CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

AdSubtract Pro 2.5 review: AdSubtract Pro 2.5

  • 1
Hot Products

The Good Supports both IE and Netscape; removes browser history, temp files, and cookies; stops pop-up ads.

The Bad Limited support; doesn't block all international ads.

The Bottom Line This is the best all-around ad-blocking program we can find, with good privacy controls. You still must use Ad-aware to remove ad components that track your surfing, however.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.0 Overall

Review Sections

By Robert Vamosi

If flashing graphics, music, and pop-up windows distract you from the main content on Web pages or slow your surfing to a crawl, look to AdSubtract Pro 2.5, one of two products we've seen that offer good all-purpose solutions. While AdSubtract Pro won't keep advertisers from tracking your surfing habits (you'll need Ad-aware for that), it will remove ads from most Web pages, stop pop-up windows, delete cookie files, and automatically clear your browser's cache and temp files when you exit the browser. By Robert Vamosi

If flashing graphics, music, and pop-up windows distract you from the main content on Web pages or slow your surfing to a crawl, look to AdSubtract Pro 2.5, one of two products we've seen that offer good all-purpose solutions. While AdSubtract Pro won't keep advertisers from tracking your surfing habits (you'll need Ad-aware for that), it will remove ads from most Web pages, stop pop-up windows, delete cookie files, and automatically clear your browser's cache and temp files when you exit the browser.

Options, options, options
AdSubtract Pro downloads and installs easily. It sits discreetly as a yellow circle in the system tray--just click the icon to configure it.

AdSubtract Pro offers a treasure trove of features and options. The configuration interface has a set of tabbed sections: Filters, Cookies, Logs, and Stats, to name a few. Most of these hide under the Filters tab, where you select which of various annoyances you wish to block, such as advertisements and animation. You can also keep a Web site from serving up automatic refreshes, pop-up windows, background images, and background music. With these blocking features turned on in our tests, AdSubtract Pro removed all third-party advertising--about 14 ads--from the main CNN Web page.

To protect your privacy, AdSubtract Pro blocks and removes cookies. Your browser probably offers a similar setting, but this app lets you set it and forget it by automatically deleting cookies every time you leave the browser. AdSubtract Pro also stops referrers, tags that tell Web sites which site you just visited. (Some advertisers look at referrers to find out about your interests.) The Active Content section of the Filters tab has options for blocking Java applets, little programs that download and run on your browser, and JavaScript, which can contain or execute malicious code.

Selecting an option under the Cookies tab makes AdSubtract scan the cookies stored in Netscape or Internet Explorer. It color-codes them as trusted or known ad servers, which makes it easy to decide which ones to remove. This tab also allows you to remove cookies, temporary files, and browser history each time you exit the browser--a handy privacy feature.

Under the next two tabs, Logs and Stats, AdSubtract Pro records what it blocks on each site. Depending on how you've configured the app, you should see the number of items blocked or deleted: ads, cookies, animation, pop-ups, Java applets, JavaScript, backup images, and automatic refreshes (a way for sites to serve new ads in case your browser uses a cached copy). Despite the many columns, AdSubtract didn't log activity as thoroughly as we'd like. We didn't see any pop-up ads while running AdSubtract, nor did we see any pop-ups logged. Also, it would be nice if AdSubtract Pro displayed its blacklist, sites blocked by the program, allowing you to customize it or add other pages.

To be fair, AdSubtract does allow you to block specific ads under the Ads tab, but only ads that appear on Web pages--not pop-ups specifically. A bonus: the Sounds tabs allow you to add custom alarms that alert you each time AdSubtract blocks an ad, animation, a pop-up, a cookie, or JavaScript.

Hot Products

This week on CNET News

Discuss AdSubtract Pro 2.5