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Pop-Ups & Ads

by seaboltluvsdew / April 13, 2008 2:50 AM PDT

I have a Windows XP, e-machine, I am having problems with pop-up adds showin up all the time. Most of thm are advertisements for pc tune-ups and so forth. Is there any way i can stop these pop ups??


My computer is set up with control of the pop ups, but that doesn't seem to solve the problem. I've ran anti-spy scans and virus scans and still have this pblem. Help!!

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Well
by Jimmy Greystone / April 13, 2008 3:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Pop-Ups & Ads

Well, if you still have the Messenger service (not the same as MSN Messenger or Windows Live Messenger) running then this can happen. Use Google, or whatever search engine you prefer to find instructions on how to check and disable if necessary.

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Pop-Ups
by Darton Fury / April 13, 2008 3:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Pop-Ups & Ads

Try disabling the messenger service. Enter services.msc in the run dialog box. Double-click Messenger and set startup type to Disabled. This does not have anything to do with IM so you won't lose that ability.

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is there any help??
by seaboltluvsdew / April 13, 2008 7:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Pop-Ups

The stuff about disabling messenger didn't work on keeping the pop-ups from coming onto the screen. Thanks for the advice though. Is there another way of stopping these pop-ups??

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If it's not that
by Jimmy Greystone / April 13, 2008 7:35 AM PDT
In reply to: is there any help??

If it's not the messenger service, then you must have some malware on your system, so why not share what program(s) you've used thus far?

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What I Use..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / April 13, 2008 10:17 AM PDT
In reply to: is there any help??

Although it's not perfect, I use the HOSTS file below to stop most popups from loading while on the internet. If you're not familiar with a HOSTS file, read the information in the link:

How To Use A HOSTS File

And as Jimmy mentioned above, make sure malware isn't already on the computer.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Computer help: Pop-Ups & Ads
by b1vjcb93 / April 13, 2008 6:58 PM PDT
In reply to: Pop-Ups & Ads
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IT WORHED
by seaboltluvsdew / April 14, 2008 1:18 AM PDT

Hey guys! It worked. Thank you so much. I will always come to this forum whenever i need help. I have been doing it ever since i have had a computer. Again, thank you very much.

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Bad solution
by Jimmy Greystone / April 14, 2008 1:28 AM PDT

Using the HOSTS file as a makeshift firewall is an incredibly bad solution. It's very inflexible, and unwieldy given the size of that HOSTS file.

The intent of the HOSTS file is to serve as a sort of poor man's DNS. You can add the IP address of a system on a LAN, and assign a name to it that is easier to remember than an IP address. It was NOT designed to be a poor man's firewall, and while it may work as such, there are always unintended consequences. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to properly debug an error with a HOSTS file, for example. Also, honoring the HOSTS file is OPTIONAL for programs. Most will just use the operating system's network stack, which will USUALLY defer to the HOSTS file (or hosts.allow and hosts.deny on *nix systems), but not always. Most Mac OS X apps do NOT honor the HOSTS file.

By and large, the HOSTS file has outlived its usefulness. We have DNS now which solves the same basic problem in a much more scalable and manageable way. The HOSTS file is kind of like a round peg that just happens to fit into an octagonal hole. While it may fit, it should be obvious to anyone looking at it, that there is a more perfect solution to be had.

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Disagree...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / April 14, 2008 4:05 AM PDT
In reply to: Bad solution

HOSTS file providers are currently creating HOSTS file for EXACTLY this purpose. The MVPS and HPHosts files are updated frequently and include malware sites, advertising sites, porn sites, etc. Whenever a new "bad" site is found, it's added to HOSTS. The file serves the purpose which was requested by the original poster. It blocks unwanted internet sites on their Windows computer. Although complete HOSTS files can be fairly large in size, (the one I use for our office machines is over 1.5 MB), they still seem to use a smaller footprint than most other popup blocker programs or those used in browsers. We find that disabling the "DNS Client/DnsCache" service allows the large HOSTS files to run without any noticeable drag on the system.

