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iHatePopups review: iHatePopups

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To display how well iHatePopups works, the app sports a counter to the right of the main interface that shows the total number of pop-ups stopped. The Reports tab shows the total number of pop-ups stopped, how many pop-ups generated by ad-serving apps were stopped, and the total number of each stopped during the current day.



Instead of seeing a log of blocked ad-related URLs, we often saw only this message: "Dynamic pop-up--no URL."

The Blocks History tab displays the individual URLs stopped. We found that this feature did not work in the trial software. However, even after we registered the product, iHatePopups displayed only a few of the total URLs it had blocked. Several were identified only as "dynamic pop-up--no URL." According to Sunbelt's technical support, dynamic pop-ups are "embedded in a Web page and are called upon from a remote location" and, therefore, change constantly. In comparison, we found that PopUpCop captured a list of these embedded URLs for the same sites.

The lone security feature in iHatePopups prevents viruses and rogue apps from changing your Internet Explorer home page. Short of that, iHatePopups does not specifically stop malicious ActiveX or JavaScript from running on your browser, nor does it notify you when a link on one page takes to you a different domain (usually a harmless act, but sometimes it's a sign that a hacker has created false Web sites for the purpose of identity theft). Finally, iHatePopups doesn't let you turn off animation and background sounds on Web sites, while both AdSubtract Pro and PopUpCop include this feature. Nor does iHatePopups clear your browser's history and cache files as do Guard-IE, AdSubtract, and PopUpCop. For security reasons, you should always clear your browser's cache when exiting.

One thing iHatePopups does that its competitors do not is block Windows Messengers. These are operating system-generated pop-ups that appear to be from network administrators. Designed originally to warn users that the server is about to be rebooted, some individuals have found ways to code these messages with advertising, enabling them to broadcast ads across large corporate networks.

The iHatePopups user manual covers basic descriptions of the features, with very little troubleshooting information. The iHatePopups program's help file is also minimal, providing general answers to general questions. For more extensive help, try the vendor's online technical support forum, which contains several topics specifically for iHatePopups users.



The in-program help file offers little more information than that found in the user manual.

Sunbelt offers toll-free phone support at 877/673-1153, as well as e-mail technical support. When we posed a question, we received an immediate confirmation e-mail and waited less than 24 hours for a thorough response.

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