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.
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