I see no "unintended consequences" and find it not unwieldy or inflexible at all.. As you're aware, it's a simple text file which can easily be edited to add, or subtract, any site the user wishes. And debugging is a simple process as well.. Although no popup blocker is perfect, this suggestion is not an "incredibly bad solution".

And besides, the original poster already said it worked.. Sounds like a great solution to me..

Hope this helps.

Grif

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I'M JUST GLAD
by seaboltluvsdew / April 14, 2008 6:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Disagree...

Hey guys! I'm just glad that I had some help. This site is the best when it comes to the help of finding something to get rid of a virus or spyware. Anyhting that has to with a computer and i am grateful.

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I'M JUST GLAD
by b1vjcb93 / April 14, 2008 7:22 AM PDT
In reply to: I'M JUST GLAD

Glad to help.

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It is a bad idea
by Jimmy Greystone / April 14, 2008 8:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Disagree...

It is a bad idea, and really this is the job of a firewall. The problem is most firewalls for Windows are so lobotomized, you can't specify rules for specific domains. The HOSTS file has long been abused by people who don't understand it's real purpose. It's really only there because Microsoft used the FreeBSD codebase to develop the Windows network stack. Something that is perfectly legal for them to do under the terms of the BSD license, but that's why you find programs like ping, traceroute, and the rest in Windows and they're identical to their *nix counterparts. The HOSTS file is there because it would have been too much trouble to rip it out.

I'm a big proponent of the idea of the best tool for the job, and the HOSTS file is about the worst tool for this particular job. You'd be much better off with a real firewall that can make domain level rules. I don't know if any of the toy firewalls for Windows can do this. You could probably do it with the XP/Vista firewall and IPSec, but probably not ZoneAlarm or any others like it. The programs are NOT required to honor the HOSTS file like they are a firewall, which sits between the operating system and all programs, checking every packet that goes in and out. I'll say that one more time, because it seems to have been missed the first time. The HOSTS file is OPTIONAL, and programs ARE NOT required to honor it at all. Since most malware is about making money, if HOSTS files become common, how long do you think it will be before a minor alteration to the malware is made to cause it to bypass the HOSTS file?

And besides that, a much better solution is to simply not use programs that are prone to having problems with malware. It can, and very frequently does, happen that legitimate sites are hacked and a very small alteration is made to the site to serve up malware. A HOSTS file will not necessarily protect you against this, but using a web browser not subject to malware will.

Rather than a HOSTS file, you'd probably be better off using some sort of a caching web proxy like Squid. At least that way, you can conserve bandwidth by caching pages of sites you go to often.

The HOSTS file is one of those tools that has been grossly abused by people who don't understand what it's for. The fact that it can be used for these types of things is quite interesting, and a tribute to the people who came up with it, but it's a very imperfect tool for this sort of thing. I could use a sledge hammer to swat flies, and it will certainly get the job done, but a fly swatter is generally a much better solution for that particular task.

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What Is Too Bad...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / April 14, 2008 9:30 AM PDT
In reply to: It is a bad idea

..is that: "It works" apparently doesn't satisfy..

Just my opinion, but Squid is a better "enabler" than a blocker as it's designed to speed web delivery by caching frequently visited websites. Clearly, it's good at other things too. And although Squid is included in corporate firewall setups because it can be configured once for all users being firewalled, using a firewall or Squid would indeed be unwieldy for most computer users to manually block the 50,000 + sites from a HOSTS file. Blocking website popups is NOT the job of a inexpensive retail firewall, either software or hardware types.

And although you've mentioned it twice that the HOSTS file is optional for programs, we're not talking about all programs here.. We're only talking about the common browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.) which DO honor HOSTS..

HOSTS files are already extremely common (in a limited form are used on all Windows computers and used by thousands of machines on our network) and using one to prevent hacked sites from loading malware is just one of the ways in which they prevent "bad" sites from loading. (The redirects are blocked as well as the main site.) You're correct, a HOSTS file isn't perfect, but neither are any of the web browsers out there..

A variety of tools for a variety of tastes.

Grif

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