Some of the news sites I visit pop up lots of windows. Super annoying. Can I set my Web browser to block them?
There’s no question, advertising is the bane of Web users and we’d all be happier online if there was no advertising, no marketing, no banners, pop-ups, or other things to interrupt your reading. Problem is, plenty of sites – like mine – rely on the revenue from readers clicking on the ads to pay for hosting, design, maintenance, and content production. Sure you can install an ad blocker, but if enough people do that, all the sites that rely on that ad income will end up closing shop and the Web will be a very different, and less interesting place.
Fortunately most modern Web browsers not only have software to block most all pop-up ads, but they let you fine-tune what you block so that some ad networks can get through (hopefully with good content) while others are blocked on every site you visit. Perhaps surprisingly, the default Web browser included with Windows 10 – Microsoft Edge – includes one of the smartest popup blocker utilities, though it’s not enabled by default.
Let’s have a look. To start, the Microsoft Edge main view:
Don’t get distracted by the main graphic, but look instead along the top. Some buttons, an address box, then on the right a star, a pen, a gray arrow and three dots “•••”. It’s not at all obvious, but it’s the three dots you want to click to get the main menu of the program. Pretty much everything useful lives on that menu:
Notice features like zoom and the ability to open up an incognito / InPrivate window are here. What’s an InPrivate window? A window that doesn’t share your cookies or any other personal data. Good for visiting sites that are greedy with the information they try to acquire about you or those sites you don’t want to have show up in your site log.
Lots of other things to check out, but what you want is “Settings” at the very bottom. Choose that, then scroll down a bit to find the “Advanced Settings” option.
See it at the bottom of the menu? “View advanced settings“. That’s what you want to click. It opens up another menu!
Here you can see the second option: “Block pop-ups”. Choose that and you’re good to go. Better yet, that’s the default setting too, which is a real benefit
Now, what if you use Google Chrome instead of Microsoft Edge? Surprisingly, it’s quite a bit more tricky to get to the pop-up settings in Google Chrome, though it also has the blocking enabled by default.
The easiest way is to actually go to a page that has pop-ups. You’ll notice on the address bar in Chrome that it will say “Pop-up blocked” momentarily:
You can click on that, or if you miss the text part, the tiny graphic image remains. Click on it and a Window pops up:
You can see that two pop-ups were blocked on this page, one for “mellowads” and another that’s blank and will load some sort of content once the window appears. Don’t really want either, but if I did want the pop-up I could choose “Always Allow pop-ups from…” and the site. Or, a sneaky trick: Click on the URL you’d like to see – like https://mellowads… – and it’ll open up that link in a new tab. Easy enough if it’s critical, like a pop-up chat window on Apple.com or similar!
Before you dismiss this window, however, click on “Manage” and you learn that there’s a secret URL that gets you to the pop-up blocker management settings:
The URL here is chrome://settings/content/popups. Go there and you’ll see your own setup and ensure that you have pop-up blocking enabled (which, in a surprisingly Google user interface gaffe, should really be in green to indicate it’s enabled, not grey suggesting it’s off or disabled). And that’s it. Between these Google Chrome settings and the Microsoft Edge settings, you should be able to wrest control of your Windows popup windows and ads!
Pro Tip: While you’re here, please also check out our extensive Windows help area with hundreds of other useful tutorials and insider tips.