Tired of closing pop-up windows on your desktop? Sunbelt Software, maker of iHateSpam, has entered the booming anti-pop-up app market with iHatePopups. This app does an adequate job of blocking pop-ups (advertisements that open a new active browser window on your desktop) and pop-unders (advertising that opens underneath your active browser), but that's about all it does--in other words, it's a decent app for an Internet newbie or someone who just wants to stop pop-ups without any fine-tuning. But while iHatePopups works with Internet Explorer 5.5 and above, it doesn't integrate with Internet Explorer's toolbar, nor does it work with AOL, Netscape, or Opera. At a mere $10, iHatePopups is affordable, but for 10 bucks more, you can get more options, plus additional security features with PopUpCop. iHatePopups installs easily via either a download from the Sunbelt site or from a CD. An installation wizard does the rest. You will, however, need to reboot before it will work. Unlike AdSubtract Pro, PopUpCop, and Guard-IE, iHatePopups does not fully integrate with Internet Explorer as an add-on toolbar. Rather, iHatePopups is accessible primarily from a system tray icon; just right-click the icon to launch the iHatePopups interface. You can also access the app through the tools menu within IE.
The iHatePopups interface is larger than it needs to be, considering its limited options.
The iHatePopups interface is simple compared to its competitions' and takes up too much screenspace for its limited capabilities. For example, the Reports screen does not generate a report or a log file of recent activity; instead, it displays only a bar chart that graphically illustrates the number of pop-ups stopped over time, pop-ups stopped today, adware stopped over time, and adware stopped today. You can't, for example, click these bars to obtain details of the pop-ups or adware that was stopped. For that, you need to view the Blocked History screen, which shows most of the blocks ads' URLs, should you want to view any of them or add any of them to your allowed list. Unlike the other apps we've seen, the Allowed Sites tab in iHatePopups does not allow you to cut and paste URLs. To add sites, you must right-click in the site itself.
Like AdSubtract, PopUpCop, and Guard-IE, iHatePopups blocks advertising generated both from Web sites and ad-serving software that lives on your hard drive. (Such ad-serving software often accompanies free downloads.) It's important to note that no pop-up blocker removes ad-serving apps from your computer but only mitigates their effects. To remove ad-serving software from your hard drive, you'll need Ad-aware 6.0 or Spybot Search and Destroy.
All of the ad-stopping apps we've seen so far play a sound whenever they find a pop-up. iHatePopups offers 11 such preset sounds--the most we've seen in such an app--with an option to add your own custom WAV file. With or without sounds enabled, a tiny notification window rises out of the system tray whenever a pop-up is stopped. This can be disabled as well.