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Monday, October 26, 2009

Adware Outbreak: Death to Internet Explorer

Aaaarrrgghhh! After three years of blissfully pop-up-free Web browsing, my computer went ape yesterday, throwing nearly full-screen pop-ups at me every five minutes, complete with autoplay audio and video from some meathead telling me I should contact him for marketing advice (yeah, like invading my computer and interrupting my work is going to be effective). I checked my firewall and adware settings, verified my Firefox pop-up blocker was still on, ran my CCleaner, rebooted... still the pop-ups!

Then I noticed something: IEXPLORE.EXE was showing up in my Task Manager. I run my crappy old version of Microsoft Internet Explorer maybe once a month, just to see if occasional Web gizmos run there as they do in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. I haven't run it on this computer for weeks. The pop-ups were showing the Firefox icon in the title bar. But when I hit Alt-F4 or hard-closed with Task Manager, as the pop-up window closed, I got an error message saying something was wrong with Internet Explorer.

Enough's enough: I went to Control Panel >> Add Remove Programs >> Add/Remove Windows Components and unchecked Internet Explorer. I went to C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer and deleted everything it would let me delete.

Half hour later, no pop-ups yet.

Internet Explorer never touches my computer again.


  1. [Snark]
    So – what you are saying is – you have a an old, un-patched, out of date piece of software on your system, and it’s the software’s fault that a third party was able to plant some adware/spyware/virus on your system that exploited it’s documented vulnerabilities?
    You do know that Microsoft does release free updates for Internet Explorer, right? And that they do so for a reason?
    In all seriousness – if you had a “old crappy “ version of Firefox, you’ll get problems with it too.

    And remember – we snark because we love

    Anthony "I Love All Things Microsoft" Renli

  2. Point, snark, and love taken! I'm a bad computer owner.

    Still, I view the need for constant updates as equivalent to having our Ford Focus recalled by the factory every month to fix something. Someday when I find the right wireless driver for my HP Pavilion, I'm switching to Ubuntu.


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