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Tired Of Ads And Popups While You're Surfing?
June 16, 2002

I've avoided 'ad-blocking software' for quite a while, ever since I installed such a program that took over my browser, slowed down my Internet, and always had to access a server to see if the content should be blocked.

However, I've come across an excellent blocker called AdShield that is so unobtrusive, so seamless, and so easy to use, that you'd be crazy not to use it.

Why is AdShield so much better than other ad-blocking software?

From the documentation:

The majority of ad-blockers fall into the category of 'personal proxy servers' . With this type of technology you are running a web server on your personal computer.

The browser connects to the local server which in turn connects to the remote servers on the internet. Images from known advertisers are simply not downloaded by the proxy and not returned to the browser.

While they work, these products require some configuration, perform extra processing to run the extra server and can leave dead space in the browser where the ads would have been.

Another type of ad-blocker you'll come across is the mime filter. With this technology the browser downloads web pages directly but gives the mime filter a chance to modify them before they are displayed.

Image tags referring to know advertisers can be removed from the pages preventing those images from being downloaded by the browser.

While they work, these products must perform a complete parse of the HTML pages, a job the browser is going to have to do again anyway.

In and of themselves neither the proxy server nor the mime filter technologies help you specify what you do and do not want to see in your browser

So how does AdShield work?

The code is packaged into the AdShield.dll, a dynamic link library which the browser loads directly into its own process.

What this means is that the product effectively becomes an extension of the browser application itself. This tight integration makes possible AdShield's efficient ad blocking capabilities and it's point and click interface.

When the browser needs to download anything, a page, an image... from an address specifying the HTTP protocol (begins with "http:"), it will first ask AdShield to perform the download.

If the resource to be downloaded can be identified as an image (typically by its extension) and the resource's address is identified with an entry in the block list, AdShield will respond that the image is unavailable and the browser will treat it as such.

Alright, I believe you, now how do I use it? Is it free?

Yes, it is 100% freeware, as most of the best software seems to be.

If you're using Windows 95 or 98, you should update your DCOM first. To do that, just go to this Microsoft article which has links to DCOM 1.3 for 95 & 98.

AdBlocker needed to be uninstalled on a few computers that used old DCOMs (people were getting browser errors). It's a good idea to have the latest DCOM anyways!

  • Now, go to the AdShield Home Page and download Ad Shield. (Scroll down about halfway, it's under 'Installation')

  • Execute the EXE file. It will install AdShield.

  • Go into Internet Explorer. Where is it you ask? That's the beauty, it has such seamless integration you won't even notice it.

    To access it, right click anywhere in the browser, you'll see the following options:

    - Maintain block list
    - AdShield Option Settings

  • Select 'maintain block list' from the AdShield menu

  • You'll notice there's an import option. It allows you to import a text file with the extension .abl which contains a list of all the Ad-servers you want to block.

    Luckily for you, I've found a great list which has a ton of the common ad-servers.

    Click here to download my .abl list (you may want to right click on this link, and choose 'save target as')

    Save that .abl somewhere on your hard drive. Now, under the import options, import my .abl list.

    That's it! You're now blocking most of the web's ads!

    What if I encounter an ad? How do I add it to the list?

    When you see an ad that has slipped through the filter, right click on the image, and select 'Add To Block List'

    One word of caution, when you go to block an ad, make sure the image doesn't reside on the website that you're using, or you might end up blocking legitimate images from that company.

    I usually right-click on the ad, select 'properties', and if it's from a 3rd party ad company, I block it.