole lot less irritating.

Reprinted with permission from Computer Power User magazine.

Articles by Kevin Savetz